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 should save you lots of time (and hopefully some cash) in the long run.
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 the amount you pay varies from month to month, use the last three bills to work out an average payment. 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. Paying over the phone or using online banking puts you in control of what and when you pay. But you have to remember to make all your payments on time each month. So it’s worth marking the dates on a calendar or setting a reminder on your phone.
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. Sometimes, for things like car insurance, a one-off payment may mean you pay less overall.
If you want to change when you pay, it usually just involves a call to whoever you are paying the bill to.
Make a note of when your deals end
Once you know this, you can start searching for a better deal before it runs out. Otherwise, you’ll roll onto a standard tariff, which can cost more.
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.
For gas and electricity (and water if you’re on a meter), check if your bill is based on an estimate and if it is take and send in an accurate reading. If you don't do this you could end up overpaying, or not paying enough and being sent a hefty bill further down the line.
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 as soon as possible. They may be able to offer support and help and talk to you about your options.