If you’re looking to move into your first home, then you may be worried about the costs. Take a look at this list of house bills you can expect and the average cost for UK households.
I hate to admit it, but it’s quite a few years ago that I moved out of my parent’s house. Actually, if it wasn’t for my dad pushing and my girlfriend (now wife) pulling, I would still be there.
Apart from doing my own washing, one of the biggest shocks was the sheer number of bills, something I had never considered when living with my folks. So below, I have included a handy list of costs to think about when you move into your new home.
Major household bills in the UK
- Council Tax
- Electricity and Gas
- Home insurance
- TV licence
- TV subscription
- Home insurance
But how much is the above likely to cost you?
This is by far the most important bill to pay, as you will always need a roof over your head. It is also the most expensive monthly cost too. How much you have to pay varies greatly and depends on many factors, although the location and size of the home have the biggest impact.
For example, a 1 bed flat in London, will be of a similar price to a 3 bedroom house in other parts of the country.
Average mortgage payments are around £669 whilst average rent costs £959. Ok, so a mortgage sounds like a much cheaper option, but remember, this takes into account people that are near the end of their mortgage and who could be paying under £100 per month.
Shamefully, this is a bill I had never heard of until I moved into my new home. Council Tax is paid to your local authority and spent on services such as the police force, social care, housing and education. You can pay over 10 or 12 months, depending on your preference.
How much you pay depends on 2 factors – the size of your home and the rate set by your council. Council Tax bands range from A – H, with A being the cheapest. You can visit the government website to check your property’s Council Tax band.
There are discounts available depending on your circumstances. For example, single occupants have a 25% reduction and full-time students are exempt. You may also be eligible for a discount if you are on a low income. Again, you can visit the government website to see if you qualify for a Council Tax discount.
Council Tax is another important bill to pay. If you miss a month’s payment, you may be required to pay for the full year immediately. And failure to pay that can lead to court action, which may result in bailiffs coming to your house to remove goods and in extreme circumstances, could end in jail.
The average cost for a Band D property is £1,671 or £139.25 per month.
Electricity and gas
This will usually be your 3rd biggest bill to consider, but unlike the above two, you can actually do something about these costs.
How much you will actually pay, again depends on a lot of different factors. Gas is generally cheaper to use when heating your home, so if your new house has some kind of electric heating system, your energy bills will probably be higher.
The energy efficiency of your home is also something not to be ignored. All homes sold must provide an energy performance certificate, which will tell you how energy efficient the house is and its potential. The better the rating, the cheaper it is to run.
There are plenty of changes you make that will improve the efficiency of your home, some inexpensive, some far more costly. For example, you can
- Install a new energy efficient boiler
- Switch to Led lighting
- Improve the insulation
- Install a smart thermostat
- Have solar panels installed
How you actually pay for your energy depends on the home’s set-up. Some homes have pre-payment meters, which means you have to top them up in advance. These tend to be more expensive than standard meters and I would avoid them if you can. If your home does have a pre-payment meter, you can request your energy company to switch it.
If you have a standard meter, you can either pay quarterly when you receive a bill, or you can set-up a monthly direct debit. Energy companies tend to offer better deals for direct debit customers, although the downside is you could end up with the energy company owing you money by the end of the year, or you owing them.
If you decide to pay monthly, and this is your first home, the energy company will estimate your annual usage. I would then suggest providing regular meter readings every month so you can keep a closer eye on your bills.
One company you should take a look at is Octopus Energy. They offer very competitive prices and will give you £50 credit for using a referral code when you join.
The average monthly energy bill in the UK currently stands at £104.50 per month.
When I bought my first house, each home had a set annual cost for water (also known as a rateable value). But over the last 15 years or so, a large number of homes have had water meters installed. That means that you only pay for what you use.
Unlike electricity and gas, you can’t choose who provides your water, it’s determined by your location. And where you’re situated also may be the difference between one and two bills. In some areas, you will receive one bill, covering the supply and disposal of your wastewater, whilst in other areas these bills are separate.
Most water companies will allow you to either pay a monthly direct debit or you can pay twice per year when you receive a bill.
According to Water UK, the average annual bill for water and sewerage is £396.60 or £33.05 per month.
It’s always important to pay off all your bills but remember that water to your home is a basic right and it cannot be shut-off.
If you find that your water bill is too high, there are plenty of ways to cut your water usage.
Home insurance is broken into two sections – buildings and contents.
Buildings insurance covers the actual structure of your house. So if there should be major damage to your house or it should burn down, you’ll receive money to repair or rebuild.
If you rent your home, this isn’t something you need to worry about. However, if you own the house, then it is often a requirement of the mortgage company for you to have this cover. Even if it isn’t, it’s something you really should have.
Contents insurance covers your belongings. So if something should happen to your goods through a disaster such as a fire or through theft, you can receive replacements.
Again, costs vary greatly depending on the insurance company, previous claims, where you live and numerous other reasons.
It is possible to lower costs. For example, you can remove accidental cover. Without this, if you put your foot through the TV, or drill through a pipe, you can’t put in a claim.
You can also increase the amount of excess you pay. The excess is a certain figure that you agree to contribute every time you make a claim. This reduces the risk to the insurance company that you’re going to put in multiple claims and reduces their costs too.
The average annual cost for combined insurance costs £144.70 or £12.09 per month.
This is a bill that’s worth keeping an eye on as it’s easy to get carried away. Supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl are great value, but tend to have limited choice against the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco. But your decision of where to shop may be limited depending on how close the stores are to you.
Take a list when you do your weekly shop and try not to get sucked into buying extra items you don’t need. There are receipt apps available that will either earn you cashback or give you free items.
Including takeaways and eating out, the average couple spends £334 on food every month.
So, the above five bills are essential and need to be prioritised. The rest on this list, although important, can be left if money is very tight.
As technology develops, having home phone line and broadband isn’t as essential as it was once. If your phone has a 5G connection with a generous data limit, then that might be sufficient enough.
For most of us though, having broadband at home is standard. Obviously, the faster package you want, the more it costs.
For a basic fibre package and line rental, expect to pay around £25 per month. Main providers such as Sky and BT will be the most expensive. You will also pay more if you opt for a package that allows free calls, but with most of us having that already with mobile phones, it’s something I avoid.
Don’t forget to use a cashback site when you join as you can earn anything between £50 and £150 back.
This is one of those non-essential/essential bills. No, you don’t have to have it, but for most of us, we do actually need it. Although the money goes to the BBC, if you watch any kind of live broadcast, you will need a licence.
You can apply for a TV licence here and can either pay for the year or pay monthly. Currently, it costs £157.50 or £13.13 per month.
The last few years have seen a big change in TV watching. There are plenty of channels available on Freeview, but if you don’t fancy that, there are a variety of subscription services on offer, such as:
- Amazon Video
- Disney Plus
Sky offers the best range of content but is by far the most expensive. If you choose Sky, there are ways to get 50% off your bill.
Otherwise, you can get a subscription to Netflix and Disney for just £5.99 per month each or £11.98 in total. Don’t forget that if you have Amazon Prime, Video is included in your subscription.
You can see a complete list of cheaper alternatives to Sky.
So the bills above relate to your home, but don’t forget that depending on your circumstances, there are plenty of other ways to see your pay cheque disappear before your eyes. These can include:
- Mobile phone
- Gym membership
- Car ownership
- Travel costs
- Health and beauty
- Life insurance
- Savings (always best to put some money away)
What’s the average household bills cost?
So, taking into account all the above figures, expect to pay around £622.89 per month, plus either rent or mortgage.
That’s £1,581.89 per month for renters or £1,291.89 for mortgage payers.