Five million homes face bill shock

Homes paying out almost £85 more on bills on average than they expected

Updated: 
Five million homes face bill shock

A whopping five million households are paying more than they expected on their household bills.

This average 'bill shock' of £84.50 per household works out at an incredible £435 million in total, according to the latest Billshock Barometer from comparethemarket.com.

Our most shocking bills

The survey picked out what proportion of households are shocked by the size of each respective bill, and how much more they are having to pay out than expected. Here's how it breaks down.
BillShock level (%)Amount more than expected
Energy30%£70.66
Car insurance22%£91.40
Tax20%£115.48
Home insurance18%£68.70
Credit card16%£124.34
Mobile11%£36.39

As you can see, we are most likely to be shocked by the size of our energy bill, but it's credit cards where the shocks are most sizeable.

The importance of shopping around

If your bills are starting to hurt, then it's a good idea to shop around to see if you can get a better deal. For example, energy bills may be the most likely to shock, but they are also one area which has seen a succession of price cuts in recent months thanks to the falls in wholesale prices. Make sure you take advantage by grabbing a cheap fixed rate deal.

Similarly, when it comes to insurance don't just renew your policy with your existing insurer when the offer comes through. Take a little time to shop around and see if you can find a cheaper deal on your car and home insurance.

As for credit cards, if you have credit card debt that's racking up interest, it's time to take advantage of a 0% deal. There has never been so many lengthy 0% deals on offer – the top handful offer almost three years of 0% interest in which to clear your balance!

How to banish bill shock

Bills will occasionally be bigger than expected. But you can reduce the shock of those bigger bills by keeping on top of your household's comings and goings. One way to do that is with lovemoney.com's Track service.

You can bring all of your various accounts together in a single place, from your bank account and savings account to your credit card. You can then categorise the different spending you can do, so you can see exactly where every penny you spend is going. And from there you can work out where you can make savings. A little change here or there can make a real difference to your monthly budget.

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