It seems that the recent signs of improvement in the savings market could be having an impact on savers, with many still keen to squirrel away a serious amount of cash over the next year, equating to a whopping £93.5bn across the UK.
That's according to research from VoucherCodes.co.uk and YouGov, which shows that UK adults are planning to save an average of £1,821 each in 2017, a pretty decent sum by anyone's standards. Unfortunately, it isn't all good news – the amount people are expecting to save this year is 10% less than in 2016 (£2,040), and 27% of respondents believe their financial situation will get worse in the year ahead.
However, this doesn't mean that people will be actively shying away from treating themselves, as although Brits plan to save 38% of their disposable income in a dedicated account, the remaining 62% will be allocated to holidays, eating out and other non-essentials. This suggests that many respondents have more of a "live for today" mentality, with thoughts of saving for the future often being secondary.
Indeed, even those who are saving don't always have long-term goals in mind. Building a 'rainy day' fund was cited as the top reason for saving, followed by holidays, with 21% of respondents actively setting money aside to afford a trip away this year. This is far higher on the priority list than saving for a new home (7%), or saving towards a pension (7%), and just 4% are saving up to pay off debts.
In many cases, it can simply be too difficult to set aside money on a regular basis, as although 71% of respondents manage to save money regularly, 10% admit they struggle to find enough spare cash to save. A third of those say that their outgoings are too high to have anything else left over, while 22% have credit card debts to pay off, and 30% admit they're simply not disciplined enough to save money.
Others are having to change their spending habits this year, with 35% tightening the purse strings because of a change in job prospects, while 20% are saving for a one-off event and 18% are preparing for the potential impact of Britain leaving the EU. Even those that are saving may not keep it for long, with many being forced to dip into their savings on a regular basis: 22% of respondents admit that they do so, resulting in an estimated £266 a year disappearing from their stash, often just to make ends meet.
"Brits seem to have the best intentions when it comes to saving, with a healthy 71% of the nation able to save a little each month," said Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk. "However, it's clear that some are feeling nervous about their financial situation this year, whether that's due to changes in personal circumstances or wider economic concerns, which will impact the spending and saving habits of many over the course of the year."
She advises that "small, practical changes to your spending can make a real difference when reaching your saving goals," from checking money-saving apps or browsing for online vouchers before that shopping spree or meal out, to doing your research to make sure you're getting the best deal on everything from holidays to savings accounts. Those small savings can soon add up and can help ensure you're able to put away a bit extra each month, hopefully bringing you closer to your savings goal.
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