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5 things to check before the winter break

With all the festivities and assignments happening right now, December is a really busy time in the academic calendar but there are some practical things to do now that will save you time and money in the new year.

cost of livingwinter signposting

We know that the Cost of Living crisis is hitting everyone right now so thought we’d gather a few small things you can do now to help out your future self. With energy bills set to rise and a cold winter forcing into layers of clothes, any small amount of savings you can make right now will be worth it.

1.    Send your meter readings to your energy company.

This will help your energy company know exactly how much energy you have used up to the point of submitting the readings. If rates rise in January, you will only pay those rates on energy used after you submitted your meter readings.

If your bills are included in your rent, take photos of your meter readings and keep them safe. You might want to ask your landlord if meter readings would be useful for them – this really depends on your relationship with them…

If you use a prepayment meter that uses a card, top up the card before you leave for winter. You don’t want to return in January to a defrosted freezer and resetting the clocks on the microwave and the oven.

You may also be eligible for a £400 discount on your energy bills from October to February. If you are on a card prepayment meter, you will need to redeem the vouchers, if you pay by direct debit, the discount will be automatically applied. Visit the Energy Bills Support Scheme for more information.

2.    Book your coach or train tickets as soon as possible.

The closer you get to your travelling dates, the more expensive your prices will be so book them now for cheaper rates. You can also get railcards to make train travel cheaper.

Lots of booking platforms also book split tickets on the trains to help you save money. This can give you a significant discount but you must make sure that your journey includes the stations where the journey is split.

3.    Before you leave, turn off and check all plugs and taps and close all the windows.

Not only will turning off taps and plugs help to save money, they will also prevent any accidents happening while you’re away. South West Water are also giving away free products to help you save water (and money!).

Closing windows will keep the house warmer and deter possibilities of burglars entering your home.

4.    Check your bank account and make a budget.

If not now, when? If not you, who? Rip off the plaster and check how much is in your account so that you know where you’ll be starting from when you get back in January. Making a budget, even a rough one in the notes app on your phone, will help you have a better understanding of what you can do while you’re away from uni and jog your memory of what you need to be saving for on your return.

Our SU Advice team can help you with budgeting, applications to the hardship fund and any other money questions.

A bonus activity is to check key dates for when your loan should be paid and when you will need to pay your January rent. Knowledge is power!

5.    Get a Totum card for extra discounts!

You can buy a Totum card for discounts, including discounts in the campus shop and lots of online shops. There are also loads of platforms offering student discounts so spend 10 minutes searching on the internet and you’ll find some top deals.

Have a fantastic break, be sure to relax and take care of your wellbeing. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

Follow The SU and your SU Presidents on Instagram to keep up to date on everything happening at your students’ union in the new year!



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Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Penryn Campus
Penryn, Cornwall
TR10 9FE

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Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) registered in England and Wales, charity number 1193045