We all know the feeling of a hefty utility bill through the postbox. A cold snap or the kid’s new console can send you reeling at the end of the month. Prepaid Mastercard provider icount recently conducted a survey into utility bills to find out what people were struggling with.
A third of Brits struggle to pay their council tax every month
Council Tax was the bill causing the most trouble, with 6 million people in arrears. 10% of people owe more than £300 pound to the council and this can be devastating to credit scores. There are even more who find it hard to pay the tax every month. Three quarters of us, or 27 million people, know coming up with the money isn’t always easy. This is because missing Council Tax payments don’t have the same threatening implications as electric or gas. No one wants to imagine the lights going off.
Almost 20% of the nation owe money to their electricity company
Electric bills were the bills with the lowest percentage of people in arrears. 17% of people owe money to their electric company. Power is essential to our modern lifestyles and this bill can often feel the most uncontrollable.
Sam Mond, CEO of icount said “The sheer amount of people in the UK struggling to pay essential utility bills is worrying. These payments contribute to basic day-to-day quality of life such as light and warmth”.
It can come down to whether to heat the home or use the cooker, a decision that one in three people has had to make. As winter comes the heating and the christmas lights come out. This can often be a hard time of year with every utility bill going through the roof, even before the presents! It’s worth baring in mind a few tips to help keep your wallet safe.
Budgeting is key
Being aware of your expenses is key. Use this knowledge to work out a budget and stick to it, preferably keeping some aside for unexpected spends. Look to cut back on unnecessary expenditures, subscription service payments can often build up!
Being proactive with the bills is a skill shown more in women than men, they are more likely to pay their bills on time. If you have a budget then getting the money sent off will be a lot easier. If you are finding it hard, contacting the company or the council can help.
Burying your head in the sand and ignoring the letters won’t help. They are on your side and happy to help set up payment schedules and using a direct debit can save you up to £75 a year!