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ARCHIVED ARTICLE This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.


Lieke Braadbaart

Online Writer
Published: 28/06/2017

There have been lots of reports lately discussing how increasing inflation means costs are rising, and maybe you've already noticed a rise in your grocery or fuel expenses. However, you may not have noticed other costs that are going up, as a new study from Santander shows these costs have been slowly rising over the past decade, resulting in a basic household bill of nearly £525,000 over an entire lifetime.

A decade of price increases

More specifically, basic household bills, which include council tax, TV, phone, broadband, gas, water and electricity, have increased in cost by an average of 43% over the last decade. This is more than double the rate of wage growth, and also significantly above inflation, which has gone up a cumulative 32.2% over the same time period.

The biggest increases have been in gas and electricity, whose costs have risen by 73% and 72% respectively. The only other bill that increased by an amount greater than inflation is that for water (41%), though all other bills have still risen faster than the average wage growth of 19.2%, with council tax increasing by 27% and TV, phone and broadband prices increasing by 24%.

All of this results in an average household bill spend of £524,464 over the course of a lifetime. Unsurprisingly, those in London are set to spend the most (£601,638), followed closely by people in the South East (£580,566). Brits in the South West have it the worst, however, as almost a sixth of their earnings go towards bills.

What can I do?

With all these price increases, and no signs of a corresponding growth in wages or even a slowdown in the rise of bill prices, it's important to do your research. While for some things like council tax the only opportunity to lower costs would be to move to a different council, there are things you can do without packing up your life.

As always, it's important to compare providers to make sure you are getting the best deal on your broadband, phone, TV package, gas and electricity. Aside from that, you could consider cutting down on some expenses, though not everyone is equally as happy to do so.

The top three things that people are willing to sacrifice to ease their billing pressure are takeaways (which 49% are willing to give up), non-essential clothing (43%) and going out for dinner (36%). In contrast, less than a third would be willing to give up luxuries such as non-homemade coffee or taxis.

Fancy coffees may not, however, create sufficient happiness for the 10% of people who avoid looking at their bank account when bills come in to offset the financial stress that barely getting by can cause. So, if you're one of the 25% of Brits who admitted to Santander that they have no rainy-day savings, why not consider opening a regular saver to put that taxi/takeaway/coffee money in and give yourself some peace of mind instead.


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