Can I afford my own place?

It is vital that you work out how much money you need to live on BEFORE you move out and sign any tenancy agreements for a new property.

Running your own place is a serious financial committment and you need to be sure that you can afford it. If you are moving into your own place for the first time you will have to take a hard look at your finances and you will need to learn how to budget in order to afford to keep your new home.

Ask yourself, what can you afford?

  • Deposits
  • Removal costs
  • Furniture 
  • Weekly - Food, bus fare, toiletries, household goods etc.
  • Monthly - Household bills eg TV License, Internet, gas, electricity & water.

Have you got enough money coming in to cover these costs?  Will your income change when you move in?  What is your current income and where does it come from?  Will you be able to claim any benefits when you move in?

The cost of survival

Potential monthly costs when taking on a new property:

Rent (bedsit) £250  
Council Tax £70.70
Electricity £60
Gas £40
Water £20
Phone/mobile £30
Travel £40
TV Licence £12
Food £180
Clothes and shoes £40
Toiletries £20
Cleaning products £10
Total £772.70 per Month

 (£178.32 per week)

You may want to play around with the figures given above, either increasing or decreasing the amount for each category according to how you feel your current expenditure is, or is likely to be when you take on your property. 

Please note that if you are moving into a privately rented property you will almost certainly have to pay a deposit when you move in, which is generally equivalent to a month and a half rent. You may also have to pay a reference fee between £65 to £200.

 

The cost of having a life

The above figures cover the basic essentials but most people will want to have money for other things such as:

  • Take-aways
  • Holidays
  • DVDs/CDs
  • Nights out at pub/cinema etc
  • hobbies
  • Presents
  • TV rental
  • Satellite TV/Cable subscription
  • Monthly internet fees
  • Emergencies

How much do you spend on these items now?  Be honest with yourself and add in any other regular expenditure you know that you have.  

When you have come up with a figure that you believe is realistic, just add it on to the monthly essentials figure (£772.70 per month in the example above) to give you a realistic idea of the income you will require in order to have your own place. 

For more help with budgeting managing your money use the budget calculator as part of your making your moving home planand the making my money go further section on this site.

 

Where does your income come from & how do you increase it?

For most people, their income comes from working or from claiming welfare benefits.  Students’ income will come from other sources such as maintenance grants, student loans, and possibly student bursaries.

Job searching

Try to find a job by searching online at the following link:

Looking For Work

If you are looking to get a job you should visit your local Job Centre Plus – to find your nearest office go to

JobCentrePlus

Wefare benefits 

If you cannot find work and you are over 18 you will need to claim Jobseekers Allowance. In order to get this benefit you need to be available for and actively seeking work. Some people, such as lone parents, may be able to get Income Support.

Help with Housing Costs - Rent and Council tax

Housing Benefit

If you have a low income, no income or are on benefits, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit from the council.  Housing Benefit may cover all or just some of your rent.  The lower your income, the more rent will be covered.  You should make a claim for Housing Benefit as soon as you move into your new property.

If you wish to apply for housing benefit however, you must take into into account the changes happening to benefits in April 2013. The changes mean that there are strict rules about how much help you can get toward the rent and households that may have previously recieved enough benefit to pay the whole rent may no longer do so.

::more on Housing Benefit Changes 2013

Council Tax Benefit

If you are entitled to some Housing Benefit, then you will probably be entitled to some Council Tax Benefit.  In general, when you make your claim for Housing Benefit you are making a claim for Council Tax Benefit too. 

If you live alone in your new property you will be able to get a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill, even if you don’t qualify for benefit. 

If you want to claim Housing Benefit & Council Tax Benefit from Dudley Council, you could apply online by going to the following link: 

Dudley Benefits Apply For It  

Alternatively you can ring the council on 0300 555 8100 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm and speak to an advisor.

Social fund

You might be able to get money from the Social Fund if you are on a low income and you are just about to move into a property. These are all discretionary payments which means that you have no legal right to them and there are no guarantees that you will get any money.

Community Care Grant - you can apply for this if you are receiving Income Support or Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance or Income-Related Employment & Support Allowance.  People moving into a property who have very little and have come from a difficult situation may be able to get some money from this.  Any money you get from a Community Care Grant does not have to be paid back.

Budgeting Loan – you can only apply for this loan if you have been in receipt of means-tested benefits (IS, IB-JSA, IR-ESA) for 26 weeks or more.  Most people use these loans for rent in advance and household items that need replacing or repairing.  The main advantage of these loans is that they are charged at 0% interest.  The repayments are deducted directly from your benefits.

Crisis Loan – you can only apply for this loan if you have been the victim of a fire, burglary or flood or another kind of emergency and have no money.

In order to make an application for the above funds you can go to your local JobCentre Plus or make an application online at

Direct Gov

If you would like more information go to Direct Gov or  Adviceguide 

If your application is refused you can ask for a review but it would be best to get advice about how to go about this. 

 


 

 

 

 

Also see the following for more information: