Consumers underestimate annual bills by £770
How much is your gas bill? Nope. Your annual Council Tax charge? Wrong again. Chances are, you’ll be way off on practically all of your main household bills to the tune of £770 a year according to new research by Santander.
Council tax was actually the least accurately estimated bill, which may be because there’s pretty much naff all you can do about the cost. Still, most people are WAY off-according to the survey, bill payers underestimated their council tax bill by a whopping £721 per year. Gas (£279) and electricity (£91) bills were also underestimated, which is no surprise, but the cost of TV/phone/broadband bills was actually £386 over-estimated.
What’s even less impressive is that we are actually getting worse at knowing how much things cost. The same survey compiled last year also saw us underestimating our bills, but we were much closer- only guessing £467 too little for the major bills, a whole £303 closer than we were this year. While costs have largely increased this year, it is unlikely this accounts for the whole difference. Perhaps things are looking up for people such that they don’t have to pay such close attention to bills anymore?
Santander head of banking Matt Hall said, helpfully: “Increases in household bills have added to the cost of living in recent years and it’s more important than ever that people check their bills thoroughly. Some can be tricky to understand, so it’s important that households keep an eye on statements and call their supplier if anything is unclear.”
However, thoroughly checking statements is not something we are necessarily great at. More than a quarter of people (26%) admit to never checking their statements, and 4% don’t even bother opening the envelope. That’s a million people not even opening their bills.
David Mann, head of money at uSwitch.com, says: “Consumers are in a lose-lose situation with everything shooting up except for their income. It’s time to start paying serious attention to managing household bills. By cutting the amount you spend on the essentials, you’ll have more money to spend on the non-essentials, which is welcome news at this time of year.”