What's left in your back pocket at the end of the month and what do you do with it – spend what little's left on some well-earned treats or, with a lot of self-restraint, tuck it away in a savings account?
When the average Briton is left with just £148 spending money each month after essential bills and expenses, they could hardly be blamed for not thinking along the savings line, but it appears many are still extremely disciplined and are putting a large part away for a rainy day.
These figures come from a new Disposable Income Index by Scottish Friendly which reveals that despite taking home an average monthly salary of £2,171 after tax, less than a tenth remains in people's pockets after paying bills such as rent and utilities.
As always, there are regional variations, but no part of the UK can claim to have plenty to spend on luxuries, with people in Scotland left with the most disposable income each month at £160 and people in Northern Ireland with the lowest at only £125.
Despite having such a small sum left over, people are still keeping a conscientious head on when it comes to saving, with 54% still managing to put some away on a monthly basis. On average, people put aside £72 each month and 47% of those who save actually manage to stash away £100 or more.
The savings habit could be down to people's fears for the future, with consumers sensibly putting something by to fall back on as 25% think their financial situation is likely to worsen over the next three months. Though it seems the savings bug has just caught on generally, with 56% not having a specific reason for putting money aside.
Neil Lovatt of Scottish Friendly, comments: "There has been a transformation in the British mindset when it comes to managing finances. In the recent past, household budgets were very much driven by borrowing. However, the emphasis now seems to have gone full circle and we have returned to a post war emphasis on saving and paying down debt, despite many having to deal with a very tight budget."
It seems that a lot of consumers view saving as a top priority, with one in three people questioned saying that saving into an ISA or savings account each month is an essential part of the monthly budget while over half of the UK believes that it is vital to pay into a pension.
It's all about making your money work harder, so with savings fever hitting the UK, what are you going to do with your hard-earned cash? If you need a bit of an extra push to get into the savings habit, how about opening a regular savings account to encourage you to put a little away often – you will soon see your efforts mount up. You also need to consider taking advantage of your tax-free allowance and opening an ISA can be a fantastic way of saving – keeping your cash away from the tax man's clutches.
If you are happy to lock your money away for a while, there are some competitive rates to be had from notice and fixed rate accounts (currently the top fixed rate comes from FirstSave with its seven-year bond paying 3.50%) and don't underestimate the value of a current account either, as some are now paying top rates of interest on smaller investments with many incentives to boot, such as the Classic Plus account from TSB with its 5% interest rate.
So, with a little self-discipline and a good savings account you can join the nation in the savings habit – and don't worry if you can only afford to put aside a small amount. If you save regularly and with the interest building up, you'll soon begin to build up a nice little nest egg.
Find the best savings account for you.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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