Information » Housing » Living In and Maintaining Your Home » Bills
Moving into a new house is a big financial commitment. As well as paying your rent or mortgage, you need to consider the bills you will need to pay - and plan for them.
Whether you are renting or own your house, you will have to pay bills for:
You may also have to pay:
- Council tax
- Telephone or Internet bills
- TV licence
When you move in, it is important that you take readings from the gas and electricity boxes for your records and contact all your energy suppliers to inform them you have moved in and provide them with your details. This will ensure you don't get charged for someone else's bills.
- It is also worth asking the suppliers for an estimate of what your bill will be each month, each quarter or each year (depending on how you pay) so you can allow for the expense in your budget
- It is worth considering monthly direct debits or standing orders to pay your bills. That way you know exactly how much money you will have every month and don’t get any nasty surprises with quarterly bills arriving every three months
- If you are living with someone, make sure all of your names are on the bills. This will ensure you have joint responsibility for paying them
- Depending on your circumstances, you may also have to pay council tax. How much you pay depends on where you live and how much you earn. This is usually charged monthly so find out in advance what the cost will be
- If you have a telephone line, Internet access or a TV, there will be additional bills to pay. Telephone and Internet can be bought together for a monthly lump sum or you can pay for them individually on a pay-as-you-go basis
- If you own a TV, you must buy a TV licence. You can pick up an application form at the Post Office or complete your details online. The payments can be spread over a year or paid in one lump sum, but failure to have one could result in a very big fine
- However if you don’t own a TV and only watch catch-up TV on your computer or laptop then you don’t need one. You need to inform them of your situation, which can either by done by post or by completing your details online
Lowering your energy bills
If you find your energy (gas, electricity and water) bills are too high, there are ways to reduce your bills by saving energy:
- Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to prevent draughts and wasted heat
- Take a shower instead of a bath to save water
- Always switch off lights when you leave a room
- Close your curtains at dusk to keep heat in the room
- Make sure your taps are closed properly. Dripping taps can really increase the water bill
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
- Do not leave electrical appliances on 'stand-by' when not in use. Turn them off
- Replace light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs
- Do not fill your kettle to the maximum each time you make a cup of tea. Fill it with just enough water needed
- Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running effectively and cheaply
- Switch to a cheaper gas or electricity provider
These measures will not only save you money, they will also help save the environment.
When choosing or switching energy or utility providers, shop around to find the best deal, but be sure to check the small print before you sign anything!
If you are struggling to pay your bills, don't panic. Take advice from our Debt section.