September has officially started and as many young people will be heading off to university this month it is important to think about your accommodation. If you already know you’ll be sharing a house it is also important to think about utility bills. This is something you might not know much about or only have a vague idea, which is why we have put together a handy guide to run you through the process!
Sharing the bills
Every student house has a different dynamic and this largely depends on how well you get on with your housemates and how many people are living together. It is important to decide how bills will be paid on time and how payments will be shared fairly. There are two basic ways of doing this.
Split the responsibility amongst yourselves, so each person is responsible for one bill such as water, electricity, gas, insurance, TV license. Once you’ve decided on who is in charge of which bill you also need to split how much everyone will be paying.
The second way is to use free money splitting apps. They’re great to manage who owes what in your student house. Once you’re all using one app, you can request payments from everyone and add comments and due dates, it will then show who is in red and who has paid.
How to save money and time on bills?
While sorting out your bills with your housemates you can make some pretty big savings and help to ensure there are no issues.
Put everyone’s names on the bills so although one person might be in charge of paying, everyone else is also responsible. This means people are more likely to pay on time as late payments impact credit scores.
Get everything set up as soon as possible and ensure you sort out your utilities and especially the internet or everyone will have to do their assignments at the uni library! Phoneline installation and broadband activation can take a couple of weeks so keep that in mind.
Go all-inclusive with your landlord, if you can include all bills in the overall figure you often end up saving money!
Read the small print when taking out any services so you are not surprised by any extra set up charges.
Take regular meter readings especially when you move in and out and throughout the year. You could be getting overcharged for electricity or gas but even worse you could be underpaying and this means you can end up with a big bill at the end of the year!
Set up direct debits so if you know your broadband is £45 in a house of 5 then get your housemates to set up a direct debit of £9 into your account before the bill has to be paid, that way you don’t have to chase them! Some companies will also lower your bill if you pay by direct debit.
Split the bills monthly so it’s easier for you to budget and pay in smaller chunks rather than paying that water bill every 3 months.
Which bills are easy to forget?
There are of course the obvious bills like water, gas, electricity and broadband which you won’t hopefully forget. There are some however, which you might overlook.
TV Licence if you plan to watch television or even catch up TV it is important that you obtain a TV Licence. You can pay this monthly to make it easier to budget and although you have to pay for a year the first time, if you cancel after 9 months if you won’t be in your student accommodation over the summer months, you will be refunded.
Student Council Tax full time students are actually exempt from paying council tax however, you need to actually inform your council of this as sadly they aren’t telepathic!
Insurance Student homes are often targeted by burglars as they often have a lot of phones and laptops. Students often overlook getting insurance but at Discount Insurance we will get you covered with our Student Insurance so you can be sure your valuables are safe give us a call on 0800 294 4522 now to get a quote!