How to plan finances for renting as a graduate

After university, many graduates will find themselves heading back to their parents’ home or thinking about moving out to their own place. For many the option of buying a house often comes much later, with the average age of having a first home now standing at 33. The area of managing finances for renting and buying is another that graduates need more help with.

While saving for a home, which you can find some advice for in my previous post about Lifetime ISAs, you may decide to rent somewhere for a bit. Renting can seem like you’re just throwing money away but it can be a good option for many reasons such as work or better enjoyment of life.

Overall there are lots of things to consider when deciding if renting is the best option for your situation. One of the biggest thing is working out just how much money it could cost you to rent a place of your own on top of your typical finances such as food and entertainment.

So what could your outgoings consist of? Here are a few things to make note of when renting as a graduate that could assist your decision – as there are some extra expenses compared to when living at uni with friends!

Basic rent

The amount you pay for rent can vary depending on a lot of factors, for example, whether you choose to live by yourself or with others and where you are looking. Your basic rent will be the most expensive outgoing payment but it is definitely not the only one.

You may also have to pay a deposit and one month’s rent upfront too, so make sure you consider this when first moving out.

Council tax

As well as paying to live in an actual space, you will need to pay council tax too for the area you choose. A few groups are exempt from this or pay less, such as students or those living alone.

The average monthly payments for council tax in the UK is £117. So make sure you look at the local council’s tax bands, which you can do here, before you move into a new place as they can differ depending on where you are. You could also consider living with other graduates to help you out with the costs.

Water bills

When you rent or own a property, you’ll be required to set up and make payments for the amount of water you use. On average, this will cost you £34.58 a month according to Money Advice Service.

Image of notebook and website to help graduates with renting
Remember to make a plan of all your outgoings

Electricity and Gas

Likewise, you’ll also be charged for the amount of electricity (including heating if you don’t have gas) that you use.

If you use gas then you’ll have to take this into consideration too.

Internet

A necessity for most these days – WiFi. But also just another expense that you should think about before renting.

According to Cable.com, the average price of internet in the UK is £30.30. Work out whether you’ll be needing unlimited usage and what speeds you want, as this can make the prices fluctuate too.

TV licence

Adding another payment to your monthly/yearly outgoings is the cost of watching TV. The yearly price for this is £154.50, but you can pay this amount monthly to spread the cost.

Home insurance

At a small cost, this is definitely worth getting just to make sure you’re covered in your new place if something were to happen. There are lots of different types of insurance on offer for various prices, so this one really is just working out what’s best for you.


On the whole, there are probably lots of great reasons why renting could work for you but it’s important to figure out if it’s worth the cost. Sometimes it can be better to hold on living with your parents for a bit longer to get some more money in your savings.

Have you moved out after university? What have you found to be the most annoying expense? Leave a comment below to help other graduates!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. slothrenovations

    So crazy how living expenses change all over the world. Here in Australia, to rent, you don’t need to pay council tax or for a TV licence!

    1. maddieastle

      Oh wow that’s so interesting to know – and I’m so jealous!

  2. bournemouthgirl

    This will be so helpful for people looking to rent. I am currently saving for a mortgage. Thank you for sharing! Xx

    1. maddieastle

      Thank you, I hope your mortgage savings are going well!

  3. lindapurcell724gmailcom

    What is a council tax? I live in the states.

    1. maddieastle

      Money you have to pay where you live to put towards local improvements and services!

      1. lindapurcell724gmailcom

        Ok like local and state taxes here. In the US, the homeowner pays that. Now, of course, he/she could up the rent a bit to help cover that. You would not really ever know as long it was a fair rent.

        1. maddieastle

          Yes exactly! Yeah that’s true you can just cover it in the rent, I think it’s the occupier that always pays it in the UK!

  4. sophienaylor1

    I’m currently renting out a flat and have been for the past 3 years for university. It can be incredibly stressful but your tips will definitely help anyone looking to rent their own place in the future, student or not. 🙂 x

    Soph – https://girlvsworldblog.com <3

    1. maddieastle

      I just went from being a student to renting for work and I didn’t realise how much council tax would be! Thank you for your comment 🙂 x

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