Everyone likes to cut costs, especially if it doesn’t impact your day-to-day habits too much ands provides a boost to your disposable income. Shaving a few pennies off the prices of certain items and cutting things that aren’t necessary adds up, and can eventually give you enough extra budget to use towards something you enjoy.
For students, this is particularly important. Amid rising living and transport costs in cities and university towns, the unexpected expenses of joining and participating in societies and the inevitable impulse purchases you’ll live to regret, making your student loan stretch all term long and still having money to enjoy yourself with in your final week should be every student’s end goal.
One of the most reliable ways of doing this is by keeping your energy bills low. You’d think that something as vital as utilities—water, gas and electric—would be affordable, right? Wrong. Energy is one of your biggest expenses.
However, every successful student budget is about making lots of small smart decisions that add up. Let acasa teach you how to prevent energy becoming an unseemly weight on your wallet.
Wrap up warm
If you’re walking around the house in shorts and a t-shirt, or just your nightie, in December, then we’ve got news for you. The luxury of walking around your house in a flimsy outfit is indeed a luxury—meaning that it comes at a price!
We’re not saying that you need to constantly be wrapped up in onesie, a dressing gown, a scarf, hat and gloves! Although believe us, we know that’s not unheard of. But before you turn up the heating, maybe look yourself up and down first. Are you wearing socks or slippers? Do you have a comfy jumper or hoodie you could throw on?
Perhaps you’ll be a bit more tempted when we tell you that by turning your heating down by just 1°C, you can save 10% on your annual bills? Those insulated socks may not have been such an unwise impulse purchase after all.
Learn how your heating works
It may sound silly or patronising, but a lot of students will be living in a house without adults to help them with basic things, like using the washing machine and adjusting the thermostat on a radiator, for the very first time.
It can really pay just to understand how your heating works, and where your costs are coming from. Is your boiler electric or gas? Where’s the meter, and are you submitting regular readings to your energy supplier? Are you leaving the heating on all day while everyone is out without realising? Or all night when you don’t need the house to be as warm?
Do some Googling, read your boiler instructions, and get the household involved in coming up with clever ways to keep your energy use to a functional minimum.
Split bills fairly
Every student house splits the bills in a way that suits them, but it’s important to sit down with your flatmates and figure out exactly what that is. If there is a notable difference in financial backgrounds between you all, it might be reasonable to suggest that everyone pays a percentage relative to what they can afford.
The other bill-splitting conundrum is when one person has decided not to pay up. Most student houses still choose to split the bills by having a nominated person for all bills who is reimbursed by the others, or by each taking charge of a single bill and everyone reimbursing one another. This leaves anyone paying the bill vulnerable to being taken advantage of by their housemates.
Try to find ways of minimising the risk in this area, because your personal share of the energy bill could quite literally double if someone decides not to pay—and this can make for a very awkward household.
While it might be everyone’s first port of call to go with one of the Big Six energy companies—British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power, SSE—this would be your first mistake. When it comes to low-cost, reliable utilities, reputation is most definitely not everything.
In fact, this year, every single Big Six company has raised its prices at least once. British Gas’ standard variable tariff has been hiked twice, by a total of 9.4%, Npower’s standard tariff shot up to £1,230/year in June, while SSE added £87/year to the average bill in July while scrapping a £6 per fuel annual discount in July.
Scottish Power’s prices have been raised by £111 following two separate increases this year and although E.on’s tariffs may have only gone up by half this figure, it has also scrapped a £20/year dual-fuel discount and £5/year paperless billing discount.
It’s estimated that by the end of 2018, these suppliers will have lost 2.35 million customers to small and mid-size companies as people realise they can find the same service elsewhere. By going with a smaller supplier, your household could realistically save hundreds on your energy bill.
acasa is designed for anyone sharing a house, from students to young professionals to couples. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems.
Get a free quote for your property and enjoy a more stress-free approach to managing your shared house.