Energy bills are those annoying expenses you have to pay whether you like it or not.
So when optimising your saving strategy, the first stage of the process is reducing your ‘mandatory’ expenses as much as you can. So yeah, that starts with bills.
According to this survey, students spend an average of £37/month on energy bills (so gas, electricity, water and internet) – which isn’t too bad. The thing is that way too many students are stuck in super expensive contracts, simply because as usual, big companies know some people can’t be bothered researching the cheapest plan and so will hike up prices. Don’t be that person 👊
Here are some snazzy steps to really reduce those energy bills to the minimum:
1. Figure out which is the cheapest provider
Whether you have a landlord or company managing your flat, they might have their own provider for your energy – thing is, it’s likely not the cheapest one. 😡
Best way to check the cheapest one is through this amazing website Energy Helpline. You put in your post code, a few other details and bam, it gives you a cheap one. I am saving £197 by switching provider! Crazy.
Annoying thing is that my provider (SSE) has a £25 exit fee so I need to wait till my quote expires to switch. 😡
But here are some examples of some of the cheapest ones:
Other things to make sure you get the cheapest quote possible:
- Make sure you get paperless billing (who even does paper anymore? 💁)
- Pay your electricity + gas combined – not separately
- Find a provider that does not have cancellation or exit fees – don’t make the same mistake I did
- Fixed tariffs are often a better deal since they protect you from price increases.
For water, you don’t have much choice when it comes to paying the bill. Check out Water.org to find your supplier.
For internet, providers get very competitive and there are tons of deals out there. Money Supermarket has a comparison site so you can find the cheapest one possible. My only recommendation here is to get Fibre if you’re more than 3 people in the flat. Ain’t nothing worse than slow internet if not. 💻
For council tax, we pay nothing! Yay! Just make sure to declare that you’re student and not have to pay a huge amount (it is huge).
2. Split energy bills fairly between housemates
Aha! This is very important if you don’t want to end up losing money by paying other people’s bills.
Honestly when it comes to splitting bills, I recommend nice and simple technology. Get the app Splitwise and make sure everyone else in the flat gets it too. Then, when it’s time to pay the bills everyone can very easily send their part of the money.
Another awesome solution is if everyone downloads a mobile bank such as Starling, Monzo or Revolut. It’s super easy to split bills and you can even send them annoying little reminders if someone doesn’t pay up. Big fan of those online banks 😛
Another tip is to pay your energy bills monthly instead every time you get the bill – which could be every three months. Instead of paying £100 in one go you pay £33 per month, which I think we can all agree is much more manageable when on a crazy tiny student budget.
Splitwise and mobile banks also comes in handy if you need to split bills such as washing machine liquid, loo paper, soap, etc. No need for nagging and no need to pay everything yourself! Win-win. ✅
3. Automate it
Bills are boring and can be a hassle if you don’t have a system to take care of them (I love systems btw). There’s nothing worse than spending hours on the phone with customer service figuring out why they overcharged you £15 – or even worse, not having internet in the flat for a week! #nightmare.
So the minute you and your flatmates move into a flat, sort out the energy bills – find the cheapest provider for gas and electricity, figure out your water provider, find a broadband company that won’t rip you off and then sign up to their contracts.
To make sure no one pays late you can put every person’s name on the bill – although if this is a flat with people moving in and out every 6 months you might be better off with just one person paying the bills and then splitting (although a tiny bit risky!).
Once you’ve done all the hard work, to make sure you never have to think about this again, set up a direct debit to automatically pay your providers every month/3 months/whatever it is.
And that’s it. You’ve optimised those mandatory expenses as much as you can and you can rest ease that you’re not losing money on some overpriced contract. Congrats 👊
You’re saving money every month without putting in any extra effort (boo yah!) – if you want to save money with a little bit of effort, the next step student discounts. I put in an awesome system that makes sure I take advantage of as many student discounts as possible with as little effort needed . Click through to find out how 😉