Which bills to pay first
Priority bills are the ones that you need to pay first because if you don’t the consequences can be very serious – for example if you don’t pay your rent you may lose your home, if you don’t pay court fines you could face prison.
Some bills are more important than others. The most important bills to pay first are:
- Housing rent and service charges (or mortgage if you own / part own your home)
- Council tax – even if you qualify for your local Council Tax Reduction Scheme it is likely that you will have to make a contribution to your council tax bill – find out how much you need to pay from your local district council
- Electricity and gas bills
- Court fines or child maintenance that you are responsible for
- TV licence
The consequences if you don’t pay these bills can be very serious:
- If rent / mortgage payments are not made you may lose your home
- If electricity / gas bills are not paid you may have your supply cut off
- If council tax, TV licence or court fines /child maintenance are not paid you may have money taken direct from wages or benefits or have your belongings taken and sold or even go to prison
If you are worried about paying any of these priority bills take action – there will be solutions but you need to take action quickly. You can find organisations that help with money in our service directory
Other money you owe
Are you behind with other money that you owe, such as hire purchase or an outstanding doorstep loan? If so you may feel pressured to pay these before your priority bills, especially if they send letters that sound more threatening or keep calling round.
Don’t pay other borrowing until you have sorted your priority bills – this will keep a roof over your head and help you avoid costly fines / having your energy supplies cut off.
Do get help with these other debts as soon as you can – there is free debt advice so do not pay for this help. You can get help in person, by phone or on the internet. You may be able to have all of the debts written off so that you can make a fresh start – but you need to get qualified free advice
Don’t delay – once you are in debt it can quickly become very stressful and you don’t need to try and solve this on your own.
If you owe money to a Loan shark get help immediately. A loan shark is an unlicenced money lender – they often charge very high interest rates and can be very threatening and difficult and even violent
A loan shark can be someone you know locally – in your community, at work or through a friend. You may feel that this is your only option but don’t take it – help to stop loan sharks by reporting them.
The Stop Loan Sharks team is on hand to help anyone who has become the victim of a loan shark – their help is free, confidential and will give you the protection and support you need.