When you're responsible for paying bills for the first time, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. We've put together the basic information you need to know.

Click on the buttons below to see what bills need paying

The main bills are:

Council tax is paid to your local authority, funding local services like rubbish collection, parks, libraries, emergency services and transport. How much you pay depends on where you live and the type of property you live in - this is called a council tax band. It's easy to find out your property's Council Tax band online.

If you're a full-time student living with other full-time students, a care leaver, or a carer, you may not need to pay council tax. You can check to see if you're exempt on the government website. If you live by yourself you can get a 25% reduction in your bill.

If you're on a low income you can apply for a Council Tax Benefit, and if you're on Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support you may get a reduced bill. Check with your council to see if you're eligible for a discount. Not sure about what benefits you be eligible for? Check on the gov.uk benefit calculator.

  • Gas and electric

Gas and electricity, or energy, are a utility bill. If you live in a flat, you might just pay for electricity. Unlike council tax and water, you can choose which provider you want to use. Comparison sites are a useful way to find a deal that works for you.

Your energy provider will estimate how much gas and electricity you will use over a year and charge a set amount every month to spread out the annual cost. This can be paid each month when you get the bill or you can set up a direct debit with your bank so you don't have to remember each month.

Sending regular meter readings to your energy provider will help ensure you're paying the amount you're using rather than an estimate. Contact your landlord if you're unsure where your meter is. 

You might be on a pay-as-you-go meter which needs topping up with a gas and electricity card. You can top this up in a shop or online. Gas and electricity cards need activating before you can use them for the first time - your provider will have more information about this. You could ask your landlord or energy company if you'd rather pay in a different way. 

You can find out your provider if you're unsure.

  • Water

Water is another utility bill. Like council tax, you can't choose a provider for this - it depends on your location. You can find your provider online if you're unsure. Your provider will have more information about how you pay and how frequently you can set up the payments.

  • Internet/broadband

If you want internet in your home, you'll need to pay for broadband. You can pick a broadband deal that works for you, but it's important to bear in mind that these are usually on a contract for a specific amount of time, so if you need to end your contract before it ends you might have to pay a fee.

If you want you can get a broadband and TV package, but these usually cost more and you'll still need to pay for a TV license if you want to watch or record live TV or watch BBC iPlayer.

Even if you don't use a landline phone, you need to pay for line rental as part of your broadband package.

  • Mobile phone

If you're on a mobile contract, you'll need to pay this each month. A contract usually involves a certain amount of call minutes and mobile data each week, as well as the phone itself. You can pick a contract that works for you 

  • TV licence

If you plan on watching or recording live TV, or watching BBC iPlayer, you need a TV license. You don't need a TV license just for having a TV though. If you're just watching Netflix and playing video games on your TV, you don't need a license. Check online if you need one. 

    Phew! That's a lot of information to take in - don't worry if you're still confused. Here's some organisations that can help if you're looking for more information. 

    The Children's Society information for young people

    Citizens Advice

    Find your local council

    need support?