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Guides | Blogs

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How to save on energy and bills as a student?

How to save on energy bills as a student   Managing your bills as a student can be a hassle, but once you now know how to do it right, you will be at ease. Being aware of what´s on the energy supplier market can help you choose the right tariff for your pocket. Moreover, it can save you from overpaying. Based on a study by the National Audit Office, households are overpaying more than £800 million on energy bills. Many  consumers are not aware of the benefits of switching energy suppliers, but it can really make a difference in your bank account. In fact, it can save you up to £400 a year.   What is the average energy bill in the UK? It is important to know what the average bill of a household in the UK is so that you can have a benchmark and try to get your bills below it. The average electricity consumption is around 2,900 kWh per year, which adds up to around £526.23 for one household. At the same time, the average annual gas bill is around £602.   How to lower your energy bills? Energy bills can be a big portion of your monthly liabilities and that is why you need to be aware of the energy provider and tariff you sign up for. Thankfully, there are many suppliers and different tariffs that you can choose from and get a better deal. The best way to approach this is to compare energy providers and find the tariff that suits your needs and your pocket. After that you can switch your energy supplier for a better one and avoid overpaying.   Switching off any devices that are left on standby mode, can also save energy and therefore lower your bills. In fact, devices on standby can use up to 80% as much energy as when you use them. Another thing you should keep in mind is the heating you use during the cold months. Heating accounts for 40% of the monthly bills. Therefore, to save some money you can reduce your thermostat usage and rely on cosy clothes instead.   Know how much energy you are using If you want to go the extra mile and be able to track your real energy usage and make sure you are not overpaying, you can install a smart meter. Your energy consumption is directly sent to your supplier. This means you will never have to worry about inaccurately calculated energy bills.

By by Chloe Davis on 26/09/2021


My Experience with Clearing

For my A-Levels I did Maths, Chemistry and Biology. You’re thinking the same thing as me – why on earth would someone want to put themselves through that (I still don’t know to this day)!  I originally wanted to do Medicine but changed my mind to study Natural Science before applying to university. Once I started studying for my A-Levels it hit me that I didn’t enjoy science as much as I used to, and I called the Universities I applied to and had my offers changed to Economics. It’ll make you laugh to know that I now study Accounting and Finance. So let me tell you the story of how all of this happened…   Firstly, I want to say that the A-Levels that I did were the hardest exams I’ve ever done. The pressure on you is immense but trust me there is light on the other side! When I applied for university, I had every confidence in the world I would get to my top choices. I applied for Economics at Bath (firm) and Nottingham (insurance) which required A*AA and AAA respectively. My parents were telling me that I needed to have a backup plan but foolishly I didn’t listen.     I could barely sleep the night before results day, anticipating what was to be but that morning I woke up and was in for a shock. At around 7am we were preparing to go to my secondary school to pick up the results when I received and email from UCAS informing me that I hadn’t got into either of my selected universities. My heart sank. The first response from my parents was “what happens now”? We got to school as quickly as we could, and I opened my results to find I got BBB. Looking back on it, I’m incredibly proud of my grades but 18-year-old James didn’t feel that way one bit. I hadn’t expected to go through clearing and didn’t even know where to start but my teachers were fantastic. They took me to a desk with a computer, informed me of how to start and off I went. I called about 25 universities that day and was often met with straight no’s once I got through their phone queue. I recall one lady even chuckling when I told her my grades. When I got through to the University of Surrey, I was met by a warm, reassuring voice that offered me a place studying Accounting and Finance. I had a couple of offers from different Universities with limited time to decide so I prioritised which Universities I’d most like to visit and booked myself in to visit the university. I saw two universities the day after and was left feeing unsure but the minute I drove into the Surrey campus I knew it was the one for me.     I didn’t really know how to prepare for university, so I just threw myself in headfirst. I got involved in as many clubs and societies as I could, met loads of great people and let’s not forget had a very good time going out! After Christmas of my first year, I started to explore the different ways I could make money opposed to working mind-numbing shifts at Tesco’s. That was the start of my entrepreneurial journey. I started drop-shipping (importing goods from other countries in bulk and selling them on an e-commerce store) which gave me lots of experience in how to set-up a website, inventory management and was using things I’d learnt from my degree that week to implement into the business. As we approached exams and the end of first year, I started to wind it back as I was focusing on my studies and since COVID hit I never started it again.     However, that was just the beginning. Me and Owen, a friend from secondary school (who went to Bath to study Economics), met over summer to discuss the idea of making a mobile app. We always shared the desire to own our own business and a love of technology. We explored a few ideas but something that really resonated with us was the lack of compatible matches within first year student accommodation. We both had similar experiences in our first year at university, living with people completely unlike ourselves. Then our business was born (originally called Student RNTL – what a bad name right!). Here’s the logo:   It took us a while to get going as two 19-year-olds had no idea where to start and how to make an app. I emailed my personal tutor, and she loved the idea but as an accountant she didn’t know how much help she could be. So, she pointed me in the direction of Surrey Student Enterprise. I first met with Kat, the director, in October of 2019 and quickly started becoming involved with everything they had to offer. In reading week after our end of semester exam I stayed at university and attended a 3-day bootcamp regarding everything related to starting your own business. That was the start of what was to come. Our business, Roome, is the first platform of its kind. Using a machine learning algorithm, we match likeminded students with each other and their perfect student home. We launched our app in February exclusively to the University of Surrey as a test and now have over 1,000 users. We have matched over 150 students to a group of students and a room in a property that’s perfect for them! Not only do we help students, but we also massively help landlords and letting agents. With our student exclusive platform, they have access to a market unlike any other app where the only people viewing their properties are students. Check out our website at www.roome-uni.co.uk to see what we’ve come up with!     Since that bootcamp, I have won: over £7,000 from the University to help support my business, multiple awards recognising myself and the business, been selected to represent the University of Surrey in national and global competitions, entered into the SETSquared Incubator (the biggest incubator in Europe), got free office space for a year, forged partnerships with the Students Union and University of Surrey Lettings, become the first student in the UK to do their placement year for their own business, and most importantly launched a successful app to help thousands of students, landlords and letting agents. I’m just at the start of my journey but it wouldn’t have been possible without support from the University of Surrey.  

By James Buck


Conditional vs Unconditional University Offers

You may have already received an offer, or be curious about as and when you get that email asking you to log into UCAS to see your offer/offers, don’t panic if you are yet to hear back!   The university may provide you with one of two offers:   Conditional Offer – you have been given an offer to go to that university, but it is subject to you meeting the requirements to take the place Unconditional Offer – you have been given an offer, you will not need to meet the original grade requirements for you’re A levels, but there may be a few requirements you still need to meet.   Universities will let you know whether you have received a conditional or unconditional offer by these dates.   20 May 2021 – if you sent your application by 29 January 2021 13 July 2021 – if you sent your application by 30 June 2021 20 October 2021 – this is the final deadline for unis to make decisions on applications to courses starting in 2021   If you don’t hear from the university by these dates, sadly, you have not been given an offer for a place on that course, however if you had your heart set on that university you may still get a place through clearing.   Some things you may start wanting to consider before you go to university:   Accommodation   Most students stay in university provided halls for their first year at university. Some unis may let you select your room so you can coordinate with friends going to the same university, and others it may be completely random, so may be by chance whether you get along with your flat mates.   If you’d like to have more choice and go straight into private student accommodation, check out our guide on how to use Roome and how it can help you here, find full student properties, single rooms posted by students, and likeminded individuals to enjoy your living experience even more.   If you choose to stay in halls of residence for your first year, Roome remains the best platform for you to network and find likeminded students to live with to reduce your stress when planning your accommodation for your second year.   Budget   Check out our other blog on student finance here, which covers your tuition fee loan and maintenance loan. Try work out a general weekly budget that you can follow when you get to university, so you don’t go spending all your money in your first few weeks.   It can be a big deal for you, if you’re moving away from home for the first time, but it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll make. If you’re struggling with being homesick in the first few weeks, call your parents and friends from home, keep the contact up, and if you need to, go home for a weekend until you feel comfortable staying at university full time. You will meet lifelong friends, mature and become responsible, and get a degree to benefit your future.   I hope this blog has helped to inform you of the types of offers you may receive, we wish you the best of luck, and hope to see you on Roome in the near future.

By Roome on 02/05/2021


'Just One Cider' - If you don't drink alcohol, you're not alone...

They say pressure creates diamonds, but I’ve always felt peer pressure creates hermits. I’m not much of a drinker. Why? I’m not really sure, it’s not like I’ve never had a night out, it’s just not something I do often. It shouldn’t matter, but it does. Being a uni student who doesn’t drink is hard- especially when all your friends do. It’s not that I feel judged, but I feel like an outsider. And sometimes - it sucks.   Why does it suck? Because I still want to hang out with my friends, go out clubbing, and have a good time. I don’t mind dancing sober, but when you’re the sober one you’re suddenly also the responsible one. It’s hard to let loose when you feel at any moment you could be holding someone’s hair back over a toilet. Even though no one has ever told me I am obligated to do anything, I’d be a crappy friend if I didn’t. And that’s just the truth.     It also sucks because people ask me why. Especially if they don’t know me well. This. Always. Happens. And like I said earlier, I’m not really sure, but I have a feeling it has something to do with a) My dad being a borderline alcoholic growing up, to the point where I didn’t live with him for two years, b) my perfectionistic tendencies telling me at 6am I have to start work tomorrow, or c) the fact that the average glass of wine has 175 calories.   It’s a bit heavy for a night out.       I also get the phrase ‘just have one’ all the time. As if it’s that easy. I don’t know about you but as soon as I have one glass, I want another, and after I have two- well let’s just say bank accounts go downhill from there.   So most nights, I stay home. And in the pandemic, I’ve stayed in my room. I don’t feel judged for not drinking, that’s not the right word. I feel left out. Left out because I want to go out with my friends, but it’s just not fun if you’re the only one who’s sober.    

By Laura Gainor 07/04/2021


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