Strike a healthy financial balance

More people worry about money troubles than they do their health, a new study reveals

According to a recent study around 31 per cent of us say our finances are our biggest daily worry
According to a recent study around 31 per cent of us say our finances are our biggest daily worry

As the new year gets under way, many of us have our fingers crossed that we’ll be feeling better off financially in 2015, especially as the economy continues to recover.

But for just under one in three people, there will be no fresh start from worrying about how they can make ends meet.

Niggling concerns about finances – with thoughts of that credit card bill/overdraft debt/expensive car repair – will continue to seep into their day-to-day life.

In fact, according to new research from website MoneySuperMarket, around 31 per cent of us say our finances are our biggest daily worry.

While this figure represents a fall from the 36 per cent of people who said this when it carried out a similar survey a year ago, for many people financial woes clearly remain at the top of their list of concerns, with around twice as many people worrying about money than they do about their health (16 per cent).

Women are more likely to worry about money than men, the research suggests, and younger people are also more inclined to fret about their finances, with two -thirds (66 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they frequently or occasionally worry about money, compared with 29 per cent of those aged 65 or over.

People living in the West Midlands were the most likely to cite money as their top day-to-day concern, while those in Yorkshire and the Humber were the least likely (according to the research among more than 2,000 people carried out last month).

SO WHAT'S BEHIND THESE WORRIES?

Well, many people said that the rising cost of living has been a key factor, coming at a time when wages have remained pretty stagnant.

Some cited concerns about the potential for their mortgage payments to increase in 2015, amid expectations that the Bank of England base rate could start to move off its historic 0.5 per cent low in the coming months, pushing up the cost of borrowing.

Dan Plant, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, says: “It’s great to see that the number of sleepless nights caused by money worries fell in 2014.

“That we’ve seen living costs, such as petrol and diesel prices decrease, coupled with an energy market which hasn’t raised prices this winter, is likely to have eased financial pressures for some households, and allowed us to unwind a bit.

“However, money troubles haven’t gone away. Worrying about how you’ll make ends meet each month can really take its toll.”

Having a spring clean through your household bills to see where you can cut down, looking to see if you can switch to a cheaper provider and finding any areas where you can cut back such as cancelling subscriptions you don’t use may be options for some.

Signing up to websites which offer cashback such as Quidco and Topcashback could also help you to shave money off any purchases you make.

For those who are worried about sinking into a debt spiral, free help is available from organisations such as StepChange Debt Charity, the National Debtline and Citizens Advice.

StepChange recently suggested every household should build up an emergency savings buffer of at least £1,000 to enable them to cope with unexpected financial shocks.

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