I’ve decided to blog about the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens, of going my own way, morphing from childhood to adultdom. So, every Monday I am going to welcome the week with a post all about Adulting.
Last week, I introduced the idea with a post on Moving in. I briefly mentioned some of the perks and the pitfalls of moving into my own place, so this week, I have decided to scrutinise one inescapable aspect of moving out. BILLS.
I am not stupid (no matter what my Dad says), I always knew that money was spent to give the electricity that powered the TV, the water that comes from the shower head, and the gas comes from the hob. I know you have to get a TV license, choose a TV/Phone/Internet package, and keep up to date with the council tax. But is has always been something I stayed away from and had no true concept of, and it is something that you have to learn to manage, and quick, when you go it alone and start to adult.
For years, my only true expenditure that could classify as a bill has been my mobile phone. Yes, I’ve occasionally had some phone insurance to boot, or paid rent for uni accommodation or to our Thai landlords, but I’ve never paid anything regularly that was required to, y’know, live.
When I first moved in, I kind of (shamefully) left all utilities by the wayside, and took care of the bills that I was either prompted to sort, or I really needed – like TV and internet ‘n’ stuff. Somehow, I had forgotten that the normal TV channels came with a normal TV package, I’ve always had sky/virgin media at my parents, and then freeview at uni, and then later in life I’ve always had Netflix and Amazon Prime (yes, I count these as essential bills).
TV licenses are something that i have managed to dodge for a while. They weren’t required in my university accommodation as we never watched live TV, and iPlayer didn’t require it to watch programs online. When I moved into my own place with Cath, the student rent was completely inclusive of bills, so this is the first time i have ever had to buy one myself. Once that was set up, I spent a few days weighing up the pros and cons of different packages with the different provider; including what you got free as a booking offer, and what you actually got with the package.
Once the internet, the TV, and the phone were set up, I then pursued the council tax. A bill was sent through almost immediately in what I presume was meant to be my parents names, so I applied for that to be changed to mine. I also found out you could get a discount as a single occupant (bonus!). As I’ve always lived with my parents, or been a student and therefore exempt from council tax payments, I had no concept of how much it would cost to change.
The last thing I sorted was my utilities. Again, I had no concept of how much these would be, so when I steadily got different bills through, I began paying them individually. It took me longer than it should have to sort paying it monthly rather than per bill, which has been hugely beneficial. I still haven’t sorted paying gas and electricity per month, and as I have only paid for bills over the warmer, lighter months I have been hesitant to set regualr billing up in case I ended up paying way too little, or way too much.
I’m lucky that my car and insurance was paid in one go, and that my parents still pay for the house insurance. I’m not quite totally independent in that sense, but I have as much responsibility as I ever have had. Nothing has been cut off yet.
Aside from my actual bills, I pay monthly to maximise the benefits I get with my employee. I mean, who wouldn’t. I guess i consider these to be bills as well, even though they’re technically not. I add my tax and my student loan payments into the bill category as well. Thankfully though, I never see these leave my account, as they are taken out of my wages before I am actually paid. It makes them much more painless.
Now as Emma has moved in, I need to sort out my bills. Firstly, I could really do with updating the council tax. Now as she has moved in, I no longer qualify for single occupancy discount, so that needs amending. Once that has been done, I can have a look at getting cost figures for bills and look to streamline them, and make sure they are all paid monthly. Once streamlined, it will probably make it easier to regulate my monthly expenditure and it will also stop the huge bills every few months. That, and it will obviously give Emma some idea of how much it is going to be to live now as she has moved out.
Bills, more than anything else, are what make me realise I now actually live an adult life. I feel like mastering bills will be mastering adulting properly. Once Emma and I streamline bills we will be proper responsible adults.