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Managing your bills for the first time

Alongside the excitement, moving into a student house with your friends, or on your own, comes with the responsibility of paying bills.

If you’re unsure what you’ll need to pay for, or how to set up your bill payments, use our guide below.

Figure out which bills you need to pay

If you're living in a student house, you may be responsible for paying all of your utility bills. This can include everything from water and gas, to electricity and broadband. Student halls generally cover the cost of utility bills in the accommodation cost you pay. However, if you’re unsure, just ask if there’s anything extra you’ll need to pay for.

You don’t need to pay Council Tax when you’re a full-time student, but you will need to pay for a TV Licence if you need one. 

Find the best supplier

You’ll find there’s plenty of choice when it comes to choosing a utility supplier. But with so many providers available, it may feel a little daunting to pick the right ones. There are comparison sites which you can use to find the best deal for your student digs.

Before you start paying anything you’ll likely need to give a meter reading. Meters are generally kept on the outside of the property, but they may be in a cupboard or a communal area if you live in a flat. You can ask your landlord if you're unsure. 

Sort out a payment method that works for you

If you’re living with other students, sit down together and work out how you’ll pay your bills. You could try setting up a standing order which would mean the payment is taken automatically from one account.

To make it fair, each housemate could be responsible for paying a different bill if the costs are similar, or everyone could pay into one person’s account each month. Make sure this is agreed on before you start making arrangements and any standing orders are set up.  

Pay your bills on time

You’ll need to make sure your bills are paid on time. You don’t want to run the risk of having any of your utilities turned off or get into arrears if you fail to pay. Make a plan with your housemates on how you’ll cover the cost and set up reminders so you don’t forget.

If you’re an HSBC customer using an iPhone or iPad, you may be able to use a tool like Balance After Bills. It shows you how much you could have left for the month ahead, once scheduled bills (standing orders and Direct Debits) are taken into account.

Based on your regular bills, we estimate what you'll owe for the month ahead. Then we subtract it from your current balance to show you what you could have left. This can help you ensure you don’t overspend.

What next?

To effectively manage your bills, it can be useful to sit down and work out a budget for yourself. You’ll be able to see how much money you have coming in and be able to allocate a certain amount to pay your bills.

To make sure you’re not overpaying or underpaying on your bills, it’s worth keeping track of what you’re spending. If you’re finding it difficult to cover the cost of your utility bills, it may be worth looking at cheaper supplier or rates to bring the cost down. Getting into the habit of regularly reviewing your finances can also be a useful skill for the future. 

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