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stealing ideas: the least important bill

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Does anyone else go through phases of reading different blogs? After months of barely scanning it, I’ve started reading the other most popular personal finance blog again, the simple dollar. In particular, one of Trent’s latest posts about the least important bill caught my eye.

how many monthly bills do I have?

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned my bills before, but I’ll just think about them now. In order of importance:

  1. council tax
  2. mortgage
  3. house insurance
  4. water
  5. electricity
  6. gas
  7. disability insurance / income protection insurance
  8. musical instrument insurance
  9. phone
  10. internet
  11. mobile phone
  12. tv licence
  13. magazine subscription
  14. accident insurance

As a blogger and internet junkie, the ‘net connection is actually more important to me than the landline, it’s just that I can’t get the internet without the phone, which I barely use. I also note that I have quite a bit of insurance going on. And not that much in the way of extra regular costs.

Not all of these are monthly, some are annual but they all recur. The magazine subscription stops me buying ridiculous quantities of glossy house magazines, and so was well worth spending £12 on. And even though I don’t watch very much tv, I’m not quite ready to give it up yet.

could I give up the least important of these?

Actually yes. I probably should cancel the accident insurance because I got suckered into it by the salesperson (yes, we can’t all be sensible all the time). This will have to go on my list of things to do!

what about you?

If you order your bills from most important to least important, could you get rid of the one on the bottom of the list? I defined importance as the consequences of not paying - jail is worse than homelessness for example, so council tax comes at the top of my list. You might want to order your list differently, and you don’t need to worry too much about the top of the list anyway, it’s the bottom that you need to concentrate on.

Let me know in the comments how you get on.

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25 comments for “stealing ideas: the least important bill”

  1. I definitely have room to cut some bills from my budget if necessary. As a matter of fact, I just trimmed the least important bill — my Netflix service. And we’re about to get rid of our landline phone, too. It’s been used once in about 8 weeks because we use our mobiles. Most important are definitely our new mortgage (the monthly payments include property taxes and insurance), the home utilties, the car payments and the car insurance.

    Really, I try not to think about how many bills we have to pay because it’s depressing.

    Posted by Kristen | September 18, 2008, 1:14 pm
  2. A few of the least important bills I have gotten rid of are:

    Netflix bills
    Oprah magazine subscription bills
    Cable bills
    And switched to lower mobile phone rate plan.

    I plan to add a bill to my list however and that is renters insurance. Yes that should be one of the important bills on my list and sadly enough I haven’t taken care of it yet.

    Ps: I have added you to my blogroll. Also, sorry to read about your home break in, but I am glad you were not harmed and you were able to take care of things.

    Posted by smartypantsmoney | September 18, 2008, 2:42 pm
  3. I really liked this idea, but my bill list is really short: rent, electricity, insurance, internet and mobile phone.
    I’d quite like to get rid of my mobile, but my mother would kill me!

    Posted by Looby | September 18, 2008, 2:44 pm
  4. I read this the other day too and also had thought it was a good exercise. I was going to post it tomorrow. :)
    But, the downside to roommates is that the bill I’d love to get rid of, I can’t…

    Posted by deepali | September 18, 2008, 3:17 pm
  5. @Kristen:
    I nkow what you mean about a lot of bills. It looks like you’re doing a good job of trying to trim them down.

    Insurance is very, very important. And if you own stuff, then renters insurance is really important. My break in didn’t result in the loss of much property, but a flood or something could be devastating.

    Mobiles are a bit of a necessary evil at times. If I didn’t have mine, lots of people would be unable to contact me, although why that’s a bad thing, I’m not so sure.

    That’s the price you pay for saving money by living with other people. On the bright side, your expenses will probably less overseas, right?

    Posted by plonkee | September 18, 2008, 4:24 pm
  6. Council tax above mortgage? Without thinking too much about it I’d put mortgage first and then council tax - as I’d rather have the council after me rather than a mortgage company. Is there any reason you put them that way round, or are they both as important as each other?

    Posted by Rob Lewis | September 18, 2008, 7:00 pm
  7. @ plonkee - overseas, I will not be subject to the tyranny of choice. :) But you raise a good point about saving money with roommates. I’d pay twice as much rent if I didn’t, which negates any savings I’d have by getting rid of cable.

    Posted by deepali | September 18, 2008, 7:06 pm
  8. @deepali:
    Overseas sounds fun.

    Non-payment of council tax potentially leads to conviction for tax evasion and jail, whereas non-payment of the mortgage leads to at worst repossession. But really they are as important as each other, food and water fall into that category too, and in the winter I’d add gas and/or electricity. Everything else is probably negotiable.

    Posted by plonkee | September 18, 2008, 7:49 pm
  9. Thanks Plonkee - I don’t fancy missing payments on either council tax or my mortgage, so I don’t intend to find out which is worse!

    Posted by Rob Lewis | September 18, 2008, 8:52 pm
  10. Thanks for sharing a wonderful article. REally great tips will follow it. and acoording to this i think i should cut down my mobile bills.

    Posted by jacky | September 19, 2008, 8:22 am
  11. Plonkee, I am working on that renters insurance. I have called for a quote from bunch of places.

    Posted by smartypantsmoney | September 19, 2008, 5:48 pm
  12. When you look at it like that, it is a lot of bills isn’t it?

    Mine are similar minus the insurances!

    Posted by Frugal Trenches | September 20, 2008, 6:04 am
  13. I only have one bill I really could do without and that is my mobile phone bill. I am still waiting for my first cash back payment from the phone company. The only reason I even signed up was becase I would get about 80% of my bill back in cash but after over a month I am still waiting.
    I have two tiny life insurance policies that I have had for years but they only total £5 so I don’t really worry about them.

    Posted by Lisa | September 20, 2008, 9:05 am
  14. Ruminating about this idea leads to the conclusion that I can’t afford to be unemployed: it would require me to cut the MOST important item on the list of monthly bills or almost double rock-bottom monthly expenses. Just wrote a post to show that line of reasoning, which should go online in 5 hours, about 7:20 a.m. GMT.


    Posted by Funny about Money | September 22, 2008, 2:27 am
  15. it’s been quite some time now since i dropped by the simple dollar! not that i am thinking of giving up my least important bill, but this is certainly a clever idea that i’m sure i’d be able to get to once i see the need to do so… thanks!

    Posted by Hector | September 22, 2008, 4:32 pm
  16. This is a great exercise … too bad I don’t have any bills that can be trimmed.

    Posted by Maggie | September 22, 2008, 6:57 pm
  17. Just a few bills that I look at when I go through my bills that I question is my pricey cable bill.

    Also Plonkee, I think that my mobile phone bill would have to be higher on the list. Why couldn’t you get internet by itself instead of a phone.

    Posted by Jane | September 24, 2008, 6:29 pm
  18. I dunno, I think jail beats homelessness, personally, ’cause at least you have a warm place to sleep and food to eat ;)

    For tax evasion you’d probably just end up in a cushy Martha Stewart-esque facility, anyway ;)

    Posted by Lise | September 25, 2008, 8:35 pm
  19. @Jane:
    Internet doesn’t come without a phone line in the UK unless you have cable. And it’s not cheaper to get cable.

    Posted by plonkee | September 30, 2008, 3:18 pm
  20. Nice blog. This information is important for us. Thanks for sharing this information

    Posted by income protection | April 19, 2009, 8:21 pm
  21. Good list.

    Posted by cleaner reviews | November 7, 2009, 1:12 pm
  22. Wouldn’t accident insurance be more important than a magazine. Most of what is in whatever magazine you get could be found online, surely. But if you do get hurt you may lose your weekly wage for some time and then where would you be….

    Posted by hmmm | February 25, 2010, 11:38 pm
  23. nice list!

    Posted by bet on sports online | March 18, 2010, 9:45 am

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