Battered by bills? Brits count cost of 15m missed payments

The juggling act of keeping our finances in order caused one in five of us to miss a bill payment in the last 12 months.

Collectively, we missed 15 million bills totalling £882 million. And the annual cost of running the nation’s homes? A staggering £405 billion.

These are the startling findings of MoneySuperMarket research which also found a third of us are being “hounded” for missed payments, while one in 10 are served with County Court Judgments (CCJs). What’s more, a further one in eight of us predicts we’ll miss another bill in the next four weeks.

To help households make ends meet and squeeze maximum value from their hard-earned money, we’ve developed a tool to show you where you can start cutting costs – but first here’s a closer look at some of the findings of our Bill Barometer research.

Feeling the squeeze

Every month, UK households are collectively forking out £33.7 billion on essential bills. Per household, this equates to £1,360. Of that figure, a quarter of those polled for our research are paying £500 or more on mortgage or rent payments, while 5% are paying in excess of £1,000 to keep the roof over their heads.

Understandably, respondents admitted the cost of housing was the most acute pressure on their budgets. Such is the struggle that 2.2 million people missed rent or mortgage payments over the past year. However, the most commonly missed bills were for credit cards and loans (15%), followed closely by childcare bills (12%).

More than half of us have been adversely affected by missed bills too. Around four in 10 (43%) of us have incurred extra charges and interest payments on missed payments, almost one in five (18%) say their credit score has taken a hit and nearly one in 10 of us (8%) have been served CCJs.

‘Balancing act’

Clare Francis, editor in chief at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Many households are precariously juggling their bill payments, choosing which to pay and which to ignore. It’s a balancing act that can’t continue long-term without significant implications.

“Worryingly, one in five people say their outgoings would only have to go up by £50 a month (or less) for them to struggle even more. Given interest rates are likely to start rising next year, leading to increases in the cost of borrowing, it is a real concern that many people won’t be able to cope.”

Help is at hand

Millions of people have saved money on their home insurance, energy and broadband with MoneySuperMarket – and now our boffins have created a tool to harness all that savings information, letting you see if you’re paying too much for your bills using just your postcode, in less than 30 seconds.

Our home bill checker will show you the typical prices of home insurance, energy and broadband in your area, giving you an idea of how much you may be able to save by switching to a new deal.

Our research shows that 40% of those who switched energy provider via MoneySuperMarket in December saved £200. 10% of our home insurance customers saved more than £190 in December and the average amount saved using or broadband channel is a whopping £260, based on the cheapest contract versus the average broadband tariff. Add it all together and there’s as much as £650 to be saved.

Now these are average figures, and your actual savings may vary – but when all its takes is around 30 seconds and your postcode, there’s no reason not to take a look, especially if you’re feeling the pressure of your monthly bills.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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