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People Need To Take 'Serious Attention' Towards Spending

Jan 26, 2008
Consumers need to take steps to get to grips with their finances, it has been suggested.

Research carried out by uSwitch has indicated that Britons are increasingly struggling with their money management as about a third of people have no cash left in their bank account by the end of month. Meanwhile, some 4.8 million people spend more money than they earn, as some nine million just about break even. Overall, the average consumer has 157 pounds remaining in their account.

According to the price comparison website, Britain has a "work hard, play hard" lifestyle as people look to use credit to finance a lifestyle of luxury. Between 1997 and 2007, spending on non-essential items went up at 2.5 times the rate of inflation. The study also indicated that debt repayments have gone up by some 104 per cent during this period of time as about six million consumers look to borrow, which could include through loans and credit cards, each month to help supplement their spending.

Not including mortgages, those living in Yorkshire and the Humberside region have the highest level of debt, owing some 7,484 pounds. They are followed by households in the east of England and the south-east who are an average of 7,364 pounds and 7,266 pounds in the red respectively.
On the other hand residents in Northern Ireland seem to be the most adept at managing their money as they owe just 4,941 pounds.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: "Britain is suffering from a bad case of 'affluenza'. We are caught in the grip of a spiral of conspicuous consumption where it's no longer enough to keep up with the Joneses, but instead we want to live like our favourite celebrities. But it's clear that our salaries can't keep up with our 'Hello' lifestyles. The shock reports from the high street are the first signal that this trend is changing and, with the credit crunch beginning to bite, consumers need to start paying serious attention to their spending habits."

Findings from the price comparison website also showed that mortgage costs have "contributed significantly" to rising debt levels. Since 1997, monthly payments on this area have surged by 71 per cent from 122 pounds to stand at 209 pounds in 2007. Also unsecured loan payments have gone up by 73 per cent over the last ten years, while some 2.5 million are relying on their overdrafts to help them meet the gap in between their earnings and their expenditure.

Pointing to figures showing low sales on the high street in December, Ms Robinson added that an increasing number of people are looking to rein in their spending. She stated: "But the shock reports barely scratch the surface of the struggle facing consumers this year. Now is the time for a financial makeover and for everyone to take a long hard look at their budget."

Those concerned about handling their finances over the coming months may wish to consider getting a debt consolidation loan. In getting such a loan, borrowers could find that they are able to meet numerous demands on their spending at once, leaving them with more disposable income in their bank account each month. A cheap consolidation loan might be of particular use to people from Norwich after the city's Citizens Advice branch recently reported that the numbers of people coming to it for help on monetary matters has increased by 65 per cent over the last year. It was also revealed that seven per cent of people in Norfolk looking for assistance with their spending owe over 100,000 pounds via unsecured loans and credit cards.
About the Author
Tom Dawson writes for Essentially Home Loans. Our visitors can apply online for secured personal loans and debt consolidation loans at the lowest interest rates.
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