Living In And Maintaining Your Home

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When you move into your new home, there will be lots of things to consider other than getting furniture, deciding where to hang that picture of your cat and what colour to paint the walls.

You need to think about paying the bills and council tax, getting home insurance, organising a phone line, and keeping the house well maintained and protected. If you are new to the area, it also involves settling into your new street, town or city and getting to know your neighbours.

This section looks at the different aspects of living in and maintaining your new home, along with helpful tips to make living on your own as easy as possible.


Moving into a new house is a big financial commitment. As well as paying your rent or mortgage, you need to consider the bills you will need to pay – and plan for them.

Whether you are renting or own your house, you will have to pay bills for:

  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Water

You may also have to pay:

  • Council tax
  • Telephone or Internet bills
  • TV licence

When you move in, it is important that you take readings from the gas and electricity boxes for your records and contact all your energy suppliers to inform them you have moved in and provide them with your details. This will ensure you don’t get charged for someone else’s bills.

  • It is also worth asking the suppliers for an estimate of what your bill will be each month, each quarter or each year (depending on how you pay) so you can allow for the expense in your budget
  • It is worth considering monthly direct debits or standing orders to pay your bills. That way you know exactly how much money you will have every month and don’t get any nasty surprises with quarterly bills arriving every three months
  • Depending on your circumstances, you may also have to pay council tax. How much you pay depends on where you live and how much you earn. This is usually charged monthly so find out in advance what the cost will be

Lowering Your Energy Bills

If you find your energy (gas, electricity and water) bills are too high, there are tips to reduce your bills by saving energy:

  • Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to prevent draughts and wasted heat
  • Take a shower instead of a bath to save water
  • Always switch off lights when you leave a room
  • Close your curtains at dusk to keep heat in the room
  • Make sure your taps are closed properly. Dripping taps can increase the water bill significantly
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
  • Do not leave electrical appliances on ‘stand-by’ when not in use. Turn them off
  • Replace light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs
  • Do not fill your kettle to the maximum each time you make a cup of tea. Fill it with just enough water needed
  • Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running effectively and cheaply
  • Switch to a cheaper gas or electricity provider

These measures will not only save you money, they will also help save the environment. When choosing or switching energy or utility providers, shop around to find the best deal, but be sure to check the small print before you sign anything!

If you are struggling to pay your bills, don’t panic. Take advice from our Debt section.