We all know that one of the main problems about being a student is money, whether it be having to fork out money on expensive textbooks or breaking open the penny jar to fund the third night out of the week.
The ultimate nemesis of your student loan, however, will be your utility bills. You’d be surprised just how much energy – and therefore money – you and your flatmates are wasting around your home purely by accident and not knowing any better.
Fortunately, we’re here to educate you on how to make your home more energy efficient and save you those all-important pennies for something more important, like socialising down the SU bar! Here are some helpful tips for cutting the cost of your utility bills…
Hang out to dry
Do you use a tumble dryer to dry all your clothes? Well you’re wasting a whopping 1 kilowatt of energy for 24 minutes of use. Is it worth it? Probably not.
During the dead of winter it can be difficult to get your clothes dry, but as soon as the good weather starts to creep back in, there is literally no excuse for not hanging your clothes on a washing line if your student house has a back garden or yard. The sun is the cheapest utility provider you’re ever going to get – make use of it!
Stop the drip
If your shower head isn’t nearly as powerful as it needs to be, you probably spend a lot longer in there trying to wash the shampoo out of your hair. If your student house has a water meter fitted, then this is obviously wasteful in terms of the amount of water used and needs to be fixed to cut down on your water bills.
Point out to your landlord that the water pressure isn’t as good as it should be and suggest they invest in a new shower pump to put some much-needed oomph back into the pipes.
Don’t block the radiators
Probably the most committed accidental mistake on this list and is definitely the easiest to fix – don’t put anything in front of the radiators if you want the room to get the full benefit of the heat!
If you leave the sofa in front of the radiator, for example, then the heat will go into that rather than spreading through the home like it’s supposed to! No wonder you’ve had to turn the temperature up to compensate.
Lower that thermostat
Did you know that lowering your thermostat in your home by 1 degree can save up to 10% on your heating bills for the year? Time to drop the temperature don’t you think?
If anyone starts complaining just throw a hot water bottle at them and tell them to put on a jumper – there are cheaper methods of keeping warm!
Never do a half-wash
Every time you start up the washing machine, make sure that it is for a full load of clothes before you turn it on (but be careful not to overload it!). It takes a lot of energy to run a washing machine, so make sure you make the most of each time you use it.
If a flatmate tells you they need to throw on a half load because they have a t-shirt they need to wear that night, direct them to a bucket of soapy water. They’ll be able to buy plenty more t-shirts with the money they’ll save anyway!
Charge up on the hoof
If you’re studying at the university library, treating yourself to a latte a local coffee shop while penning an essay or even travelling back home for a few days by train and spot a free charging point, then make the most of the opportunity to charge up your laptop. It won’t make a massive difference to your shared house or flat’s electricity bill, but every little helps!
Remember to compare deals
When you reach the end of your contract, remember to check two or three comparison sites before renewing to make sure you’re still getting the best deal available. The Ofgem-approved energy comparison sites are independent, and the options and prices you find on them will be calculated and displayed in a fair and accurate way – meaning you can be confident when shopping for energy.
For further advice about saving money on your gas and electricity bills, check out the Money Advice Service website.