A recent survey has highlighted that people in the UK are facing harder financial times than ever before. The survey showed that around half of people in the country are unable to afford the groceries that they need on a regular basis. The survey also showed how around 20 percent of people are having to borrow money just to make the most basic monthly payments.
The other 80 percent commented that they have had to use up some of the savings money in order to afford items essential for survival. These figures are significantly worse than what was being seen in 2006 when around half as many people said that they were struggling financially. The survey showed that less than half of people feel that they are able to get by on their current salary.
One of the reasons why people are struggling so much is because of the increased cost of living. A consumer group has recently found that in the last year the price of simple items such as cucumbers have gone up 20 percent. The study also looked at the cost of making a simple meal, spaghetti bolognese, and it found that the cost of this meal has increased by nearly a third.
The survey was conducted by Which? and was designed to look at how the economic downturn was having an effect on everyday people in the country. The buying behaviour of people, since 2010, has significantly changed. For example, people are now shopping around at different supermarkets for groceries.
There has also been an increase in the number of people buying second-hand clothing and not taking an annual holiday. More negative financial signals, such as an increased amount of credit card debt, have also shown how people are struggling.
The Internet is becoming a major factor,and is used by people who are looking for lower prices. Nearly 40 percent of people say that they have started looking on the Internet for lower prices since the financial recession began.
The effects of the economic recession are penetrating all parts of the country, and pubs and restaurants have been suffering particularly badly. Since 2006 the number of people going to pubs and restaurants has consistently declined.
Economic difficulties are also having a significant effect on the mental health of the country and more people are reported to be having anxiety and depression. However, over 60 percent of people stated that they were satisfied with the quality of their life. This is still a significant fall though from the nearly 80 percent who said they were satisfied before the financial recession began.
Unsurprisingly, those who had a smaller household income were less likely to save, given that they were unable to cope with the financial conditions they were facing. Interestingly however, even for those with a household income that is significantly above average, they did not say that they were coping much better than those who were on significantly lower incomes.
It seems that in these hard financial times, there is not a strong correlation between life satisfaction and income. Around 25 percent of people with an income of around £50,000 said that they are finding it difficult to get by with their current salary.
Christmas is still having an effect on people’s finances and the survey also highlighted that people are now more in debt than they were a few months ago. The average increase figure is around £300 and this is largely because people spent too much money over the holidays. A large amount of this debt has been accumulated through loans, credit cards or overdraft facilities.