Rising number of people worried about personal finances

22nd September 2023

Household money worries have hit their highest level in 2023 as year-on-year spending continues to rise, according to Nationwide Building Society’s monthly Spending Report.

A recent survey conducted by the society reveals that a growing number of people are worried about their personal finances and their ability to cover basic expenses. The survey found that 32% of respondents have £100 or less in their bank account at the end of each month, while 9% have no money left at all. The percentage of people concerned about paying for essentials has risen to 69%, up from 57% in July and 62% in August.

The poll of 2,000 respondents shows that the average person now had a debt of £8,000 on their credit card.

The survey found that nearly seven in ten (69%) are concerned about their personal finances and ability to cover essential costs. Having started to trend downwards, the last two months have seen people’s pessimism grow – hitting 62 per cent in August and 57 per cent in July.

Spending on mortgage payments in August was up 11 per cent year on year, while spend on rent payments increased 19 per cent compared to last year. Whilst the amount spent on paying off loans reduced by five per cent year on year, while repayments to credit cards increased by five per cent.

While many people are continuing to cut back, Nationwide’s research also reveals almost three in 10 (28%) of consumers have spent money on something that they’ve kept hidden from their partner or their family, with 18 per cent having done it more than once. Men are slightly more likely spend money on something they’ve kept a secret (31%) compared to women (25%), whereas when it comes to different ages, 42 per cent of those aged 18-34 admit they’ve done it, compared to just 13 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

For those spending money secretly, more than a third (37%) said it made them feel guilty, while 25 per cent were happy about doing it and 21 per cent admitting they were excited doing so.

Mark Nalder, Payments Strategy & Performance Director at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Money worries have peaked this year, which is perhaps not a surprise after many people juggled the expectation to spend during the summer with continued high living costs. As we enter the autumn, households will hope for some respite before the return of colder weather and the need to heat homes once again. While energy costs have dipped from their peak last year, the return of high utility bills will not be a welcome sight for many. Just as we saw last year, we expect many to cut back into their discretionary spending in order to manage their budgets.”