Whether you are renting or you own your home, you will have a range of household bills to consider. Where money might be tight, particularly when you are on a student income, you need to prioritise your expenses to make sure you get the most out of your money.
One of the areas where we see students wasting money is on their energy bills. Many people don’t understand energy or how to improve their fuel finances, so just stay as they are, often paying £££s per month for gas and electricity. When it comes to your energy, there are two things you can do – Make sure you are reducing your usage by being energy efficient, and making sure you are on the best deal for the energy you do use.
If you are on a pre-payment meter for your energy, you can really reduce your costs by educating yourself (see the information) about how this type of energy works.
Save the Student have a great guide for sourcing the cheapest energy suppliers.
The Energy Saving Trust and Money Saving Expert have advice on reducing your bills by being more energy efficient, and mythbusting those common misconceptions.
Money Saving Expert have guidance on how to get the cheapest energy deals, including a guide specifically for those with a pre-payment meter for your gas and electricity.
When you do read these guides you will see that comparing your energy providers, and switching to cheaper providers is key theme, so make sure you know how to do this by reading the OFGEM guides to switching energy providers and understanding your energy bill.
TV Packages & Broadband
These days TV packages and broadband often come in package deal, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay for both. Everyone values their downtime and a big part of enjoying your time at home tends to be spent in front of a screen. Many people sign up for contracts that they either don’t need or don’t fully utilise, which ultimately wastes your money.
How and when you watch TV or use the internet should influence your choices when signing up for deals. For example, you might be a big user of streaming services, but rarely watch TV. Doing a bit of research in advance and really thinking about how you will use your TV and internet will help you to secure the best value for your budget.
Whenever you are watching TV, it is important to understand when a TV licence is required, Make sure you know the facts about TV Licencing for Students, and don’t get out without one.
Check out the Save the Student guides to getting the best broadband deals and the best digital TV deals.
Money Saving Expert has some great information on digital TV deals , including how to pick the right package and haggle a discount, and using streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Now TV.
When it comes to looking for a good deal shopping around is key, but you should use the resources above to know what you are shopping around for. When you are ready to look for a good deal, use comparison websites like Money Supermarket, Compare the Market, Go Compare, Broadband Choices etc.
It is also useful to do some homework on what broadband/internet you actually need. Many providers will wow you with numbers and speeds but it can be hard to determine what that actually all means to you. Broadband Savvy have a useful guide to understanding this which can help you save by decoding the jargon.
Telephone and Mobile
Not many people use their home phone lines any more, with these usually only being in place to facilitate broadband. It’s likely that the cost of line rental will be included when you are investigating broadband, but if you do want a home phone without this being part of any broadband deal, you can find out more about this on the uSwitch website.
You can also shop around for the best deals using price comparison websites.
When it comes to getting the best deal on your mobile phone, check out our information on our Lifestyle webpage.
If you are moving between properties and have a gap between leases, you may need to store your belongings for a few weeks or months. There are lots of different companies and options to choose from, many of whom offer discounts or flexibility for students. Check out the Save the Student guide to storage on a budget, before searching for storage facilities near you, and looking for the best deal.
For all of your housing costs and bills, remember that you might be tied into a contract that is not easily broken without there being a negative impact on your finances. Make sure to take the length of any contracts into account when planning and budgeting for these expenses.