After going through our finances with a fine tooth comb and creating a spreadsheet that outlines our current and predicted expenditure, we’ve decided that we shouldn’t really spend more than £700 a month on rent between us.
In Manchester, this budget is certainly achievable, but we are finding it tricky to find a flat that is furnished, within our budget, a reasonable size, and within walking distance of each of our workplaces. We’ve learnt that something’s got to give. We’re going to have to sacrifice one or two of these things.
Finding our ideal rented flat on a budget…
I’ll give you a few examples of the types of flat we’ve viewed so far…
The Hulme Flat
A couple of weeks ago we visited a flat in Hulme. It was a 10 minute walk from Jake’s office and a 35 minute walk from mine. With rent standing at £625 a month, this seemed perfect for us as it was way below our budget. However, when we actually went to view the flat, we realised it was absolutely tiny.
The current tenant was present during the viewing and after looking round and wondering where the hell he kept all his stuff, we realised he was an international student who’d gotten used to living a life of minimalism. The letting agent couldn’t comprehend the fact that he didn’t have a telly. This place was perfect for him, not so perfect for us.
The Ancoats Flat
Next on the list was a flat based in Ancoats. Located a short walk from my work and half an hour from Jake’s, it seemed great location-wise. It was also modern, beautifully furnished, central, and priced at £700 a month. However, after learning that the nightclub Sankeys is right under the building, we had to turn down what otherwise looked like the perfect flat.
This was one of the cheapest city-centre flats we could find, leading us to believe that if you want to live in the centre of Manchester for £700 a month or less, there is going to be something significantly wrong with the place. In this case, it was noise! It also wasn’t the best size, but it was better than the Hulme flat.
The Withington Flat
I really want to live within walking distance of work but by this point I was starting to accept that it’d be difficult to find somewhere that’s walkable and the price and size we want. So we started looking further afield in south Manchester.
We found TONS of gorgeous, beautifully furnished, well sized flats and houses in south Manchester for around £700 a month. However, considering we’ll have to factor transport costs and time (time is money) into account, we decided that if we live in south Manchester, we’re going to have to knock our budget down.
We did manage to find a 2 bedroom flat in Withington for just £570 a month but there was a huge catch – it was unfurnished!
Initially we had little interest in buying furniture for a flat we don’t own, so we decided not to view the Withington flat. However, over the last couple of weeks we’ve started to wonder whether furnishings could be a really cost-effective sacrifice.
Can renting an unfurnished flat save money in the long run?
For renters unable to afford the upfront cost of furniture, unfurnished flats can be pretty much out of the question. However, I’ve realised that for those who have a bit of savings to hand, an unfurnished flat could work out more cost-effective in the long run. Costs can be saved in numerous ways:
- Cheaper rent
- Less chance of losing your deposit (landlord can’t accuse you of damaging the sofa)
- Investment in furniture that you can keep for the future
By sourcing furniture now, when I eventually come to buy a home of my own, I won’t be filling the property with furnishings from scratch. I’ll already have a nice little collection.
How can you source furniture cheaply?
Buying furniture for a flat doesn’t have to be expensive. You have the following options:
- Accept hand me downs from family members
- Upcycle thrifted and second hand furniture
- Buy new pieces cheaply from places like Ikea and Argos
We already have a lovely chair. So that’s one thing off the list 😉
What do you think? Would you rent somewhere unfurnished to save cash or do you prefer the hassle-free approach of furnished properties? Any tips for someone looking to fill their rented flat cheaply?