Things to know before you move in: tips from your Student Living Officer!

POV: You’re getting ready to move to Exeter! It’s an exciting but also nervous time, but don’t worry - we’ve got some great tips to help you settle in.

If you’re moving into a private student house, we’ve got you covered too with advice on how to tackle bills, parking permits and more.


It may seem intimidating moving into halls of residence, but here are some tips and tricks from current students to help your transition go as smoothly as possible.

  • It’s worth making friends with your flat! Although it’s exciting to go out and try everything you can on campus, it’s worth making the effort to be friendly to your neighbours. You will probably be seeing a lot of them throughout the year!
  • If you are based on Streatham Campus, learn the route from the Forum (the central building on campus) back to your room on the first day. Then if you get lost, you’ll always be able to navigate yourself back eventually. Same goes for the Quad on our St Luke’s campus!
  • If you are on a group chat with people from your flat- communicate about what you are bringing! You do not need or want 6 toastie makers.
  • Don’t be afraid to suggest a night in during welcome week. It will let you get to know your flatmates a bit better, and going out every night will definitely make you ill and could leave a big dentin your budget.
  • If you want to shop efficiently, find a few people who want to walk to a bigger supermarket and split a taxi back once a week. Splitting the cost will save you lots on your food shop.
  • Lots of supermarkets do free delivery if your shop costs over a certain amount- buddy up!
  • Keep kitchen items you care about separate and have a designated ‘communal’ cupboard of equipment that you don’t mind sharing.
  • If you are living near Cornwall House- there are washing machines hidden away on the first floor. It takes everyone a while to realise but they are very useful!
  • Cooking for multiple people is often much cheaper when you split the cost- plus it is much more fun! Try and learn new recipes from as many people as possible.
  • Take your bins out as often as possible, and definitely have a rota. They will start to smell, and nobody ever wants to do it!
  • Buy a LOT of tea-towels and wash them as often as possible.
  • If you are worried about finances, try and set a budget before you move and take look at the university bursaries. Have a look at our advice page for how to set a budget!

If you are struggling in your first week- you are not alone. Almost everyone feels lonely, overwhelmed and exhausted at the beginning of uni, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, or to our Wellbeing and Advice services.


You managed to find a house! Congratulations. Moving out of halls is always fun, but make sure to:

  • Take pictures of everything in your house when you move in. Anything broken, the water and energy meters, marks on the wall left from previous tenants etc.- you never know when they will come in useful.
  • Try and establish a good relationship with your landlord.
  • Make sure you know if you have to sort out your own bills. It’s sometimes easiest to split these up: one person sorts water, one sorts Wi-Fi, etc (see below for more explanation).
  • Check the inventory for what your house already has in it (plates, glasses, lamps etc.) so you don’t bring too much with you!
  • Make sure you establish who in your house wants to bring a car with them. Generally, in Exeter, each house has 2 permits available and they cost £35 per year. You can register for a permit on the Devon County council website- you will need proof of address and insurance to apply.

Bills Explained

Sorting out your own bills can be confusing. Here is a quick guide on what you need to sort out, how much it usually costs and how to go about doing it. It’s best to start thinking about this before September, so it’s all ready for when you move in.

Bills are usually split into ENERGY (GAS/ELECTRIC), WATER,WIFI, TV LICENSE and PARKING PERMITS. It’s worth shopping around a bit, but you can generally expect to pay an extra 15-20 pppw on bills.

You can choose to sort these separately, or you can get them as a bundle- but be careful to avoid the specific student bill-splitting companies. They will overcharge you, and if you want to save money it will always be cheaper to sort them yourself.

For energy and water, check if your house has meters. If you do, you will have to take readings once a month and send them to your provider. Make sure you take pictures right at the start of the year so you are not paying for energy or water you haven’t used.


Specific Bills Advice

Energy (Gas and Electric): Your energy will be the most expensive bill and is sometimes difficult to sort out. Lots of students use Octopus Energy, OVO Energy and British Gas, so it’s worth asking the landlord if they know which energy provider the previous tenants used.

Water: this will all be done with South-West Water. Ask if you have a water meter, as this can save you some money because they won’t charge you just a flat rate. Then go onto SW Water and register that you are moving in.

Wi-Fi: lots of contracts are 18 months, which are not great for student houses. It’s worth narrowing your search to flexible monthly or 12-monthcontract. Have a look at Virgin Media, NOW broadband, BT and PlusNet. Also, if you have a phone contract that is from a company that also provides broadband, check their website to see if you get a discount!

TV: this is nice and easy if you don’t want to watch TV or use any streaming services: simply go online to TV Licensing and declare that you don’t need one. If you watch TV, it will be £159 per year for your whole household.

Hopefully this has helped with some of the things to know before moving into your house. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact your Student Living Officer (that’s me!), or the Guild Advice team.

Pip Shaw

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