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Learning how to split bills as a student

29 June 2023
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

When first coming to university, one of my irrational fears that I was anxious to learn how to do was paying bills. Maybe it was because it seems like once you start, you will most likely be paying them for the rest of your life, or just because it felt like such a mature thing to do that I wasn’t ready for yet. After being protected by having bills included in my first and second years, I am now venturing into the unknown – having to work out bills.

From calling internet companies trying to get the best deal to work out the best way to split the burden (and cost) with housemates – it’s a process which we all need to go through at one time or another but, nonetheless, feels like a great responsibility. Especially in a cost of living crisis, where prices can vary so extensively, it’s best to try to achieve the best deals at the beginning of your tenancy – when you can benefit from 12-month contract deals. 

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Giving everyone a task or appointing a single person in charge?

We’ve faced this question a few times. Is it better to fairly allocate a task and responsibility to each household member, then just transfer to each other every month? Or, have a single (very responsible) housemate be responsible for all the bills, and then the rest just transfer their share of the bills? To me, it depends on what’s best for the group.

Great resources to help get you started 

Save the Student have a really useful page on the best student broadband deals which is kept well up to date with the best offers. This gives you a great idea of the market, and how to spot a good (or not so good deal) when looking for the first time. 

Try to stay in the positive for energy bills – even if that means paying extra in the summer so it can average out over the winter

Paying extra during the summer when energy costs are low can help you budget and stay up to date with rising costs in the winter. This saves the stress of being struck with high energy costs in the winter, especially in the cost of living crisis in which hiking prices can be unexpected.

Consider using an app to manage sharing bills

There are many apps out there, one of the most popular being Splitwise, which offers a free version. This lets you easily split your bills fairly, with little fuss. Taking the stress and tensions away of “who owes who what”.

Overall, it is most of our first time adjusting to paying bills and it can be intimidating. However, it is ultimately something that we need to get used to and can benefit from a multitude of online resources to guide us through the process.