Which bills should I pay first?

posted by in Budgeting

Not sure what bills are a priority? Our handy infographic will help!

We’ve noticed a worrying trend of people coming to us for help with arrears on household bills. There has been a dramatic rise in people contact us for help with arrears on rent, council tax, gas, electric and water bills.

We often speak to people who’ve fallen behind on these sorts of bills but continue to pay off their credit card debt. If you’re struggling to pay your bills it’s important to know which ones are most important.

Priority debts are those that, even when you’re struggling, you should focus on paying on time and in full. It’s important to realise that there is a definite order to paying your bills, and your outgoings shouldn’t be based on repaying those who shout loudest.

You need to keep a roof above your head and food on the table. You also need to ensure that you’re paying utility bills – so your essential services remain on – and there are no tax issues.

To help you understand why we call them priority bills we’ve released a new priority debts infographic, showing you how serious the consequences could be if you don’t pay them.

From an attachment of earnings order, that takes money directly from your wages, to imprisonment and repossession of your home, the penalties for non-payment of priority bills can be severe.

Don’t mistakenly think that a credit card bill is more important than a gas bill. Focus on paying the essentials first.

If you need debt advice we can help. Use our online advice service Debt Remedy to get an individually tailored debt solution in 20 minutes.

Peer's the digital content manager at StepChange Debt Charity. Apart from contributing to the MoneyAware blog and overseeing the charity's website and social media content, he’s walked to the top of every mountain and hill in the Lake District. Twice.

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