Sharing a student house is kind of a unique living arrangement in many ways. You might be living with people you don’t know that well, you only stay in a particular house for around nine months at a time on average, you probably don’t pay council tax…
It’s also one of the only living arrangements where you’re not actually living there the whole time that you’re paying to.
Unless you’ve got responsibilities that keep you in the area—such as positions in campus societies or the student union, a part-time job or an internship—most students prefer to go home for Christmas and Easter holidays. Some may even nip home for mid-term reading weeks, if they have them.
After all, if you’re lucky enough to have parents that do the majority of the washing up, cooking and food shopping, why wouldn’t you take a break to rest, recharge and save a few pennies at the same time? But no matter how much you may save by falling back on the Bank of Mum and Dad every few months, your house back in your university town or city is still racking up costs, even if there’s no one there.
When you’re a student, every saving you can make is important. Find out how to minimise the burden your university house places on your wallet during the holidays with this blog from acasa!
Ask your flatmates to be considerate
First things first, if any of your housemates have stayed in the house over the holidays, you need to find a way of tactfully asking them to not crank up the heating to their heart’s delight 24/7 or leaving all the lights on in the house. We all get a bit more comfortable when we’ve got the place all to ourselves, but there’s no reason you should be paying the same amount for utilities when you’re not all there.
Depending on your situation, it might even be appropriate to ask whichever flatmate(s) haven’t gone home for the holidays to foot the gas and electricity bill—and water, if it’s metered—for the time they’re there.
Switch off appliances
If the property is going to be empty for the entirety of the winter or Easter break, turn off anything that is going to be costing you extra. Remember that appliances left on standby are still using energy. According to the Energy Saving Trust, anywhere from 9% to 16% of electricity used—and therefore paid for—in the UK powers appliances in standby mode. Before the last person to go home for the holidays leaves, ask them to check:
- TV Boxes—this includes Sky Go, Freeview and Virgin Media
- Games consoles
- Any computers left behind
- Speaker systems
- Chargers left plugged in
- Extension leads
Turn off the boiler as well, there’s no point in it heating anything if no one is home.
If you’re being extra cautious, you can even switch off your fridge and freezer. Just make sure to eat the food first!
acasa is a bill splitting app and home management platform 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. Download acasa on iOS or Android, get a free quote for your property and enjoy a more stress-free approach to managing your shared house.