The Real Household 'Budget' Revealed

Mar 19, 2013, 08:41 ET from

CHESTER, England, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  • 76 per cent have cut back their spending on luxury items or necessities
  • 71 per cent now opt for supermarket 'own brand' foods instead of branded goods
  • 55 per cent have turned off their heating even when it's cold
  • One in ten (11 per cent) are skipping meals to feed their family

With Chancellor George Osborne revealing the changes he'll be making to the nation's finances in the Budget tomorrow, MoneySupermarket today reveals the findings from its own 'Real Budget Report' - highlighting the tough measures being taken by households across the country as a result of rising cost of living and  austerity measures.

The 'Real Budget Report' looked at household adjustments that have been made in the past year, as well as plans for household spending over the next 12 months, as families across the nation seek to make their own ends meet.

Three quarters of consumers (76 per cent) say they have limited their household spending in the past 12 months, with more than a third (38 per cent) cutting back spending on necessities in the last 12 months and 65 per cent cutting back spending on luxury purchases.

More than one in ten people (11 per cent) who have made cut backs to necessities have skipped meals to make sure their kids are fed, and nearly one in five (17 per cent) have not paid energy or credit card bills in an attempt to cut back on household spending.

The 'Real Budget Report' also highlights other changes being made by those who have been forced to cut back, including:

  • 71 per cent now opt for supermarket's 'own brand' foods over branded goods;
  • 55 per cent have turned off their heating even when it's cold;
  • 30 per cent have reduced the amount they've been able to save (e.g. into a savings account or a pension);
  • 45 per cent cut money-off coupons out of newspapers/magazines/online;
  • 43 per cent say they're now turning to price comparison sites to shop around for the best deals;
  • 22 per cent have done more DIY instead of hiring professionals.

Luxury spending has also been reigned in, with 70 per cent of those who have cut back on luxury purchases saying they've cut back on eating out or ordering takeaways, while 60 per cent have cut back on days / nights out, and 59 per cent have cut back on treats for themselves. Nearly half (45 per cent) have cut back on holidays, and 17 per cent have cancelled a membership subscription such as the gym.

In a bid to increase their household income, 29 per cent have sold items on ebay or at a car boot sale, while 23 per cent have resorted to taking money out of their savings, and 16 per cent have started doing overtime at work. Additionally, a third of people (34 per cent) are concerned about their finances, and don't see things getting better any time soon. A further 16 per cent are concerned they won't be able to meet their bill repayments, and 12 per cent worry they won't be able to provide for their family.

Household 'austerity measures' look set to continue for the remainder of 2013, with 69 per cent of people still planning to cut back in some way over the next 12 months.

Clare Francis, Editor-in-chief atMoneySupermarket, said: "Household finances are taking a battering from all sides at the moment. Average incomes have fallen in real terms over the past four years*, the cost of heating our homes continues to rise and food prices and motoring costs are also taking their toll on family budgets. As a result, it is not only the Chancellor who has a fight on his hands to keep the nation's head above the water - households are having to do likewise and some are making drastic cuts just to get by. 

"In order to free up some vital cash, UK households need to take control of their finances, become their own chancellor and review all of their financial products to make sure they are benefiting from the most competitive deals on the market. Switching to economy brand food may help save the pennies but failing to pay important bills could have a bigger impact on your financial situation in the long term so it's time to tackle them and make sure you're not paying more than you need to. 

"Apathy is rarely rewarded and switching from average deals to the market leading option on a range of financial products could save you hundreds of pounds."

Notes to Editors:

Opinium Research conducted the research of 2010 Online interviews between 13 - 15th March 2013. Results are nationally representative.

* Source ONS compares (at 30th Jan 2013)

  • 134 car insurance brands and 97 home insurance brands
  • 9 broadband providers and 20 energy providers   
  • 31 unsecured loan and 5 secured loan providers
  • 62 mortgage lenders and 27 credit card providers
  • 62 savings providers and 37 current account providers.
  • Over 630,000 mobile phone deals

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