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Bromford customer Amy Rees guest blogs for us on the top five ways to prepare for moving into one of our new homes. Here housing manager Janice Hutton introduces the 27-year-old:

Amy is a single mum who had a relationship resulting in a baby daughter and for a short while she lived with the father. The relationship turned sour and Amy returned home to live with her parents. She registered on Homeseekers and eventually I interviewed her for a two-bed flat. It would have been very easy to have preconceptions about Amy and her ability to deal with finances and run her own home but immediately I was delighted with how organised and ready for the move she was – she’d done things to prepare for her move that really impressed me. She’s completely inspirational to others that find themselves in a similar situation and a fantastic example of someone being proactive when wanting to have that new found independence.
  1. Do your research on area
    I was born and bred in Lydney but had moved away for a while and I’d never lived there on my own before so I got in touch with a couple of old school friends who I knew lived on the estate that I was looking at. One of them was in a very similar flat to mine and so they obviously knew what was required and were able to offer me some really good advice. It’s also really important to know what shops and other facilities are local and obviously if you have children, where the nearby schools are situated too.

  2. Investigate your potential bills
    I’m currently aiming to get back into work and so I looked into how many hours I might be able to do without struggling. I investigated what my utility bills and council tax would be and I also spoke to a friend who works part-time and was able to get a much better idea about how it would affect my council tax and rent etc.

  3. Complete a pretend internet shop
    Before I even viewed the flat, I went online and completed a ‘pretend’ internet shop. What I did was go on two of the major supermarket websites and did a main monthly shop and then four smaller weekly shops to top up on essentials. This gave me a really great idea on how much stuff is on offer and what I’d be typically spending each month so that I could budget for it.

  4. Search for good value insurance
    I wanted a good contents insurance that I wasn’t paying over the odds for. Originally I’d decided against one of the major supermarkets because it wasn’t the cheapest but then once I realised I actually qualified for a discount for being a cardholder, it actually worked out much cheaper. My auntie was also with them and gave me some good advice as well as telling me that when she once had a pay-out, they had been really quick and helpful.
  5. Shop around for bargains
    A few months before I moved out of my parents’ home I started putting a bit of money to one side because I knew I needed some new furniture and white goods and I didn’t want to start getting into debt or behind on my rent. I saved money by just going out less with friends for a while and just generally being more careful with my money. I then shopped around on websites like Gumtree and the Facebook selling sites and grabbed myself some real bargains! I managed to pick up a washing machine which was only six months old for just £50!

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