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Household bills rising slower than inflation, MSE Bills Tracker shows

Household bills and expenses are rising slower than overall inflation, this month's MSE Bills Tracker shows but don't rest on your laurels as it's likely you could still make big savings.

The MSE Bills Tracker shows average overall costs are up 1.7% over the 12 months to January 2018, which is slightly down from December's 12-month figure of 2%. The headline CPIH inflation figure more on which is below stayed steady at 2.7% for December and January.

Despite the dip, it's important to be aware that average prices are still rising - so you should always check you're getting the best deals on all your bills and expenses.

Our tracker, which launched in August 2017, uses data supplied by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to create a picture of the average price changes for household bills across the UK.

Inflation is usually measured by looking at the prices of hundreds of different items, but crucially our tracker cuts most of these out and focuses only on core expenses such as housing costs, energy and insurance - expenses which most households have and which typically make up the lion's share of outgoings.

Here are some of the main figures you can see a more detailed breakdown below:

How does MSE's Bills Tracker work?

Inflation is the rate at which the cost of goods and services bought by households rises or falls. The ONS publishes different measures of inflation, and we've requested specific data to come up with a realistic figure for the average change in a typical household's core outgoings.

Our figure uses elements of CPIH, which stands for the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' Housing costs, the most comprehensive measure of inflation. CPIH looks at the prices of a 'basket' of 700 goods and services listed in the Consumer Prices Index inflation measure, such as clothes, food and furniture and then adds costs associated with owning or renting a home.

Crucially, MSE's Bills Tracker cuts down the CPIH basket of goods and services to about 40 costs which many typical households are likely to face every month (see the list below).

We've focused on bills rather than expenses such as food, and stripped out items included in the CPIH that you're unlikely to buy often, if at all, such as rugs, door handles, a ten-pin bowling session and knitting wool. In other words, this is designed to be a real bills index reflecting typical household costs.

What does January's MSE Bills Tracker show?

The MSE Bills Tracker shows that overall household bills and expenses were up 1.7% over the 12 months to January, down from 2% in the same period to December.

The graph below shows how the Bills Tracker has compared with CPIH since August 2016:

How the cost of different bills changed in January

Here's a list of what's included in MSE's Bills Tracker, and how these costs have changed according to the most recent set of figures:

How can I use this info to save money?

The idea behind MSE's Bills Tracker is to give a more accurate picture of how most households' bills and expenses are changing. Our hope is that it will help MoneySavers in two ways.