Bills

Whether you have a little money or a lot it’s important to manage your bills.

Organising your bills

Organise your paper work – either manually or digitally

Use technology – For reminders you may use a digital diary, text alerts, an app or online banking

Go paperless – some companies provide discounts for going paperless

Regularly review your bills and switch to cheaper providers when you can

Prioritise dealing with your debts or overdue bills

Paying your regular bills

If you pay some of your bills late you may be asked to pay a penalty. There are quick and easy ways to pay your bills and avoid penalty fees and court costs:

Direct Debit – allows a company to take money from your bank account on an agreed date, and the amount that is taken may be changed by the company but you should be told in advance about this. You may even receive a discount for paying by direct debit.

Standing Order- You tell your bank or building society how much should be paid to another company or organisation on an agreed date, and only you can change your payment amount and date

Managing your bill payments

Set up two bank accounts and allocate one for bill payments. Prepare a budget for your bill payments, and ensure that there is always enough money in allocated bill account to pay all your bills.

Save on essential bills in your budget 

There are some bills which are almost unavoidable, so let’s see how you can manage these bills as well as save some money.

Rent

It’s important to ensure that you always have somewhere for you and your family to live. Keeping your home depends on your rent payments, so rent is a PRIORITY bill which must be included in your budget even when you receive Housing benefit or universal Credit.

Apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for help to pay your rent if you are on benefits or have a low income.

Council Tax

If you are 18 or over you must pay council tax for your home unless you are exempted or live in an exempt property.

Check to confirm whether you are eligible to get help to pay your council tax if you are on a low income or in receipt of benefits. Your council tax bill may also be reduced if you live alone, are disabled, or live in the annexe of a main property.

Apply for any eligible discount or exemption to reduce your council tax bill and pay your instalment on time so that you are not asked to pay all of the outstanding year’s balance.

Gas and Electricity

There are many suppliers of gas and electric.

Search the internet to find and compare prices, then switch to a supplier that maximises your income and minimises your spending.

Save on your energy bills by using your gas and electricity efficiently, and use a payment method that will yield the highest discount.

Try alternative or green energy – for example solar power or green gadgets

Get all the help you are entitled to make paying your bills cheaper and easier.

  • Use energy efficient appliances, including your boiler – check energy ratings for the size that you require.
  • Improve your insulation and draft proofing
  • Insulate your hot water cylinder
  • Avoid leaving appliances on standby when not in use
  • Set your controls so that you only have heating and hot water when you really need it
  • Try a smart meter or monitor your usage
  • -Improve your insulation and draft proofing
  • Insulate your hot water cylinder
  • Avoid leaving appliances on standby when not in use
  • Set your controls so that you only have heating and hot water when you really need it

Try a smart meter or monitor your usage

My home energy switch is a free energy supply service from the National Housing Federation which can help tenants to reduce their energy bills. Simply call 0800 0014 706 or visit their website with your postcode and a current energy bill to hand.

Water

You can save on your water bills by :

  • Installing a water meter
  • Monitoring your usage
  • Adopting water savings habits – turn off taps not in use, wash full loads, shower regularly, bath occasionally, recycle water – water plants with washing up water, heat just what you need.
  • Getting water efficiency appliances and devices- installing low flow taps, flow regulators or aerators, water efficient showerheads or reduced capacity baths help with reducing your water usage.

TV Licence

If you watch live TV or BBC iPlayer you will need a TV Licence which costs £147 per year. Usually, this is an unavoidable bill unless you do not watch live TV or use BBC iPlayer.

Pay at your convenience – Check your budget and arrange to pay when it’s most convenient to you. Your TV Licence may be paid in weekly, monthly or quarterly instalments.

You may also pay in advance for your TV Licence for the following year when you use a TV Licence savings card.

Apply for a refund – If you are away from your term time accommodation, for a specified period of time or if you become eligible for a concession before your TV licence expires. For more details click here

Food and housekeeping

Plan your shopping and only buy deals that you need

Plan your meals

Check your stocks before you shop, especially perishable items

Get your portions right- cook what you need. visit love food hate waste for useful hints and tips

Create left over meals if you get your portion sizes wrong

Freeze leftovers and re-use

Know your food labels

Expiry date / Use by date – avoid using after the date stated, especially diary, meat and eggs

Best before – Use the taste, smell, sight test. You can use your discretion to decide if an item should be used after this date

Display until / Sell by- Suppliers use these dates to decide when an item should be removed from sale

Limit takeaways

Shop where you get the best deals

Regularly review your food and housekeeping bills and make savings whenever you can

Transport

Transport

You may be able to get your travel cheaper if you shop around

Check for eligible discounts, discounted or free travel – children’s oyster cards, young person’s railcards, family travel cards, group travel cards, freedom pass.

Travel when it’s cheaper – off peak times or when you purchase a ticket in advance

Invest in alternative travel methods – bike, motorcycle, car or ride sharing.

Research your travel options on line and pick the deal that right for you.