The costs of running your home

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Starting you new tenancy

All new tenancies and tenancy changes will complete an affordability assessment, in which we will discuss the costs of running a home.

Use our online ‘Budget calculator’ to create list all of your income and outgoings and help you plan the best way to make your money go further, as well as give you some ideas about saving money in the future.

If you require any help and support, visit our Money Advice page.

Priority bills

There are some bills which you need to make sure you pay every month, as the consequences of not paying them can be serious. For instance, if you do not pay your rent, you may be at risk of losing your home.

These include:

  • Rent
  • Council Tax
  • TV licence
  • Gas and electric
  • Water

For information on paying your rent visit our ‘Paying your rent’ page.

Help with your rent

If you are applying for benefits to help you with the running cost of your home remember you may have to wait for your application to be completed and approved before your benefit is put into payment. You will have to budget to make sure you can afford your full rent and any other expenses until your benefit claim is processed and comes into effect.

If you are having difficulties paying your rent, you should contact your Account Manager straight away. They will be able to discuss your account with you and offer help and support.

Council tax

Council Tax is something you will have to pay on top of your rent. Council Tax pays for general services provided by the council, police and fire service.

For more information on council tax or to find out how much you may have to pay, visit your local Council’s website.

If you live on your own or only live with dependents (a dependent is someone who lives with you and depends on your income, e.g. a child), you may be entitled to a 25% discount off your bill.

You may also be eligible for Council Tax Support. Visit our Council Tax support page to find out more.


Gas and electric

When you first move into your home, you will need to register your gas and electricity with your chosen company.  If you are unsure of which company your gas and electric is with then you can call the numbers below.

Gas – 0870 608 1524

Electric – 0870 751 0093

Energy prices

Paying by direct debit and having the same supplier for your gas and electricity (dual fuel) can save you money on your bills. Remember that your bills will be higher in the winter.

Energy prices for pre-payment meters are often more expensive and can lead to higher costs than indicated above.

Jigsaw Group is working with Community-Switch to help take the hassle out of switching your fuel supplier and make savings for you.

Find out more at the Community-Switch website here.

The majority of New Charter’s homes are with Southern Electric. To find out more about their prices and tariffs, visit their website or call them on 0800 980 8476

Water rates

Your water is supplied by United Utilities and the amount you pay is usually calculated on ‘Rateable Value’ of the property.

The property you are moving into may have been fitted with a water meter and if this is the case you will only be charged for the water you use so you will need to be aware of your daily usage. If a water meter has been fitted you cannot have it taken out.

If there isn’t one fitted and you think that having one could save you money, have a look on the United Utilities website or contact United Utilities on 0345 672 2888 to discuss your options. Please remember to get permission from Jigsaw Homes before you agree to have a meter fitted.

If you have a water meter and use large amounts of water for essential purposes, United Utilities provides a scheme called Watersure which provides financial assistance. For more information including how to apply please have a look on the United Utilities website.


Food and other household expenses

For food and other household expenses you should allow on average:

£25.30 per week, per adult

£25 per week, per child

If any member of your household has medical conditions or needs a special diet, you may need to allow more.

School meals

If your children have school meals you will need to budget for this. On average school meals cost £10 per child per week

Free school meals are offered to children of families who are in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance or Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.

They are also offered to children of families who are in receipt of Child Tax Credit only, but who are not entitled to Working Tax Credit, and whose annual income (as assessed by the Inland Revenue) does not exceed £16,190.  If you are in receipt of Child Tax Credit, you will need to attend one of the council’s Customer Service Centres and present your Child Tax Credit award notice.

For further details on school meals contact your local council.


Allow £5 per person per week

TV licence

If you have a TV in your home you must buy a TV licence. If you don’t you could be hit with a large fine of up to £1,000. If you are over 75 you get a free TV licence.

A colour TV licence costs £150 per year and there are various ways to pay, including spreading the cost weekly, monthly or quarterly.

When you move home your TV licence does not automatically move with you, you will need to tell TV Licensing your new address. You can do this by filling in a short form online at or by calling 0300 790 6131

Landline/mobile phone

BT line rental is £15.45 per month plus the cost of your calls. Other suppliers’ line rental and call costs may vary check with the individual supplier for details.

If you have a mobile phone, don’t forget to budget for contract call charges or top-up charges.


Remember to take into consideration the fact that your new address may be further away from your work place, school, shops or other local amenities. This may mean your weekly travel costs will go up.


If you have a car you will need to allow for the amount you will spend on certain things, such as:

  • Petrol
  • Tax
  • Insurance
  • MOT

You may also need to consider putting some money aside for any unexpected work or repairs you will need to pay for on your car.

Public Transport

If you regularly use public transport you may find that a Travel Card will help to keep costs down. Travel cards can be used on:

  • Buses
  • Trains
  • Trams

For more information regarding tickets, fares and passes, visit the GMPTE website at or you can call Traveline on 0871 200 2233 (Opening times – 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. at weekends and bank holidays).

New National Concessionary Travel scheme for over 60s and disabled people

If you are aged 60 and over or an eligible disabled person you are now entitled to free travel on off-peak local bus services across England – but only if you have a new National Concessionary Travel Pass.

The new smartcard style national passes now replace the free GMPTE travel pass. The National Concessionary Travel Pass continues to provide peak travel at a concessionary fare and free off-peak travel on Greater Manchester’s bus, train and tram network the pass also provide free off-peak bus travel throughout England.

If you have an existing GMPTE travel pass you need to replace it with a National Concessionary Travel Pass.


We have taken all reasonable care to ensure the information provided in this section of the website is accurate. The figures given are estimates and by way of illustration only. The figures will vary depending on your own personal circumstances. Jigsaw Group will not be held responsible for any direct or indirect loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any reliance, by any person, on any inaccuracy, error or omission within this information. If you are experiencing any problems with our leaflets or calculators, please contact us.

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