Cost of Living: How to slash bills through simple direct debit switch – ‘spread the cost’

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The cost of living has intensified following several planned rises in tax rates and bills which came into effect from April 1, 2022. As Britain feels the squeeze of the energy price cap hike, soaring petrol prices, and costly weekly shops, millions of us are looking for ways to make inflated household payments more affordable. While increasing costs are hard to avoid, knowing your rights is one of the simplest ways to avoid overpaying on your utilities, and these are the five bills you should focus on.

How to reduce household bills

Climbing rates of inflation have made everything from energy bills to Council tax more expensive, but it’s only just the start for struggling Britons.

The Office for Budget Responsibility predicted that inflation will peak at 8.7 percent in 2022, with some experts suggesting that it could happen some time this spring.

With the increasing cost of living showing no sign of balancing out, insurance expert Catherine Grayson, from A-plan Insurance said the best way to make running your home more affordable is to switch to monthly payments.

Making this one simple switch will not only make large bills easier to manage, but it could actually save you money in the process.

Council Tax payments

Council Tax payments have increased by an average of 3.5 percent since April 1, taking the annual bill to nearly £2,000 for band D properties.

Currently, many people pay their council tax manually over the course of 10 months, but Catherine insists that you are “perfectly entitled” to spread this over 12 months to help reduce your monthly payments.

There is some Government support available too, such as the £150 rebate for those in council tax bands A to D to help with the cost of living.

Catherine said: “Around 20 million households in England will receive this in April, but unfortunately, not everyone is eligible.

“Therefore spreading the cost of council tax should make these price increases slightly less troublesome.”

In order to set up the direct debit, you need to call the local Council Tax office, or visit your local council website to use the online option.

Insurance premiums

It may be helpful to know that you no longer need to pay your insurance premiums in one lump sum.

Making this simple swap can help you keep on top of your finances by avoiding too much strain on other areas of your budget, while boosting your credit score at the same time.

Road Tax

Taxing your vehicle is a necessary payment, but paying it all in one go is not a requirement.

You can switch to a monthly payment plan to spread the yearly bill over several months instead.

To set up a monthly direct debit, you can either visit your local Post Office, or go online to the Government’s official website.

This will log your MOT and insurance which leaves you only needing a reminder letter that contains a 16-digit reference number.

It is a completely simple process, and the payments will then roll over to ensure no breach of the law occurs.

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Utility bills


The energy price cap has risen by 54 percent, allowing suppliers to charge customers almost £2,000 more per year.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis has urged billpayers to check their direct debit payments against their usage, and to contact their supplier if they feel it is too high – many payments can be lowered around this time of year.


Households can expect an average £35 per year price hike for water this month, on top of the increasing cost of gas and electricity.

While most households pay for water based on usage, setting your direct debit up now can help you cover your credit costs while providing a bench-mark spending cap each month.

You can change your quarterly payments to monthly instalments by contacting your provider.

If you are concerned about overspending, most companies have schemes that cap your bill, which means you will not pay any more than the average metered bill for the area.

TV licence

A TV licence currently costs £159 per household and will remain this price until 2024, with a slight rise before being abolished completely.

Unfortunately, this is one fee that can’t be reduced, but it may be easier to pay using a direct debit spread over 12 months.

Setting up a standing order means your licence will automatically renew, so you don’t need to worry about doing it manually.

Since August 2020 it has been a legal obligation for everyone to pay for a standard TV licence, though some groups benefit from a reduced rate of £79.50.

These include people who are:

  • Aged 75 or above
  • Blind
  • Visually impaired

While the reduced rate is welcomed, it is still a large sum to pay if you are out of work due to a disability.

Splitting the cost means you only have to pay £26.50 before it rolls onto a 12 monthly bill of £13.25 a month.

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