Moving into your student house is an exciting moment in any student’s life. No longer are you restricted to the rules that come with student halls. However, this excitement can quickly turn to fear as you and your housemates settle down to discuss the bills.
Whether it’s left to one person or a group effort to get them set-up and paid every month, the task can be confusing and time-consuming, to say the least. Luckily, we’re here to help. Here are some of our top tips and tricks for household bills to make your life a little easier.
First things first, what bills will you need to set up?
- Broadband & TV license
- TV License
- Gas and Electricity
- Water and Sewage
- Contents Insurance
- Student Council Tax
To some, that may seem like a lot. However, the average cost of household bills comes to just $37 per month. In most cases, a direct debit can be set-up so you won’t need to worry about remembering to pay each month. Once they’re set up, it’s plain sailing – it’s just setting them up that’s the issue!
Check to ensure that your rent doesn’t cover your bills for you. Some landlords and companies (including us) will include bills with the rent to make life a little easier for students.
For those inexperienced with utilities and how to set them up, it can be a daunting task. Doing your research will help massively to ensure you get the best deal and more importantly, you know what you actually need. Companies may try to up-sell packages and deals leaving you paying much more than you need to. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents about it, they’ve spent the majority of their lives paying bills so will have plenty of wisdom to pass down to you.
Let’s break down each utility and how to set them up…
Broadband and TV
Possibly the most important utility for students is broadband. You’ll want to ensure you get broadband that’s fast enough to support everyone’s internet usage in the house. Whether it’s for writing essays, scrolling through social media, or late-night gaming.
Broadband can take a few weeks to set up so you may want to consider doing this before you move in, otherwise, your first few weeks at uni could be eating into your phone’s data.
I’ve included TV as they often come in a package together for a good deal. TV is definitely not needed for everyone, but if you want more than the free channels finding a good broadband and TV package is essential. Just don’t forget the TV license.
If you have a TV in your house or plan on watching BBC iplayer from your laptop, you must get a TV license. This can be done online, so is a hassle-free process. Only one person from the house needs to get one for the whole house to be covered, so can simply split the price to make it more affordable.
You are bound to receive letters from the TV licensing company, as long as you have a TV license you don’t have to worry about this. Similarly, if no one in the house watches TV there’s no need to worry about getting one or the letters.
Gas and Electricity
Gas and electricity are probably the most difficult to set-up, due to the confusing lingo and lengthy phone calls. When you move in make sure you check the meters and jot down the readings so you are charged the gas and electricity you use and not estimates.
Make sure to compare energy companies to find the cheapest tariff, as sticking with the same company may seem like the easiest option but can often be costing you more.
Water and Sewage
Water and sewage are done by your regional company, and will either be on a tariff or have a water meter. Although, the norm is a tariff.
This again is quite simple to set up and you will just have to get in contact with the company for your region.
The water and sewage costs are usually one of the lowest costs so if it seems expensive, double-check the company and what they are supplying.
Whether you get contents insurance or not is a personal choice, however, it is highly recommended to protect your valuable items.
Student houses are well-known by many criminals and are often prime targets for theft, especially during the holidays.
Contents insurance will protect against theft and damage to your valuables and will give you peace of mind when you’re away from home.
Full-time students will not have to pay council tax, however do need to apply for an exemption. This can be done online fairly quickly.
If you are not a full-time student, you will have to pay council tax, even if the rest of your household is exempt.
How to pay?
Now you know which bills need to be set-up and how to do it, how do you pay for them?
Most of the utility bills offer a direct debit to be taken each month. This is the best option for students, as it ensures you don’t forget to pay each month.
Most choose to set up a joint bank account, this is typically set up in one person’s name and acts as a safe place for everyone to deposit money into. This ensures that the money can’t be spent accidentally by the account holder as it is separate from their account.
Alternatively, you can get apps that do the same thing. However, with these apps, you will often be overcharged and have to pay a fee. Therefore, we recommend sorting the bills between yourselves to ensure you don’t pay more than is necessary.