Britons taking ‘increasingly sensible’ approach to finances

Britons are saving an average of £89 a month as they seek to adopt a sensible approach to their finances. 

NS&I's latest Quarter…

Britons are saving an average of £89 a month as they seek to adopt a sensible approach to their finances. 

NS&I's latest Quarterly Savings Survey demonstrates the changing nature of people's saving behaviour, as the figure compares favourably with £85 from five years ago and £82 a decade ago.

The biggest change over the last ten years has been the increasing use of the internet, as 74 per cent of savers are now managing their money online, up from 29 per cent in 2004. The web makes it much easier for people to keep on top of their finances, while internet-only accounts also offer higher savings rates. 

With the proliferation of smartphone and tablet apps, the budgeting options for people are set to increase and this should help them to be vigilant.

"The way customers use and access the internet is changing, and in turn, the way they manage their money is changing," said Julian Hynd, director of retail at NS&I.

"Over the last ten years we saw a switch from customers banking at branches to going online. Over the next decade, we will see smartphone and tablets emerge as a key means for money management as customers look to take more control of their finances while on the move or at a time that is convenient to them," he added.

Savings worries increase

Despite the fact people are actually saving more on average than ten years ago, fears over putting money aside are actually on the increase. Only 14 per cent feel confident about the level of saving they have carried out in the past decade, while 35 per cent feel the same.

Attitudes are also shifting somewhat, as one-fifth of Britons are now saving for the short-term. This is a risky policy, as people should always be in a position where they can handle an unexpected bill or change in their personal circumstances. For example, conventional wisdom dictates individuals need to have three months' wages set aside in case anything goes wrong. 

Males are still saving much more than their female counterparts, although the gap has narrowed. While men typically set £115 aside, women are hoarding £81 a month.

Adopting a more responsible attitude 

There has been a significant shift in saving goals, as they have become more practical in nature. Fewer people are now saving for a holiday or special occasion, as home purchases, mortgage payments and home improvements increase in popularity. 

Patrick Connolly, head of communications at Chase de Vere, is glad to see that Britons are starting to save more. "The financial crisis has helped some people to understand the importance of having money available for a rainy day," he added.

However, he thinks too many people are still failing to grasp the importance of putting money aside for the future and this could come back to haunt them. If individuals do not keep on top of their finances, they could develop debt problems. 

By Amy White

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