Freshers Life’s Guide to Student Bills

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Your university life begins in September. New experiences, new friends, new opportunities and new financial responsibilities. For most of you, this is your first step into adult independence.

First steps are often the hardest. For a large part of your academic life, you haven’t had to worry about bills – not like school taught us anything about them, anyway – but you shouldn’t have to worry now. When it comes to managing your finances, it’s always best to get organised early…

Which we have a guide about, too, if you didn’t know: Budgeting Guide.

But let’s get more specific. A lot of freshers won’t need to worry about bills as it’s likely you’ll be staying in halls, which usually include essential outgoings as part of your rent. Still, don’t stop reading. Next year you may be looking to share a house with your new friends – and at university, a year will fly.

Get financially ready with Freshers Life’s Student Guide to Bills.

1) Gas & Electric

Some places will only run on electric, others on both gas and electric. Sadly for all you Steampunk fanatics, you won’t find a house that runs on gas only.

If yours runs on both, then it’s better to combine usage with the same provider on a dual tariff, as you’ll usually get a better rate and it simplifies things a lot more.

Once you’ve moved in, don’t just accept the energy provider that came with the property. Use price comparison sites to get the best deal and also look into getting a meter, it will help you keep an eye on usage as it’s happening. Don’t get stung with a stomach-churning bill later down the line that you haven’t budgeted for.

2) Water

Water is fairly straight-forward. Your area will only be covered by one provider. You won’t need to shop around. You pay a fixed amount and that will cover you, unless you’re on a water meter.

If you are metered then you could take some extra steps to save. You could do your washing together as these can guzzle water. You could also opt for shorter showers and take fewer baths.

With a meter in place you should get a good idea after a month or so – but doing these things are good for the planet anyway, so, use some common sense.

3) Internet

Now for the essential stuff. For university: you need good broadband! Sure, you could probably survive without gas, electric and water… but no WiFi? Killer. Maybe not, but you’ll still want to find the best deal for your situation.

Again, look towards price comparison sites for the best offers. Don’t get tied down to an extended contract. Remember, you might not be there the whole year. You could also look into 5G internet which doesn’t require a phone line and is quick to set-up.

4) Quick tips

* Make sure everyone’s name is on every bills contract
* Take a meter reading as soon as you move in
* Use an app to calculate bill splits. Do not pay a company to do this for you
* Be mindful of electric-eating appliances
* Just like your parents may have told you countless times: don’t forget to turn the lights off!

If you’re a first-year student who’d prefer to live outside of halls this year, then make sure you join your Facebook group and WhatsApp chat by clicking on your city here. There are always people looking for potential housemates!

Join the U.K.’s largest university applicants group here.

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