One in four cut back on essentials

Robyn Hall

December 4, 2012

A quarter of Brits (23%) are just about breaking even at the end of the month, leaving nothing left for emergencies while a further 7% find themselves in the red, using overdrafts (37%), savings (28%) and credit cards (23%) to plug the gap.

To make ends meet, two in five (39%) have cut down on essentials – 28% have cut back on food and 19% are spending less on fuel.

Brits have borrowed an average of £1,950 on top of any mortgage costs this year – but just one in four (26%) have paid it all back.

On top of cutting essential spend, more than a fifth (22%) now take a packed lunch to work, 16% are flogging their belongings in return for hard cash, while 13% have taken on extra work to boost their income.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, said: “When it comes to balancing the books, we are treading a fine line. It will only take an unexpected price hike or emergency at home to push us over the edge and into the debt spiral.

“For many consumers, everything is shooting up except their income. Unprecedented hikes in essential bills such as food and energy are forming an increasingly large hole in people’s pockets. The shock increase in the consumer price index in November will do nothing to help the situation. We are facing a winter of discontent.

“With one in four struggling to repay debt from last year, it’s vital that people look for the best ways to save money. Assess your household bills to check that you are not paying over the odds for your home essentials. If you do need to borrow money, take time to look at the best loan and credit card deals on the market. It might seem like a good idea to take the first deal that comes along, but the chances are you’ll end up regretting it and paying more over the long term.”

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