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Ever ignored a bill? 13 million of us have…

Published 2 October 2013 by

Juggling your finances so there's enough money to pay all the bills each month can be tricky. It’s a fine balancing act and can cause stress and anxiety.

This isn’t made any easier when the economy is in a slump and prices are on the rise.

Rising prices

A recent report by energy firm RWE Npower found that annual household energy bills are likely to be £100 higher than government projections by 2020 – meaning the annual average bill would be £240 above current levels. And, earlier this month, personal finance experts warned that homeowners have just a short time to take advantage of the lowest-ever fixed-rate mortgage deals before rates rise.

What we found out about bills

When we did some research into bills, we discovered that one in four people had ignored a bill for some time after receiving it because they did not have the funds to settle the debt. That works out to around 13 million people across the UK!

Although there was little difference between men and women when it came to turning a blind eye to an outstanding bill, we did find that this practice varied depending on someone’s age.

According to our survey, younger people were a lot more likely than their parents/grandparents to ignore a bill because they can’t afford to pay it – 30% of people aged 18-34 said they had deliberately ignored a bill, compared with just 17% of those aged over 55. It could be that older people have a bit more spare cash on a monthly basis - or that they're generally better at managing what they've got.

There were some big regional differences too. Men and women living in the North East of England seemed the most likely to have put off paying a bill (37% of the ones we asked said they had), whereas people in the South East were the least likely (just 22% of them said so).

Managing your money

If you’re struggling to set enough money aside for bills every month, there are things you can do to improve your finances. It’s a good idea to sit down and make a list of all your outgoings. In this way, you can start to plan ahead for your monthly commitments, so you're not taken by surprise when a bill lands on the doormat.

It might also be sensible to cut back on some non-essentials, freeing up cash for crucial payments.

Let us help you

The thinkmoney Personal Account makes it easy to manage your finances. Call us on 0800 074 7772 or click here to find out how it works.