Save on essential bills
We understand that the current rise in the cost of living has put significant stress on your finances. Find out how to save on essential costs like rent, energy, food and transport.
Save on rent and utilities with university accommodation
The University offers catered and self-catering residential accommodation for more than 9,000 students. This service includes utility bills such as gas, electricity, and internet. Students in University accommodation are also exempt from Council Tax. This might make it easier to manage your budget as many of your expenses are rolled up into one payment.
To protect students from rising bills, in January 2023 we fixed prices for our accommodation for all 2023/24 leases.
University accommodation is limited. If you have children or dependents, please ensure you have confirmed arrangements for accommodation in place before you arrive in Edinburgh.
If you're struggling to find somewhere to live this year, we're here for you with advice and support. Visit our accommodation webpage where we've compiled options, useful information and sources of support.
Save on rent by sharing accommodation
Sharing accommodation with roommates can significantly reduce rent and utility costs. It can even reduce costs such as groceries and entertainment subscriptions if you cook together and share subscriptions.
Flatshare (Edinburgh University Students' Association)
Rent cap for private accommodation
The Scottish Government has implemented several measures to assist with the cost of living.
Emergency legislation has been amended to include a rent cap on private accommodation. Starting from March 31, 2023, landlords can only raise rents by a maximum of 3%, or 6% in exceptional circumstances.
The rent cap does not apply to Purpose Built Student Accommodation because the cost of heating and lighting is included in the accommodation fees.
The same legislation has also banned landlords of Private Rented Tenancies from applying for eviction notices, with the exemption of a few clauses relating to anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
If you have any concerns about your landlord, you can get further advice and support from the following organisations:
Save on food
Here are a few tips for reducing your food budget:
- Make a list before shopping so that you don’t exceed your budget.
- Plan your meals in advance, buy groceries in bulk, and cook at home - dining out and ordering takeaway can quickly add up, impacting your budget significantly.
- Consider substituting meat for lentils or beans for a few meals. They are much cheaper and can be bought in bulk and stored for longer.
- Explore the reduced section at the supermarket. These items can often be frozen if you can’t eat them immediately.
Our café prices are fixed for the full year ahead, and we've introduced cheaper lunch options of soup or a range of filled rolls for £1.50 in all our cafés and catering outlets.
Some of our buildings have areas with microwaves and hot water, which you can use to heat and prepare your own food. Check with your school to find out what facilities are available in the spaces you use.
Apps like 'Too Good To Go' help restaurants and shops reduce food waste. Food is then sold to you at much lower prices.
Cheap and easy meal prep guide for students (Universal Student Living)
Weekly meal plan: 28 cheap and healthy ideas (Save the Student)
Save on transport
Explore cost-effective transportation options like walking, cycling, or public transport instead of using your car or a cab.
Nationwide free bus travel is available if you are under 22 and live in Scotland for 6 months of the year.
We provide a free shuttle bus between the Central and King’s Building campuses.
Save on energy costs
Many electronics and appliances continue to draw power in standby mode even when turned off. Unplugging devices such as chargers, laptops, gaming consoles, and small appliances when unused can save up to £60 per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Use power strips with switches to easily turn off multiple devices at once.
Be efficient with lighting
Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, such as LED bulbs, which consume less electricity and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Additionally, make a habit of turning off lights when leaving a room. Opt for natural light whenever possible.
Optimise heating and cooling to reduce fuel bills
Adjust your thermostat settings to save energy. Set a timer for your heating based on your schedule. Close curtains or blinds during hot summer days to keep your room cooler, and use draft excluders to prevent heat loss during colder months.
Be efficient with your laundry
Wash clothes in cold water instead of hot whenever possible, and use the eco setting on your machine to save water. Air-dry your clothes instead of using a dryer, especially during sunny days. If you use a dryer, clean the lint trap regularly to maintain efficiency.
Optimise your cooking practices to save energy. Use lids while cooking to retain heat and reduce cooking time. Match the pot size to the burner size to prevent heat loss. Consider using small appliances like air fryers, toaster ovens or microwaves for smaller meals instead of using the oven.
Reduce your hot water costs
Limit hot water use to reduce the cost of heating water. Take shorter showers and turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or doing dishes.
How much could you save on energy? (Energy Saving Trust)
Find better deals with utility suppliers
Use comparison sites to find the best deals for energy suppliers, internet providers and mobile phone contracts.
Cheap mobile finder (Money Saving Expert)
Compare broadband deals (Money Saving Expert)
Uswitch energy deals (Uswitch)
Take advantage of the University's warm rooms, cooking and free shower facilities
Our buildings provide access to warm indoor spaces, and many have hot showers which you can use outside the usual 9 to 5. Some of our buildings have areas with microwaves and hot water, which you can use to heat and prepare your own food. Check with your school to find out what facilities are available in the spaces you use.
Save on Council Tax
In Scotland, full-time students are considered exempt from council tax if they meet certain criteria. To be eligible for a council tax exemption as a student, you must:
be enrolled full-time at a recognised educational institution, such as a university or college
be undertaking a course that lasts for at least one academic year or at least 24 weeks out of the year with an average of 21 hours of study per week
Occupy a property as your main residence along with other qualifying individuals who are also students or are disregarded for council tax purposes.
Contact your local council's council tax department if you would like guidance.
Seek financial guidance
Online resources such as personal finance blogs, forums, and educational videos can offer valuable insights and tips on student budgeting.
If you find your financial situation overwhelming or need more guidance, don't hesitate to seek help.
You can contact the Advice Place by calling 0131 374 4581, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org