Guide to student bill sharing and bill splitting

 

When you head to uni you’ll end up having to face all the boring grown up bills stuff. We’ll level with you – it’s not fun. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help make bills a bit less of a drag.

What are my options?

There’s a few different ways to choose 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 to organise your student bills with your housemates. Bill-splitting services will do all the leg work for you – finding the best deals, chasing slow paying housemates and more.

Pros

  • Convenient – All your bills are combined into one simple monthly payment. This means no forgotten bills, nasty surprises or price increases.
  • No awkward conversations – With a bill splitting service, every person pays their own even part of the bills. If there are any late payments, a representative from the service will contact your housemates. This means you won’t have to chase your housemates or pay for their part of the bills. Lovely!
  • Save your time – Bill splitting services will find the best deals for you. For example, at Split The Bills we work with trusted companies such as Virgin, Plusnet and more. Plus, with only one bill to pay, you don’t even have to check up on your bills that often.
  • No huge bills – Lots of companies, like gas and electric ones, keep you paying a flat-rate through the year. Once you decide to move out, they’ll take a meter reading and then slap you with a massive bill. With us, so long as you provide regular meter readings, you’ll avoid paying extra!

Cons

  • Can be pricier – We only charge £1.50 a week for our service, but other companies may charge more.
  • Restricted companies – Bill splitting services work with companies to provide you with the best deals, this means you’ll have a smaller selection of energy companies to choose from. These companies will provide you with their best deals, so it’s not much to worry about.

Joint accounts

A joint bank account is where two or more people are able to access the money in a bank account. This joint account can be used to pool money together in order 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 poor credit history it will affect your credit rating the moment you open up a joint account with them. This co-scoring will stick for six years, even if you have closed the joint account.
  • Paying debt – If the account becomes overdrawn, every account holder is responsible for paying the money owed. Therefore, 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’ve have a falling out with a housemate and they are 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 joint account and the last thing you want is someone running off with all the cash!

Find out more in our full guide about joint accounts.

All-inclusive living

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Costly – The cost of your bills will most likely come at a premium which will go straight into your landlord’s pocket.
  • No great deals – Unlike bill splitting services like us, all-inclusive landlords won’t spend time hunting for the best deals. They will be looking for a quick solution and mostly likely, a more expensive one.
  • Flat-rate – Because you’ll be paying a flat rate, there’s no way for you to save any money by living economically. In fact, you’ll probably only spend a few hours in the evening and morning in your house between classes. This won’t be reflected in your bill and you’ll still pay that flat-rate.

Direct Debit

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

Pros

  • Total control – If you are the person in charge of the bills, you are the one in control. If this suits you, that’s great. You will be the one choosing the deals, ensuring payments and organising your housemates
  • Ease – If your one of the lucky housemates that just has to pay a set amount, then 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 will 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 negatively affect your credit rating.

Apps

“There’s an app for that!” is a phrase we all hear, so of course there’s apps for bill splitting. Some free and some are premium, 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 will receive rolling updates to your app which will improve user experience.

Cons

  • Lack of depth – Apps won’t be able to provide you with in-depth knowledge or 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 and can’t be updated.
  • Compatibility ­– You will need to have all your housemates on the same app in order for it to work properly. With the multiple operating systems available for smartphones these days, you may face issues with compatibility. Some apps will work on Android, some on Apple.

So which option should I use?

You’ve got to choose that for yourself to see which one will improve your lifestyle the best. We don’t want to be bias, but we do believe Split The Bills could help you. We’ve got a great team of people just waiting to have chat and talk you through the options.

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

Bill paying tips

  1. Get the bills sorted quickly – The quicker you sort your bills out, the better. You don’t want to be stuck without internet or TV.
  2. Take regular meter readings – This will help you avoid any nasty surprises when it comes to moving out.
  3. Schedule a bill-paying time – If you’re paying the bills yourself, make sure you clear some room to make sure you’ve got everything sorted
  4. Learn your bill cycle – Make sure you know which bills come out when during the month. You don’t want to end up having no cash to pay for a bill!
  5. Live with people you trust – You’ll want to know that you can rely on your housemates to pay on time. If they don’t seem trustworthy, don’t bother.

Related content

Average costs of student bills

Setting up your energy bills

How to set up your water bill