Knowing what bills you need to budget for is a key part of managing your household finances. And, while it can feel like you receive a different one every day, there are seven main household bills you need to consider.
While we all have to pay for our electricity, council tax, TV license and so on, there are some handy hints and tips which can help you cut down your bills. Knowing what affects your bills – such as your location, or how you pay – can also help you save money and make sure you aren’t paying more than you need to.
|Average cost of each of these bills per year|
|Council tax||£1,484 in England (2)|
|Water||£385 in England and Wales (3)|
|Phone||£439.08 for mobile (5)|
What affects your household bills?
The size of your bills comes down to a variety of different factors. These can include:
While your address won't matter for most of your bills, it will affect your council tax. Set by your local authority, the highest band D rate - £1,756 for 2015/16 - goes to the residents of Weymouth & Portland. Move to London for a more affordable council tax bill, with a Band D property in Westminster paying just £674.
Unless you have a meter fitted, it's a similar story for your water. This is based on the rateable value of your property, which was set sometime between 1973 and 1990.
Size of your home
How big your home is will also affect what you pay. As well as being more costly to heat and light, a four bed detached home is also likely to fall into a higher council tax band and receive a larger water bill than a one bed flat.
What you get up to in your home will influence the size of your bills too. As examples, if you work from home, you'll push up your gas and electricity bills; stream TV and videos and you'll crank up your broadband requirements; or have a large family - and an even larger pile of laundry - and your water meter could go into overdrive.
Living alone can shrink your bills. As well as less usage on your utilities, many local authorities will give you a 25 per cent discount on your council tax if you live by yourself or with children under the age of 18.
How you pay
The way you pay will also affect your bills. Many providers will give you a discount if you use a direct debit. For some, such as the line rental on your telephone bill, you might also be able to get a discount if you pay upfront.
Sam Barrett is an award-winning freelance personal finance journalist covering everything from the cost of having a baby to pension options at retirement. Her work regularly appears in a variety of consumer and trade publications including Money Observer and Moneywise.