Financial pressures leave one in six adults have nothing left to spend each month after paying essential bills, according to a new survey.
So many families are struggling with their finances that 16% have no cash left after paying the bills, while another 19% have less than £50 left in their pockets.
Altogether, more than a third of families could not pay living costs or their day-to-day bills if the economy worsened, says the survey by financial firm Scottish Widows.
As a result of stress over money, four out of 10 families are neglecting their finances, says the firm’s third annual Priorities of Life Index.
The index highlights that 21% adults have "a lot less" money” than last year, and 26% have "a little less" left over at the end of the month than they did a year earlier.
Around 7 million (15%) said the economic climate has really hit their finances, with 4.4 million (9%) unsure about their future and 6.1 million (13%) feeling the squeeze.
A fifth (21%) blamed too much debt on their financial problems.
Money problems have led to many (47%) cutting luxuries, a third (32%) have cancelled plans for a holiday and a similar number (33%) have stopped saving because they have no spare cash.
The firm’s savings expert, Catherine Stewart, said: "When money is tight, it's important to spend time prioritising your finances. It is vital that we all have a thorough understanding of what we can do to make sure we are as comfortable as possible, and that we understand exactly where savings can be made.
“Even though times are tough, it is important to remember that whatever money we can put aside can only be of benefit in the long run. If people are worried about getting their finances under control then it's a good idea to ask for help and get independent advice.”
That advice can explore options about managing debts to cut outgoings, like an informal financial management plan to more far-reaching IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) or bankruptcy.
Just as Scottish Widows explains, the key to managing debt and finances is controlling spending with a robust budget.
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