Written by Catalina Constantin (3rd year Journalism & Media student at DMU)
Moving out of your family house comes with a lot of challenges. Feeling overwhelmed is not surprising when you start living by yourself in student halls or a house. It’s a mix of emotions but more exciting than scary. I got you though. Budgeting is not as scary as it might seem. We just need to get into the habit of staying on top of the money we have coming in and out. Let’s not spend our student loans right away. Make a list of all the expenses you have.
If you’re renting a studio or sharing a flat, either way, you will have to face your expenses. We need to have our rent, bills, and groceries in order. Set a budget for each week or month. How else could we allocate money towards fun activities? We need to know how much we have left to spend.
Some landlords of student housing include all bills as part of the weekly rent price, but if they don’t, there are a few costs you might have to pay when you move into your accommodation. Bills are one part of student housing that can bring conflict between flatmates. Get your bills set up, make sure you stay on the right side of the law, and if it comes to it, figure out the best way to split the bills between you and your flatmates.
There are several options such as bill-splitting services, having joint accounts, or setting up a direct debit. If you trust each other enough, you could set up individual bills. Or just get an app to help. For more info on bills in a Sulets house read here.
How to set up your bills
Gas and electricity
These are the biggest expenses you face when renting. A student house will most likely already be supplied when you move in. Find out who you supplier is, you are responsible to pay for everything from the start of your tenancy unless mentioned otherwise. Shop around for the best deal if you can. Take a note of the meter readings as soon as you move in! And if the prices will seem scary, turn down the thermostat and wrap up warm, there’s no shame in trying to reduce your bills, particularly on a student budget. Other energy saving tips can be found here.
Water and sewerage
You’ll have a single local water provider supplying your area, and you’ll either be on a standard tariff (charged monthly or yearly) or have a water meter. If you have a water meter, you’ll pay for the precise amount of water you consume rather than an estimated amount. A good way to pay is via a monthly direct debit. Find your supplier, contact them, set yourself up as a new customer, and find out if you’re on a metered or standard tariff. If you want to save water use there are often many free water saving devices you can claim from your supplier.
Some landlords will include broadband in your monthly rent, but if they don’t, you’ll most likely have to arrange it yourself. Because the companies are very competitive, you should try to shop around for the best offer. We recommend having your internet set up ASAP when you move in because it often takes a few weeks to set up. Some providers even offer student specific packages which mean you are not tied into lengthy contracts.
TV licence and TV subscriptions
You will be required to buy a TV licence if you use a TV. Check out our advice here for more info.
The good news is, if you’re a student, you don’t have to pay council tax. Just apply for an exemption! Find out more in our Council Tax guide.
If you are looking for student accommodation with all bills included Sulets are able to offer this in all halls of residence, and in selected student housing. Just get in touch and we can help you find the perfect student room.
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash