Prioritising your bills

December 2, 2022

Managing your finances can be difficult, especially with the increased cost of living. If you are worried about paying your bills or meeting your expenses, prioritising them may help you feel more in control. Find out which bills are most important and should be prioritised.

Step 1: List your bills and expenses

The first step is to list all the bills that you pay on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. You can split these into categories, like in the example below, to help you when it comes to prioritising them.

Household Utilities Insurance
Mortgage/Rent Gas / home heating oil Home insurance
Groceries Electricity Car insurance
School costs Waste collection Pet insurance
Streaming services TV & broadband Health insurance

Step 2: Prioritise your bills and expenses

Once you have your list completed you can start prioritising. You should rank your bills and expenses based on their importance, for example your mortgage or rent would rank higher in priority than your TV or broadband. Create a table, like the one below, to help you.

High priority Medium priority Low priority
Mortgage/Rent Home insurance Streaming services
Groceries TV & broadband Health insurance
Gas / Home heating oil School costs Pet insurance
Electricity Waste collection
Car insurance

Step 3: Paying your bills and expenses

Once you have prioritised your bills and expenses, the next step is to work out how you can pay them. Using our budget planner can help you figure out which expenses you can afford to meet comfortably and whether there are others that may need to be reduced or negotiated. If you are worried about missing high priority payments such as mortgage repayments or utility bills, you should seek support from your provider. See the table below for more information on who to contact if you are concerned about meeting payments. For more information on social welfare supports visit Citizens Information.

Type of bill/expense Tips on how to meet bills & where to seek support
Mortgage If you are worried about meeting your mortgage repayments you should speak to your lender as soon as possible to begin looking at potential solutions.

See mortgage arrears for more information.

Rent If you are worried about paying your rent you should try to engage with your landlord to see if the amount can be reduced temporarily.

If this is not an option you should check if you are entitled to any social welfare supports such as rent supplement.

Utility bills If you are worried about paying your utility bills, you should engage with your provider to see if your bill could be reduced. Providers often offer discounted rates for going paperless, for example. You should also consider if there are things you can do to help reduce your bill such as unplugging appliances, ensuring that you block up drafts or leaks etc. For more information on how to save money on your utility bills see our top tips.

If your bill cannot be reduced you should check if you are entitled to social welfare supports, such as fuel allowance. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul may also be able to help with utility bills.

Car insurance If you are worried about meeting your car insurance payments you might consider reducing your cover temporarily if possible.

If your insurance is due for renewal consider shopping around for the best price for the cover you need. See car insurance for more information.

Groceries If you are worried about the cost of groceries you should shop around when buying where possible. You should also avail of any offers provided by loyalty cards. For more information on saving money on your groceries see our top tips.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul may also be able to help with the cost of groceries and other household expenses.

If you are worried about running into serious debt problems, the most important thing to remember is that there is help available to you.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a free, confidential and independent service for people in debt or in danger of getting into debt. MABS can help people to draw up realistic budgets and help them in liaising with their banks and building societies on their debt in order to come to a workable solution. You can telephone the MABS helpline on 0818 07 2000.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is an independent Government body. The aim of the ISI is to help sort out personal debt problems and restore people from insolvency to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way. Their ‘back on track’ website has information to help you get back on track financially, including information on qualified financial advisers who can help protect you from your creditors as well as tailored information for your personal situation. You can telephone the ISI helpline on 01 764 4200.

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