Savings rates may not be setting the world on fire, but any returns are better than none – which is why it's so surprising to find that almost a quarter of UK adults could be missing out on long-term savings benefits.
Research from Santander has found that 24% of respondents have no idea where to put their savings or feel that it makes no difference where their savings end up, which means a large number of people could be missing out on valuable returns. Even more concerning is the fact that 10% said that knowing where to put their money is irrelevant as they have no money to save, highlighting the pressure many people's budgets are coming under.
Even those who do save aren't always able to squirrel much away, with an average of £120 being saved each month (or a quarter of average disposable income), with 26% of respondents admitting that they'd like to be able to save more regularly. A further 23% save less than 10% of their disposable income, and 18% say that they don't save anything at all in the average month.
While much of this inability to save could be due to not being paid enough – 49% of respondents said that being paid more would help them save – some of it could be due to poor savings habits in general, with 22% admitting that having better discipline and commitment to saving would be the most helpful factor.
The research also found that 61% of respondents have been shocked by their bank balance and the amount they've spent, with 8% admitting that this happens every time they check. This suggests that many people could benefit from getting in the savings habit, but to begin with, it could be worth focusing on improving spending habits.
For example, why not take the advice of the 36% who said they avoid shops altogether in order to avoid spending money? A further 21% cut back on socialising and 24% reduce their leisure activities, while others take more extreme measures, such as cancelling their credit cards (19%), freezing cards in a block of ice (14%) and giving themselves a weekly cash allowance (32%).
Some of these may seem extreme, but they could well do the trick, and you may even find you have more disposable income left over that can be squirreled away into a savings account. You don't need to focus on big lump sums, either – even saving small amounts on a regular basis can soon add up, perhaps into an easy access account or even a regular savings account to really kick-start the savings habit, and you could soon notice the difference to your balance.
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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