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UK – Two-fifths living paycheque to paycheque

25 September 2013

As the economy continues its slow climb out of the recession, workers across the UK continue to struggle with their financial responsibilities. Two-fifths (42%) of workers report ‘consistently’ living paycheque to paycheque usually or always just to make ends meet, down from 51% in 2012.

This is according to CareerBuilder.co.uk's survey of 400 workers across the UK conducted by Consumer Analysis Limited during August 2013. An additional, 30% say they ‘sometimes’ live paycheque to paycheque, up sharply from 25% in 2012. 

While 74% of workers claim to be more financially responsible since the recession began, down from 80% last year, making ends meet has come as a result of changes they have had to make in their everyday lives. When asked what tactics they used to make ends meet, workers said:

  • Cut back on leisure activities – 51%
  • Use coupons/vouchers/shopped at discount stores - 48%
  • Stopped eating out - 42%
  • Drove less to save on petrol - 25%
  • Used public transport - 13%

Though workers say they have given things up to help with their financial situation, there a few things that, when asked, they could absolutely not live without; including their internet connection, mobile, pet, and car.

Scott Helmes, Managing Director of CareerBuilder UK, said: "While workers are often amongst the first to feel the pinch during any economic ripple, they are also resilient and able to find ways to maintain a good quality of life. Just like a company making changes to stay in business long-term, workers need to look to make adjustments to make their paycheques, go a lot further and improve their financial health."

The recession may not only be causing short-term problems for workers, but long-term, as well, as some workers are not focusing on their financial future. 31% of workers say they are not saving any money each month, while 29% save less than £50 and 40% less than £100.

Scott Helmes offers the following tips for riding out the economic downturn and preparing for the future:

  • Look at your expenses under a microscope - Takeout coffee, restaurant lunches and other common everyday expenses can make a dent in your checking account. Create a spreadsheet to analyse what you spend each month, and once you can see where your money goes, you can more easily see where you can cut back.
  • Put an amount away, even if it is small - Regardless of the amount, set aside money each month for your short and long-term savings. If you have trouble remembering or fitting savings into your budget, try setting up an automatic deposit into a savings account.
  • Savings may be right under your nose - Talk to your HR department about how you can make the most of the benefits at your organization. Find out if your company offers discounts to stores or for other services, and ask about how you can make sure you've selected the right benefits plans for your budget.

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