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Understanding numbers in your bills and payslips

Managing money can mean looking at a lot of numbers, sometimes too many. It can all become confusing and tempting not to bother at all. 

If this sounds like you, here are some ideas that might help you. 

Council tax bill

Step 1

One bill that it's important to understand is for council tax.

It looks something like this. 

There area lot of numbers on this bill. It is easy to feel a bit lost when you see it. 


Step 2

When you get your council tax bill, you're likely to be trying to find out how much you need to pay and when. 

Lots of this information doesn't help you do that. Everything in the blue box can be ignored. 

It's not that the information isn't useful, you just don't need it right now. 


Step 3

Once you have got just the numbers you need - it can look much clearer.

The total is in the blue box, and below that it shows how much you have to pay and when. 

Finding the numbers that matter most, and ignoring the rest, can help you feel less anxious. 


Energy bill

Step 1

Let's look at another example. Your energy bill will usually look something like this. 

It's full of numbers! 

The numbers in the blue box are good to have in case you want to check your bill. 

But if you just want to know how much you need to pay, you can ignore them for now.  

energy bill

Step 2

If you just want to know how much you need to pay so you can plan your budget, you only need one number from the bill. 

The others can cause confusion and make you feel anxious, so ignore them for now. 



Step 1

Payslips always show a lot of numbers.

Depending on what you're trying to find out, only some of the numbers will help. 

Often you just want to check how much you're being paid - so we'll use this as an example. 


Step 2

To check how much you're getting paid for the month, you can ignore most of the numbers.

Once you know that - it's easier not to be put off by the information overload.