Families ‘face £1,800 of shock bills’ each year

Families have to find up to £1,800 every year to meet sudden and unexpected costs, a study has revealed.

Research by M&S Money found that…

Families have to find up to £1,800 every year to meet sudden and unexpected costs, a study has revealed.

Research by M&S Money found that the average monthly surplus per family is £892, but bills appearing out of the blue can lead to this being exceeded, putting them into debt.

The highest average cost is a car repair bill, with this typically coming to £268 and being an issue 52 per cent of families faced last year.

Some expenses were higher – over £400 – but were faced by only around a quarter of families, such as having to replace a major appliance like a washing machine, replacing a computer or having a boiler fixed.

Top of the list for cost was being invited to a wedding abroad at £950, although only six per cent faced this, while second was solicitors fees (£894), a problem for eight per cent.

More common occurrences included 40 per cent of families having to find cash for a school day trip at a cost of £71 and 38 per cent needing new car tyres (£213).

Head of savings at M&S Money Paul Stokes said: "While many household budgets are already stretched it is important for families to plan ahead and save what they can to ensure they're in the best position should any unexpected expenses arise."

Such examples of additional expense are an indication of how good financial planning can help prevent debt problems getting worse.

Earlier this week, the Guardian published research indicating that 3.6 million working families in Britain are just one large, unexpected bill away from being in severe financial difficulty.

It said the situation indicates that simply relying on work as a means to escape poverty is not proving true for many people.

And rather than being a problem of the north and inner cities as some might imagine, the most at-risk area was Torbay in Devon.

Posted by Paul Thacker
 

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