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Cost of Living: Housing and Bills

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SU services, resources and tips

Rent is getting more and more expensive, but we've put together our Top 10 tips for Cheaper Rent to help make sure you get the best deal.

Whilst many students are choosing to live in properties with energy bills included, according to the National Student Accommodation Survey 2022, at least 40% of students are required to pay for energy bills each month in addition to their up-front rent. We’ve put together our Top Tips for Reducing Energy Bills.

House hunting can be tough! There's a lot to think about and it can all get a bit too much at times, so we've put together a list of Our Top 10 House Hunting Tips to consider when looking for your next student house.

Wherever you can, try and charge your devices anywhere but at home. Whether it’s the library, on the train or at the pub. It might not save a fortune, but everything adds up and this is an easy way of saving a bit of cash.

In February, we opened Hideout at the HUBS, offering students a relaxed and inviting space to unwind, study, and socialise, as well as facilities to charge your phones, tablets and laptops. There is also free tea, coffee, and hot water, along with microwaves to heat your own food.

SHU services and resources

Last year the University launched the House Hunting Grant, giving international students travelling to the UK with dependents the opportunity to access a one-off payment to help support them in finding suitable housing. The House Hunting Grant has just reopened applications, and successful applicants will recieve a one-off payment of £400. Applications are open now, and you can find application guidance on the HHG web page.

SHU Accommodation offers a range of housing to suit all budgets. Whilst you might be bombarded with adverts for top-of-the-range budget busting pads, it’s important to know that whilst appealing, they’re not always affordable or even the best fit for everyone, and there are always plenty of options available.

External services and products

If your bills are included in the cost of your accommodation, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to influence the cost of your energy bills. If your accommodation doesn’t include bills however, it’s worth comparing suppliers through comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket, UswitchGoCompare and ComparetheMarket. The majority of suppliers are likely to be charging around the same amount, but it’s always worth checking.

Whether you’re already struggling to pay your household bills or are concerned about your energy costs in general, Citizens Advice offers loads of free information on additional support that may be available to you.

Whilst the cost of pretty much everything is rising, mobile pone bills seem to be the one thing that are actually going down. Phone networks are under more and more pressure to offer cheaper deals to entice new customers, and whilst contracts with handsets can still be expensive, there are some great monthly rolling sim only deals around. VOXI are currently offering 30GB data and unlimited social media for £15 a month, SMARTY offer 32GB for £8, and Lebara currently offer 15GB for £6.95 a month, and just £2.78 for the first 4 months when you buy through Uswitch! It’s always worth remembering as well that if you choose a contract where you’re tied in for a period of time (usually 12 of 24 months), you won’t be able to shop around for better deals until your contract is up.

Ever wondered whether it’s cheaper to run a gas or electric oven? Or how about an electric blanket for 3 hours versus turning the heating on for 30 minutes? GoCompare have created a really useful interactive Energy Cost Calculator tool to find out how much something costs to run.

Government & Local Council support

The Government has created an Energy Saving Resource full of helpful hints and tips to help lower your household costs. They focus on reducing energy usage in small, easy to manage steps, taking just 30 seconds each to do.

Households where everyone’s a full-time student do not have to pay Council Tax. If you do get a bill, you can apply for an exemption. You’ll need to provide a ‘Council Tax Student Certificate’, which you can download from My Student Record. If there’s someone in your household who isn’t a full time student however, you will still receive a council tax bill but will be able to apply for a discount.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain designed to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions, supporting energy efficiency measures in the home of those considered to be in fuel poverty. If you’re a homeowner or tenant you can find out more in the homeowners and tenants section and find out if you're eligible for the scheme.

Sheffield City Council have their own dedicated Cost of Living website which has lots of information on a range of support available for those living in the City. Resources and saupport on their site include the Local Assistance SchemeCouncil Tax Hardship Scheme and alternative funding for energy bills, to name just a few.

Information on this page out of date or something else wrong? Let us know by emailing studentrights@shu.ac.uk.