7 steps to help you get your bills under control

Follow these simple steps to help you keep on top of your bills. By doing the hard work now, you might save some time and money in the long run.

Set aside some time

Getting your bills under control doesn’t have to be time consuming and stressful, but it’s not something you can whizz through in five minutes either. Set aside a few hours, without any distractions, so you can really get to grips with everything. It could save you time and hopefully some cash.

Write a (detailed) list of all your bills

Make a list of all your bills, including who you need to pay, how much and when. Include everything, from mortgage or rent to utilities, council tax, insurances etc. If your payments are different each month, use the last three bills to work out the average. You can also add up your total outgoings for the month and see what you need to be setting aside for bills. Once you’re done you should have a detailed picture of who you need to be paying and how much.

Set up your payments in a way that works for you

Direct debit is usually the easiest way to pay. You can set up a payment that leaves your account at the same time every month. Some companies offer discounts for customers who pay this way. Or you may want to stay in control and pay by phone or use Online Banking. This means that is down to you to remember to make all your payments on time. Try setting a reminder on your phone or adding the payment deadlines to your calendar to help you. 

Think about when you pay

Maybe you’d prefer all your bills to come out on payday, so you know what’s left in your account is yours to spend. If you get paid weekly, you might be best spreading payments out across the month so you aren’t left short.

For some bills, you can even look into paying once a year. It means a larger amount leaving your bank account in one go, but then you don't have to budget for the extra cost every month. For things like car insurance, a one-off payment may cost you less overall.

If you want to change when you pay, just speak to whoever you are paying and they will arrange it.

Keep an eye on your bills

You may have taken the first steps to getting your bills under control, but it’s something you need to keep an eye on.

Check your gas, electricity (and water if you have a meter) to see if they are estimated bills. If yes, take an accurate meter reading and send it in. Otherwise, you might be overpaying or worse, underpaying and then facing a larger bill later.

Tackle any problems straight away

If you're struggling to pay your bills, the best thing you can do is speak to the company you owe. They may be able to offer support and help talk to you about your options.

Make a note of when your deals end

Once you know this, you can start searching for a better deal before it runs out. When your deal ends, you’ll probably be moved to a standard tariff which could be more expensive.

You can use price comparison websites to get quotes from a variety of different companies at the same time. This can help you to compare deals. When using comparison websites, remember to watch out for the following:

  • Don’t just use one comparison website. Each site will have different companies so check a few.
  • Make sure the product meets your needs.
  • First isn’t always best. Sometimes the first provider may be one that has paid to be at the top of the list.
  • It’s a good idea to use websites accredited by Ofcom.
  • Once you’ve got a price from the comparisons website, don’t forget to call your current provider directly and try negotiate a better deal with them.