How to split student bills

 

When sharing a house with other students, organising the bills can be the most painful part. It can lead to arguments and a lot of stress. Looking at how to split the bills early can save you a lot of hassle. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help make bills a bit less of a drag.

In this guide

How to split the bills

1.  Get them sorted as soon as possible

You’ll want to sort out bills as soon as you move in. Utilities such as internet can take a good week to install, if not longer! The last thing you want is to live in a house without any internet for a few weeks.

Use our handy student bills checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything you need to do when setting up your student bills.

2.  Find the best deals…but read the small print!

You can find some amazing discounts and deals aimed at students, but make sure you read the fine print. If the deal you find looks too good to be true, it probably is!

To find out the average amount of money you will be paying, check out our guide: Average costs of student bills

3.  Live with people you trust  

Living with people you trust can save you from a lot of arguments and hassle. You want to ensure everyone will pay the bills at the right amount and on time. You don’t want to be chasing people to cough up their share—you need to pay the bills together.

4.  Ensure everyone has their names on the bills

If one person has their name on a bill, by law they are solely responsible for it getting paid. If everyone’s name is on the bill, they’ll have to share responsibility. This means you’ll be jointly liable for a smaller, equal share of the bill. This is the fairest way to share the bills between housemates.

To see the bills you’ll need to pay, check out our guide: Students and household bills: what you need to pay for

5.  Take regular meter readings

Reading the meters regularly ensures that your energy suppliers are charging you the correct amount for your usage. If you don’t provide meter readings, your supplier will charge you based on estimates. If these estimates prove wrong, You can be lumped with an expensive bill at the end of your tenancy.

To find out more, check out our guide: How to find your current energy suppliers and set up your bills

6.  Learn how frequently your bills come through

You’ll need to pay different bills on different days of the month. Make sure you know when bills come through during the month so you can keep a certain amount of money prepared. You don’t want to end up having no cash Kochi (COK)to pay for a bill!

7.  Always pay on time

Missing payments can affect your credit rating. It can also mean you’re left with extra charges for late payments. Make sure your housemates know the billing dates and pay on time. If you’ve followed the previous steps, everyone’s name should be on the bills, meaning everyone’s equally responsible.

Ways to split student bills

There are a few different ways to split your bills. Some are better than others so take a look through and find the one that would suit you the most.

We’ve also got some useful tips for you too!

Using a bill-splitting service

Bill-splitting services (like us!) are a quick, easy and handy way for you and your housemates to organise your student bills. They can set up your accounts, ensure the bills are evenly split and chase late housemates for their share.

Pros

  • Convenient—All your bills are combined into one simple monthly payment.
  • No awkward conversations—With a bill-splitting service, every person pays an equal share of the bills. If a housemate is late with a payment, a representative from the service will contact them. This means you won’t have to chase your housemates or pay their part of the bills. Lovely!
  • Save your time— Bill splitting services can save you time by chasing late housemates and finding the best deals for you. We work with trusted supplier to ensure the right package is available for your house.
  • Easy – Bill splitting services take all the hard work away from you, whether finding the best deals, chasing housemates or offering one simple monthly payment.

Cons

  • Can appear pricier—Split the bills estimates prices based on a series of factors such as historical date, the region of the property and how many people are living there. They use this information to predict how much energy you may use in a household. This prediction may look pricier than from direct suppliers.
  • Restricted companies—Bill management companies use specific tariffs and therefore fixed suppliers with no wiggle room for different suppliers. They do this in order to give an accurate quote upfront. Using a range of different supplier would make this process very complicated, and it is highly unlikely they could guarantee the same tariff with multiple suppliers.

How to set up a bill-splitting service

  1. Visit splitthebills.co.uk.
  2. Grab a quote.
  3. Once you’re happy with it, sign up.
  4. Share your unique join link with your housemates

Joint accounts

A joint bank account allows two or more people to access the money in the account. It can be used to pool money together to pay the bills.

Pros

  • Organisation—You can make regular payments into your joint account relatively easily. This saves the effort of transferring money to and from your housemates every month.
  • Save some arguments—A single account for bills makes things easier to organise between multiple housemates.

Cons

  • Poor credit—If one of your housemates has a poor credit history, it will affect your credit rating the moment you open up a joint account with them. This co-scoring will stay on your credit history for six years, even if you’ve closed the joint account.
  • Paying debt—If the account becomes overdrawn, every account holder is responsible for paying the money owed. This means you could become responsible for paying someone else’s debt.
  • Awkward to close down—All account holders will need to be present when closing down the account. If you have a falling out with a housemate and they’re leaving, it will be awkward and difficult to close down the account.
  • Risk—Only open a joint account with housemates you trust. Everyone will have access to the account and the last thing you want is someone running off with all the cash!

Find out more in our full guide to joint accounts.

How to set up a student joint bank account

  1. Visit the local branch of the bank of your choice.
  2. Ask to open a joint current account.
  3. You’ll need to ensure every person on the account is present:
    1. Each of you will need to bring a form of identity (passport, driver’s licence etc.).
    2. Someone will need to bring proof of your address (e.g. an utility bill).

All-inclusive living

Living in an all-inclusive house or flat means your bills and rent are combined and paid straight to the landlord.

Pros

  • Simpler budgeting—Knowing what you need to pay each month means budgeting is straightforward.
  • No nasty surprises—Because it’s all-inclusive, you won’t forget to pay any bills.

Cons

  • Lack of transparency—All-inclusive arrangements usually require just one bill and it is unlikely to be split into energy usage and rent. Instead you will be paying a flat rate. This means you will be unable to find out how much energy you are actually using. In most cases landlords will charge more than you are likely to spend.
  • Lack of supplier choice—Your landlord will have complete control over which suppliers to use. Often they will look for the cheapest option, which will not be reflected in your bill. This means that you may be missing on better broadband deals or environmentally friendly energy options.

For a comparison between inclusive and non-inclusive, check out our guide: All-inclusive vs not inclusive: which is better for students?

How to find all-inclusive living

  1. You can often specify what you want when searching online.
  2. You can talk to your current landlord if they are will to charge all-inclusively, although they’re not obliged to agree.
  3. Most student halls offer a level of inclusive living, often including energy and internet at minimum.

Direct debit

If you decide to take responsibility for the bills, your housemates could simply set up direct debits to your account to pay their share to you.

Pros

  • Total control—If you’re the person in charge of the bills, you’re the one in control. If this suits you, that’s great. You’ll be the one choosing the deals, ensuring bills are paid and organising your housemates.
  • Ease—If you’re one of the lucky housemates who has to pay just a set amount, this will be a doddle for you.

Cons

  • Stress—No matter how organised you are, being in charge of the bills will be stressful! If it’s not dealing with the businesses providing you a service, it’s chasing housemates up, dealing with price increases, forgotten bills etc.
  • Covering costs—If your housemates end up being slow to cough up the cash, it’ll be down to you to personally cover the costs.
  • Credit risk—Again, your housemates could be a risk. If they fail to pay up, and you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a bill, it will bounce. This could affect your credit rating.

How to set up direct debits

  1. Make sure you have the account number and sort code of the company you’re looking to pay.
  2. When you first set up a bill, the company may ask if you would like to pay via direct debit. If you say yes, they’ll then sort out the process for you.
  3. If you use online banking, it can be as simple as using that to set up your direct debit.
  4. You can go into your local branch and set up a direct debit.

Apps

“There’s an app for that!” is a phrase we all hear, so of course there are apps for bill-splitting. Some are free and some aren’t, so it’s down to you to find the one that will work for you.

Pros

  • Accessibility—You’re never far away from your smartphone, so you can regularly check bills with ease.
  • Modern—So long as the app is up to date, you’ll receive rolling updates on your bill payments and account.

Cons

  • Lack of depth—Apps won’t be able to provide you with an in-depth service. Some won’t even have a customer service team to help you with issues.
  • Out-of-date apps—Apps will just sit in the app store gathering dust when they’re not updated. You may end up being stuck with an app which only partly functions.
  • Compatibility—You’ll need to have all your housemates on the same app for it to work properly. With the multiple operating systems available for smartphones these days, you may face issues with compatibility. Some apps will only work on Android, some only on Apple etc.

So which option should I use?

Choose the one that will improve your lifestyle the best. We don’t want to be biased, but we do believe Split The Bills could help you. Why not check out the many benefits we offer on our website, or feel free to contact us today.

Why not get a free quote? (It’s quick and easy!)

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Average costs of student bills

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