So, the excitement of moving into your new student house has kicked in and all you can think about is getting the biggest room! But, before you get too excited – start thinking about your utility bills. Learning to manage your bills will help you sort your finances, save money for nights out, and prevent any aggro in your house over bills and who owes what. With this in mind, we have put together a useful guide on how to sort your bills:
Check what utilities you need
The first step to managing the bills for your student house is to decide what utilities you actually need. Gas and electricity are likely to be your largest expenses and definitely the most important.
Firstly, you need to check whether your new home uses gas or electricity (or both!). Some homes are not connected to a gas line, which means they run solely on electricity. If your home does run off both, then it is usually cheaper to combine the two utilities in a dual fuel tariff – meaning more money for you to spend on food and socials.
According to British Gas, a dual fuel tariff is far more convenient as you will be receiving all of your energy needs from the same provider. This makes it easier to keep track of what you are paying – paying one bill is definitely better than handling two!
Along with gas and electricity, your student home will need to be supplied with water, which you’ll definitely need if you love a cuppa, like to keep fresh and hate dirty plates building up. Many landlords manage water bills themselves and include the cost in your rent, but you should always check this before you move in. If you do need to sort payment of water bills yourself, then you will need to make sure they’re set up as soon as possible, before you move in, preferably, and paid when they’re due. Also, be sure to check whether you are on a fixed monthly tariff or a water meter.
Compare energy providers
Most student homes are supplied with energy when you first move in in. This means that your home is already signed up with an energy provider, by the previous tenants.
You should find out who the provider is ASAP and contact them to let them know that you’ve moved in. Make sure you avoid paying the previous tenant’s utility bills by taking a photograph of the meeting readings on the day you move in. This will provide evidence of the amount of energy you have used and help to avoid any confusion over the cost of your first energy bill. You can easily cut your average energy bills by using price comparison sites to find the best energy deals. Switching to a new provider could save you up to £300 per year according to advice on savethestudent.org. It sounds daunting, but the best part about this is that switching to a new provider is super easy and can usually be completed in around 21 days. Just make sure you choose a fixed rate tariff to protect you from any unexpected energy price increases.
Use a bill splitting app
One of the easiest ways to manage bills in a student house is to use a bill splitting app. Our bill splitting service can be used to make sure that all your household bills – including broadband, TV licence, energy, and water – are split evenly and fairly. You don’t have to rely on that one absolute saint of a housemate (we all know who this is) to manage the household bills and take responsibility for chasing payments. Using a bill splitting service means that everyone knows the total cost of the household bills each month and the payment can be taken automatically at a pre-scheduled time. It’s a saviour for budgeting.
Take out content insurance
It’s no secret that student houses can be a target for burglaries, purely because they often contain all the fancy gadgets, such as laptops, iPad’s, computer games etc. For that reason, it is always worth taking out content insurance – make sure that you take out insurance with a known company and go for the level of cover you need. To save you the hassle, you can use price comparison sites to find the best insurance for your student home. Try to choose an insurance policy with a low excess so that you will receive a higher pay-out if you need to claim. Overall, insurance will give you peace of mind that your valuable items will be covered if they are lost, stolen, or damaged.
No doubt, the confusion has kicked in and reality has hit, adulthood is officially here. You’re now managing bills for a student home. This can seem daunting at first, however, they should be fairly easy to manage once you have a system in place. There are also plenty of resources available to make bill splitting easier. Use the above guide to help you sort your bills fairly, save money, and reduce any pain related to student finances and household bills.