A high number of British adults have found themselves unprepared for unexpected costs and have had to rely on friends, family or even credit to pay for them in the past 12 months, according to new research.

The survey of 1,035 UK adults carried out by home heating oil supplier, SuperSaverOil.com, found that almost half (44%) of Brits have had to rely on a form of credit such as an overdraft or credit card at least once in the past 12 months, to pay for an unexpected living cost they had not budgeted for.

A quarter (25%) have dipped into their savings, while 19% say they have even had to borrow money from friends or family to cover the unexpected cost.

Car repairs (72%) were the most common cost Britons have struggled to pay, while two-thirds (66%) have incurred unexpected home repair costs such as a broken boiler or a burst pipe.

More than half (52%) have received a utility bill they were not expecting, while almost 1 in 3 (32%) have run up a large phone bill they had not budgeted for. Medical costs such as a dentist bill (21%), completed the top 5.

Mark Hackett, Project Manager at SuperSaverOil.com said “It’s quite surprising to see how many Britons are having to rely on other sources of funds to pay for unexpected living costs. While budgeting based on ongoing monthly expenditure is certainly better than nothing, it’s important to keep a pot of money aside – a rainy day fund – that is there to use should any significant unexpected costs crop up.”

“Unfortunately, it’s quite common for cars to break down, need a new tyre, or for homes to experience a leak, and as annoying as it is, we should be prepared for this financially. Not only will it mean the situation is likely to cause less stress when it does arise, but it will make you feel more financially stable day to day, knowing you’re on top of everything.”

Top 5 unexpected costs for British adults:

  1. Car repairs (e.g. brake down costs, new tyres, failed MOT etc.) – 72%
  2. Utility bills (e.g. heating bill being higher than usual etc.) – 66%
  3. Home repairs (e.g. a broken boiler, a leaking pipe, an electricity fault etc.) – 52%
  4. Phone bill (e.g. call or data charges while abroad, calls to 0870 etc.) – 32%
  5. Medical bill (e.g. a dentist bill, or doctors bill while abroad etc.)