You may be a bit confused about what you need to pay, and how much you need to pay. Some lucky students may be living in accommodation where their bills are included. If you aren’t, read on for a guide to student housing bills.
Gas and Electricity
Gas is essential if you are planning on having any hot water, heating and food during your time at university (which you obviously are going to be). Electricity is also another essential. You’ll find that most of the money that you are spending on bills will be spent on gas and electricity. When you move into a property, you will most likely be already connected to a gas and electricity supply.
As soon as you start your tenancy, you will be responsible for paying for your gas and electricity. Make sure you tell your supplier that you have moved in. If you want to, you can always search for and compare tariffs to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Most people choose to get their gas and electricity from one supplier, on what is known as a ‘dual fuel’ tariff.
You’ll also need to provide your supplier with meter readings so they don’t base your bills on an estimated reading, as this could be a lot more than what you’re actually using. If you have a smart meter (provided for free by your supplier), this will often take meter readings automatically and send it to your supplier.
Water is another one of the key bills that you will need to pay. This will include the supply of water to your house and sewerage charges. Unlike other bills you may have, you will not be able to shop around, as there is usually only one water supplier in your region or area.
You will either be on a yearly tariff or a water meter. A water meter may work out cheaper if you use less, but more if you use a lot of water. Make sure you check out these tips to use less water.
These days, broadband is essential for anyone, no less a student. We live in a digital world, with more and more things being done via the internet. You’ll need the internet for your studies, to keep you entertained, and to keep in touch. When you move into your accommodation, you probably won’t have any broadband.
You’ll need to shop around for the best deal for you and your household in order to get connected and online as quickly as possible.
If you’re planning on watching TV, online or on an actual television in the UK, you will need a TV Licence. Students used to be able to exploit a loophole whereby if they were only watching catch-up tv, they didn’t need a licence. However, this has now changed, so don’t get caught out.
If you’re a student, you more than likely not need to pay any council tax as students are usually exempt. If everyone in your house is a full-time student, you will get a full discount. The government classes a full-time student as someone who is on a course lasting at least one year, and who is studying at least 21 hours a week.
It’s worth noting that this includes and lectures, seminars, workshops and other studying. You will need to apply to your local council for an exemption though. This is usually a case of printing off a letter from your student portal and sending it off to the council. Make sure you do though, as you may be fined.
This last one isn’t an essential one that you need to pay but you may find that it saves you a lot of money (and stress) in the long run. Too often, student households are a prime target for thieves and burglars, as students tend to bring a lot of pricey gadgets and items with them and are generally laxer when it comes to home security.
Whilst you should keep your home as secure as possible and use common sense, you should also think about taking out contents insurance.
Shop around for the best deal and the amount of cover that’s right for you. Contents insurance will cover theft and loss, but can also cover accidental and even intentional damage in some instances. It may be a few extra pounds a month, but it may very well be worth it.
Paying the bills
Make sure you budget each month to make sure you have enough money to pay the bills on time. If you don’t, suppliers may add on extra charges for lateness or non-payment. It’s a good idea to put some money aside each week or month in a separate bank or savings account. Just make sure you aren’t tempted to dip into it on a night out!
Also, consider how you are going to arrange to pay the bills with your housemates. You could assign a utility to each housemate and pay them each month, or one person could be responsible for bills, though that is a lot of responsibility. Make sure you have enough money in your accounts each month to pay the bills. Alternatively, you could use a bill splitting service such as Fused Bills or Split the Bills, who will make sure you’re on the best tariffs, and combine all your payments into an easy monthly amount.
Being independent brings new challenges, paying and budgeting for bills is just one of them. Looking for student accommodation in the UK? Be sure to check out our website.