Student life can be hard – 9am lectures, countless books to read and what can seem like a never-ending list of assignments.
Along with these factors, you’re probably also worrying about finances and how you’re going to budget your university fees, accommodation costs and living expenses.
But not to worry, Love Energy Savings are here to advise you on how you can reduce your household energy bills and keep a bit more money in your pocket.
How to manage your gas and electricity bills as a student
For many, being a student provides a first glimpse at what adult life is like. A key part of this is budgeting and managing your bills.
Since you’re now responsible for your household energy bills, you’ll want to ensure that you’re using energy as efficiently as possible. This will help you avoid paying more than you need to. According to the National Union of Students, the average yearly cost of being a student can range at around £22,576; bills account for £510 of this.
Below we list 9 top tips to help students manage their household energy.
1. Become more energy-efficient
This is key if you want to reduce your energy bills and luckily, it can be pretty simple. Minor steps such as turning your appliances off standby, investing in LED lights, fully loading your dishwasher and washing machine, and even simply filling your kettle with only the water you need can help to reduce your energy usage and cut costs.
2. Be efficient with your heating
Heating can account for almost 50% of your energy bill costs. As tempting as it can be to whack the heating up on full blast whilst spending the evening in front of Netflix, it would serve you (and your pocket) well to be more mindful with your heating.
Stick on a pair of your favourite fluffy socks and wrap up warm so that you’re less reliant on your heating. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree could help you save around £60 a year. You could also team up with your housemates and invest in a smart thermostat to get more control over your heating.
Additionally, draught-proofing is a cheap and easy way of keeping heat in your rooms. You can purchase items such as self-adhesive strips and draught excluders from most DIY shops. Finally, lowering the temperature of the water you use in the bathroom and kitchen can also help to cut down your energy consumption.
3. Choose a suitable tariff
This is a key step which helps to prevent you from overpaying for your gas and electricity. You should compare energy prices before selecting a tariff. You should ensure that the deal you choose is best suited to your needs.
Fixed-price tariffs are usually recommended as your payments won’t change throughout your contract term. You’ll be able to predict your payments and budget accordingly. It is also recommended that you avoid prepayment meter tariffs as these tend to have expensive rates.
4. Set a budget
A budget of around £50 each is typically recommended for your utility bills. However, you should consider your energy usage and house size. Bear in mind also that bills tend to increase during the winter. If your bills are significantly higher than around £50 each, you should look into switching energy suppliers.
5. Split bills fairly
Nothing can tear a university household apart like finance squabbles. To avoid this, you should liaise with your fellow housemates and create a plan for paying and managing all of your utility bills. You could assign different bills to different people, or you could split the bills equally.
Setting up a direct debit can help to save costs; it’s deemed to be 8% cheaper than other forms of payment. To make the most of this, you could send all your payments to one housemate’s account and set the direct debit to be taken from there.
Apps such as Splittable, Glide and Splitwise are available to help you split and organise your bills.
6. Submit frequent meter readings
If you allow your energy supplier to guess your meter readings, there’s a chance that they could overestimate your energy usage and overcharge you. In the event that they underestimate your consumption, you could end up with a hefty outstanding balance at the end of your contract.
To ensure that your bills are accurate, you should submit frequent meter readings. The process takes far less effort than it sounds and can help you save in the long run. A good way of ensuring that this gets done is to nominate a responsible housemate to submit frequent readings.
7. Get a smart meter
Following on from the previous point, if you and your housemates find yourselves failing to submit meter readings, a smart meter could be the answer. These intelligent devices send meter readings directly to your supplier, making your energy bills more accurate.
Smart meters are primarily designed to help you monitor your energy usage and allow you to identify areas where efficiency can be improved.
8. Use library resources
Trips to the library can not only help you with your studies, but they can also help to lower your accommodation’s energy bills. Using the library’s electricity whilst charging and using your laptop and phone reduces your home energy consumption and helps to lower your bills. Take advantage of your university’s resources, especially if they’re available 24 hours a day!
9. Switch suppliers
Last but not least, switching energy suppliers is a highly recommended way of lowering your student energy bills. Being on a tariff with expensive rates will lead to expensive bills, so it’s important that you shop around to find the cheapest deal.
Here at Love Energy Savings, we provide a free online comparison engine to help you compare energy deals on the market. Simply enter your postcode, contact details and energy requirements and in just a few moments, you’ll receive your free quote.
You can find out more information about energy saving by using our useful energy guides.