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Thrifty ingenuity in the cost-of-living crisis

LifeSearch author John Rogers
3 min read

by John Rogers, Marketing Executive

See author bio

John is a Protection expert, having worked in our customer facing teams and best practice teams, and now is immersed in Protection Content and Marketing. See author bio

Published 11 May 2023

The cost-of-living crisis. Inflation. Energy bills. In the most recent two editions of Health, Wealth & Happiness, we’ve learned the extent to which the economic situation is hurting people’s finances and mental health. This is reality up and down the country and all across the socio-economic spectrum. 

Once again in 2023 – in a world where there’s plenty to be anxious about – the cost-of-living crisis is the one thing above all others that’s responsible for driving down our mental health and wellbeing.

Some 31% of UK men, rising to 39% of UK women, pin their ailing mental health on money and the cost-of-living crisis above all other things. And while all age groups are suffering, the financial squeeze is doing more mental health damage to 35-54-year-olds (42%) than it is younger (18-34, 39%) or older folks (55+, 27%). 

From big moves to daily changes

There’s not much good news in the above. Not much good news anywhere right now. A lot of Britons have had to make big sweeping changes – we know 2% nationally rising to 4% among 18-34-year-olds have had to move back in with family – to make ends meet.

But the majority of savings aren’t being made by big-ticket means. They live in those everyday behaviour changes that can, it seems, really add up. 
For example, nearly one in four (24%) say they’ve switched supermarkets and estimate they’ve racked up over £62 per month in savings as a result. The one in five (21%) now shopping more at charity or second-hand stores say they’re banking an extra £57 per month.

Amazingly, the 5% of Brits who now carpool or take public transport more often have been able to hold onto an extra £85 in an average month. Meanwhile, over half of all Brits (55%) say they’re putting the heating on less and saving £54 per month on average by doing so. 

A quarter of us (25%) are using appliances less often and saving £33 on average per month, while changing cooking and eating habits has helped 17% of Brits save £49 per month on average. 

Understandably, reducing charitable donations has become necessary and the 16% of Brits doing so have clawed back nearly £31 per head per month as a result. The 3% of us who’ve either stopped or reduced pension contributions have reinjected an average of nearly £160 into the monthly budget. 

Who says crime doesn’t pay?

The situation’s not good. Cutting pension and charity contributions – certainly changing living situation – are moves mostly born of necessity. 

But in our search for a sliver of silver lining, it’s heartening to read that there’s extra ingenuity in play as Brits claw a little back …

Please note there’s no judgement here. Oh and by the same token, LifeSearch do not advocate illegal anything … isn’t that right, Michael?

Cue sneakery. Did you know you can save nearly £74 per month by sharing your online streaming passwords with friends and family? You do now, if the data handed back to us by UK 18-34-year-olds is anything to go by. 

Ditto, illegal streaming – i.e., not paying for shows, films, games or music at all – will save you over £105 per month according, once again, to UK under-35s. Move up an age group and UK 35-54-year-olds are slightly more modest in their thievery - yet still report saving £71.60 per month owing to online chicanery. 

My rubber duck? At the gym

We’ve covered the following in previous Health, Wealth & Happiness reports, so at this point showering at the gym or the office are time-tested methods of saving cash.

Nonetheless, we now have a pounds and pence figure to go by and, for the UK as a whole, there’s a steamy hot £68 per month up for grabs if you change hygiene habits. 

Similarly, the notion of burning unnecessary heating, lighting and electricity at home when there’s a perfectly good workplace or coworking space nearby hasn’t gone unnoticed. As such, workers reckon they’ve saved a cool £114 per month by working from home less.

Limiting a bad situation

We are trying to lighten the tone on what’s a problematic and stressful chapter for so, so many of us. 

The cost-of-living crisis has resulted in more than half (52%) of all Brits saying they feel ‘worse off’ now than they did 12 months ago. And when asked to put a pounds and pence figure on how much worse off we’ll be, all things considered, the national average shook out at £233 per month.

That’s not good, but it’s worse if you’re 18-34. 

UK 18-34-year-olds predict they’ll be nearly £367 per month worse off in the next few months. With that, then, you might be more tempted to forgive some password-sharing here and shower-pinching there …

LifeSearch author John Rogers
John Rogers Marketing Executive
A ‘Searcher since 2015, John is a Protection expert having worked in our customer facing teams and best practice teams, and now is immersed in Protection Content and Marketing.
See all articles by John Rogers
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