Unexpected bills ‘causing debt heartache for UK consumers’

Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of UK consumers faced unexpected bills or payments last year typically totalling over £1,100.

New researc…

Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of UK consumers faced unexpected bills or payments last year typically totalling over £1,100.

New research by the Money Advice Service has found not enough people budgeted effectively over the course of the 12-month period, as 33 per cent of the population ended the year with no savings whatsoever.

Car repairs (29 per cent) was the most popular unexpected cost, followed by trips to the opticians (15 per cent), a technology breakdown (15 per cent) and vets bills (14 per cent). 

This means these individuals could fall into the red if they are not careful, as they are clearly struggling to make ends meet from one month to the next. 

Some 46 per cent of respondents admitted they are concerned about how they would pay an unexpected bill, while 25 per cent admitted they would be forced to take on debt if this situation arose.

In terms of what is the most expensive unforeseen cost, loans to loved ones (12 per cent) featured highly, with people giving an average of £2,482 to other family members to help them get by.

Two in five UK adults have not been able to save anything in the past six months, while only 27 per cent are confident they can afford to put money aside every four weeks. 

Caroline Rookes, chief executive officer of the Money Advice Service, said: "These results highlight the financial and emotional strain that just one unforeseen emergency bill can bring. 

"With millions of homes experiencing unexpected costs of over £1,000 each year, it's vital people know how they might cope. We urge everyone to plan for rainy days and build up a buffer to cover unforeseen costs."

She added setting a small initial target – such as £3 a day – could make the difference in the long-term and help people out if they are given an unexpected bill. 

By James Francis 

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