Since the pandemic began, 45% of households have started scrutinising their finances more regularly, compared to just 4% who said they paid less attention to their spending, according to new research from comparethemarket.com. The research also found that for those who are paying closer attention to their outgoings, nearly half (45%) are concerned about running out of money.
The research indicates that households are more worried about their finances with 51% stating that they have seen the cost of their monthly bills rise over the past 12 months. The wider economic impact of the pandemic means that many are now struggling. Two in five families with children at home also have fears that they will fall into debt if the cost of their energy were to increase.
Despite seeing their bills increase, four in 10 households (42%) admit they don’t regularly compare other providers for cheaper or more suitable deals once their contract periods end. For some regular bills, such as mobile phones and energy, this could mean these households are paying far more than they need to for these services. Previous research from comparethemarket.com found households could typically save £494 if they switch to the cheapest suppliers for all their bills. As a result, one in three (33%) households believes providers should be doing more to tell them when their contract comes to an end.
In addition, most households don’t go into detail when reviewing their finances. While 86% check their bank balances at least once a month when reviewing their finances, just 30% look at their energy bills, and only 28% check how much they are spending on subscriptions at least once a month. As a result, unused or unneeded subscriptions are putting further pressure on household finances. One in five households (21%) are paying for subscriptions they forgot about or no longer use. These households are typically spending a huge £265 each year on the services which they don’t need.
However, spending on unused subscriptions varies significantly by age. Nearly half of bill payers under the age of 25 (47%) have subscriptions that they don’t use, and these young people are squandering an average of £344 on these services each year. Only 9% of people aged over 55 have unused subscriptions, but these people are still wasting an average of £164 on them each year.
Ursula Gibbs, Director at comparethemarket.com, said “Households have seen their monthly bills increase over the last year as many have been forced to use more broadband and electricity while working from home. It is concerning that so many people are barely managing to make ends meet. Our research shows just how important it is for these people to be aware that they should check for cheaper deals when their contracts expire. Our latest Meerkat Your Bills event gives households the chance to clean up their finances after a tough year and benefit from exclusive deals to save them money.”