Budgeting advice: Managing your utility bills

Gas and electricity bills have seen large price increases recently which is having an effect on everybody in the UK.

To help you to budget well, the lovely bunch at our University housing service, Liverpool Student Homes (LSH), have pulled together their top five tips for managing utility bills.

  1. Check your contract for an energy cap

Do you have a student property agreement with inclusive bills? If yes, check your contract for an energy usage cap because if you exceed the limit you will need to pay for what you have used. This can increase your contribution significantly. It’s a good idea to ask your accommodation provider about what the normal energy use for the property is so you will have an idea about how much your bills may increase by.

We’d also recommend you make sure that no changes have been made to the contract after you signed it – the accommodation provider needs your agreement to do this.

Read the LSH FAQs about inclusive rent and fuel caps.

  1. Be savvy with household expenses

With energy bills increasing there is a greater need to be savvy with your household bills. It’s important to discuss and agree with your housemates how to make the most of your inclusive rent. For example, you might think about taking turns to cook for everyone so you can try to stay under your inclusive energy usage cap.

You can find more ideas on our webpages.

  1. Provide actual meter readings

If you don’t have a smart meter it is important that you provide actual gas and electricity meter readings monthly to your accommodation provider and/or your energy company. This will ensure you are only paying for what you have used and will allow you to monitor your usage.

  1. Sustainable living

By having a more sustainable lifestyle, you can save money and help the environment.

Check out tips to be more sustainable on our webpages.

  1. Talk to your accommodation provider

If you are worried about your bills or are struggling to pay, reach out to your accommodation provider and university support services. It is always best to discuss these things early and keep an open dialogue.

Energy Bills Support Scheme

The UK Government has recently announced a £400 energy bill discount for all households known as the Energy bills support scheme. The energy discount is a £400 payment off energy bills, which started in October and will run over a period of six months. It is being paid directly by the energy supplier.

The payment is made directly to the person named on the energy supply account, apart from pre-payment meters where it will be applied to the meter or through a voucher.

The energy discount has been created in order to mitigate the impact of energy price rises and it is therefore appropriate that it supports the person or persons most impacted. In cases where the utility bills are fully inclusive or the cap is based on actual usage (kWh’s) then the tenant will not suffer detriment and the discount will not be passed on. However, where the cap is financial this payment should be added to the cap.

Help with managing the cost of living

As a student at the University of Liverpool there are a number of things we can do to help you manage the challenges of the rising cost of living, whether it is with unexpected short-term costs, or with long-term financial management.

Financial challenges can be a significant cause of anxiety, affecting your mental health, ability to focus on study and general wellbeing.

If you are in immediate financial difficulty and require support please contact our Money Advice & Guidance Team on money@liverpool.ac.uk or book an online confidential one-to-one appointment. If you are an international student, please contact our International Advice and Guidance Team on iagteam@liverpool.ac.uk or book an online confidential one-one appointment.