Bruna's top tips on how to save £400 on bills after leaving halls

Wednesday 16-03-2016 - 14:46

We thought we'd share with you some thoughts from Bruna, student ambassador at The University of Northampton, UK

As term is slowly coming towards the end, Easter holidays approaching, I just wanted to say how shocked I am because my first year at the University passed so quickly. I am sure that most of you feel the same.

Due to the fact that I’m an international student from Croatia, this year was a huge shock for me. Mostly because you suddenly realise that your family and friends are far away from you and that you have to become an adult really quickly. Trying to manage cooking, washing clothes, dishes, cleaning, finances all in the same time as preparing for exams and studying.  I am still trying to get used to the “cold” weather, and drinking tea with milk is not the thing that I enjoy. Apart from those small things, I can’t even describe how happy I am for stepping out from my comfort zone and chasing my dream. I have met some incredible people here, learnt about other cultures. My eyes are wide open and it’s so good to think outside the box and have a wide picture of the world in general. I would recommend this experience to everyone. I am a bit homesick now, so I can’t wait to go back to Croatia during this Easter holidays. I also have to figure out what to buy my youngest sister, who is a real joker in our family, born on April fool’s day.

If you will go somewhere during the spring break, make sure you switch off the lights, sockets and turn off the heating in your rooms. To be honest before I joined Student Switch Off in September last year, I didn’t even realise the importance of being eco-friendly. We are now living in halls, so the University is paying for our bills which are included in our weekly rent, but what will happen next year, when most of us move into a private accommodation?

For example, me and my Croatian friends found an amazing house and met one very friendly landlady so we are very excited to move there next year. However, one crucial thing is that the bills are not included in the rent, which means that we will be responsible for paying them. Thanks to Student Switch Off and a little bit of my journalistic research, I know now how the price of our bills can be easily reduced and I am happy to share it with you guys. If that doesn’t make you more eco-friendly, nothing will!

  • According to the Energy Saving Trust washing clothes at 30°C uses around 40% less electricity over a year than washing at higher temperatures, saving around £13 annually on energy bills. (Of course, for bedding and towels stick to 60°C)
  • We all use technology on everyday basis. Turning them off instead of leaving them on standby can help A LOT in reducing our bill price.  A laser printer for example costs £18.26 a year to leave on standby, while a desktop PC costs £3.65 and a plasma television costs £4.87. Furthermore, wireless router (e.g. BT Hub) will cost you £21.92 and iPad charger: £12.18.So, think twice before leaving them on without any reason.
  • According to, turning your thermostat down by 1°C can save you as much as £60 per year. So put the layer on, not the heating.  Another fun fact is a separate benefit in the UK, called the cold weather payment, is paid in the event of exceptionally cold weather. If the temperature is below zero degrees Celsius in your postcode area for seven days in a row between November and March, you will receive an extra £25. But don’t get too crazy!
  • Putting a lid on your saucepan reduces the amount of energy required to cook your food by up to 90% AND cooks your food quicker. Double-win! Use the kettle to boil water for cooking, instead of heating a pan on the stove. It’s quicker and uses less energy (only boil as much as you need, though!). The cost of cooking accounts for about 4% of the average gas and electricity bill. You do the maths.
  • According to Energy Saving Trust, lighting accounts for 19% of the average household’s electricity bill. Although energy-saving bulbs are more expensive than the normal ones, they will last you ten times longer and can knock £55 a year off your bills (they are using 80% less energy!)!
  • Fancy having a bath every single day? Well, running a bath uses up to 100 litres of water. Showering instead uses much less, rarely more than 35 litres, and saves £18 a year. So, use the shower instead! (
  • And finally, Double-glazing your windows can save you up to £165 a year. Our house already has it, so check with your landlord. But, the cost for it is pretty expensive. Prices vary wildly between providers. Expect to pay from £350 for each small bedroom window, ranging into the thousands to fit more than one room. Make sure to get at least three quotes from providers and compare them. However, there is a much cheaper alternative: a cling film. This creates a DIY double glazing effect by trapping the hot air in. Go to your DIY store and ask for ‘double-glazing film’ or “stretch wrap.” Six square metres of Stormguard double-glazing film costs £7.19 from Homebase and is fixed to the window using a hairdryer. (

Hope that these tips were helpful and you’re welcome! Good luck and remember to be eco-friendly :)

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