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Pennies in purse

Millions of us don’t save any money at all

Are you taking enough advantage of savings opportunities available to you? The potential savings available to UK households rose by £124 in the past year, but 13 million of us saved nothing at all in the past 12 months.

Perhaps even more surprising, according to the research by the Post Office, eight million have never saved anything at all.

Over the past 12 months, the research suggests the average UK household has an increase of £124 in potential savings available.

This is mainly due to improvements in the economy, and takes into account housing and living costs, including the price of holidays and even drinks in the pub.

But, by not saving at all, many families might find themselves without a safety net if faced with an unexpected cost.

This is a particular concern as a number of factors, including recovery in inflation and an increase in interest rates, could see the amount of potential savings available drop again next year.

Here is why it’s important to make sure you put money aside.

Getting into a savings habit

There are a number of reasons to save up.

The most important, is making sure you have enough money available to cover unexpected costs.

How would you cope if your boiler broke down in the middle of winter?  What about if your car broke down, or you were made redundant? Of course, these aren’t things people want to think about, but if you can, it’s important to have a buffer in place.

It is recommended you try to put away three months’ worth of living expenses to build a short-term safety net.


Another reason to save up, is to make sure that you’re able to live comfortably in the future.

You might think retirement is way off, but once you stop working, you're likely to have much less money coming in.

Building up your savings can help you maintain your standard of living in the here and now too.

You might want to buy something, maybe a new car, the latest phone, or some new clothes.

Either way, saving up for a luxury is usually a better idea than borrowing to buy it.

Borrowing might mean you get your hands on the item faster, but can prove much more costly in the long run.


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  • Michael Ralley / 14 November 2015

    I believe that if you cannot afford to save you cannot afford to borrow.

  • Barry / 10 November 2015

    Hi, Saving to me is second nature, as a pensioner, never had a credit card or loan in my life. If you buy products not makes, then you can depending on your salary or benefits save hundreds if not thousands a year. I come from a family in the old days who always saved as much as they could. I buy when in shops own make goods go to primark tjhughes lidl aldi Tesco asda and others, because look at the prices for clothes you pay on all levels and I find its a good idea to save in boxes or whatever you have in the house all your loose cash for a year or less and you'll save a lot . Also if you get a youth hostel card its about £9 a year you can get great bargains if you travel to hotels that cost hundreds of pounds a week you get if a couple for £25 a week that includes villa's and apartments if you want to say go to the rio carnival new Orleans etc Some of the top hotels in the world you can stay for £25 per week if a couple and £40 if single, plus if you want to go to a certain place at a certain time then get in contact with the hotel and arrange with them a time that would be suitable for them, that way you cut out the travel agaents fee of around £5 maybe 600 a week, theres lots of ways to save money. Charity shops are great as well. If you want top makes you'll pay a lot for them from a charity shop its about a fiver or less for the same items. Going to local farmers markets in your area will keep you well and save money and if you want perfume or aftershave, then go to poundworld poundland savers bodycare and such shops. The makes are unfamiliar but most are made by the same companies you pay a lot of money for, only they do deals with smaller companies you'll see on the backs of there products, why, because under there original name they don't sell a lot, but teaming up with small companies who can shift millions of units everyday both make a fortune.So instead of pay £25 or 50 pounds plus for items you want just think first whats cheaper can save me money can feed and take the family holidays all by making a simple choice and tere are many more ways to save if you just put your mind to it like my generation has done for decades you can do it as well and pass what you've learned onto your family if you have one. All the best and hope you do what my generation does everyday. You can even make things from nothing these days and improve your house. Good luck to you all.

  • Kay Heywood / 8 November 2015

    I put more money than I need into the bank account I use for my direct debits, the same amount every week out of my pension. Then I can't take it out of my bank account if I want to spend some money without transferring it to my current account first, the amount left in the account quickly builds up and because it's the same amount every week I've got used to that and I don't miss it.

  • Susanne House / 8 November 2015

    The problem is as someone has pointed out earlier, this is "one size fits all" advice which will not be relevant to everyone. If it was, there would be no need for IFA 'S and those guys would not survive. Perhaps if we all take this advice we will have been miss-sold at some point in the future!! Seriously though, I am a single female 10 years off retirement with a full state pension in place due to no gaps in my employment since 16 years old (no children) only now to discover that everyone will get the full state pension (gaps or not) and in my 50's my pension age has moved three times since I started work to 67 years!! I fully appreciate that state pension ages have to increase but at 18 years old you have plenty of time to plan but when retirement date changes are forced on you that near to retirement you are pretty well stuffed. I have made other provisions for my retirement as well, but given my time again I'm not sure I would not just go out and spend and let the state pick up the tab at the end. There is no real incentive to save and therein lies the problem.

  • Ann Naylor / 8 November 2015


  • Ann Goss / 8 November 2015

    I got into debt, credit cards, loans, etc 'cos I "wanted" stuff, NOT 'cos I "NEEDED" stuff. Ended up with an IVA, five years of pying, and not allowed to have credit over £500 or credit card etc. BUT, it is now over (September was the last payment) and oh! what a huge burden off my shoulder! Learned to cope wevy well without all the credit, paid cahs for everything!! Wonderful feeling and will never get into debt again and can now save!! Freedom at last from worry, etc. And I am on the state pension!.

  • Tony Comley / 8 November 2015

    I find it fascinating that you use a picture of a lady holding a coin of the USA into her purse. Are you suggesting we should invest in dollars? I must check out the exchange rate.

  • Temitope Bello / 6 November 2015

    Even though saving is a big task for me... I still save anyway and I am happy... Thank you for your counsel

  • Sue Proud / 2 November 2015

    I was brought up if you can't afford it you shouldn't have it till you can.

  • Brian Coyle / 2 November 2015

    How do people like Michele Martinelli (??) get 'jobs' advising people how to save? What are their qualifications, how much and where do they save their hard earned?? How is one supposed to save have 'enough money', when it is virtually impossible for millions of people to save anything at all, and if they do, they get a disgusting and derisory 0.5% if lucky?

  • Michelle / 2 November 2015

    People don't save because they have so much outgoing on credit card bills and car loans....because they didn't save. It is difficult, but once you've paid off all of the debts you have, redirect that money into savings.

  • Leonard Cowling / 2 November 2015

    Living on credit is the mode of modern culture. As an octogenarian I have never bought anything that I did not have cash to cover but people with more disposable income get into debt. Is there a lesson for someone?

  • Barry Woodward / 2 November 2015

    I saved £100 per month for 3 years. The Bank took 5% and paid me 0.5% on the remaining £95.
    Next I invested £5000 in Ratesetter for 3 years. My annual statement reveals that my return is £139. after 2 years. I saved £5000 in my Bank's Super Saving account at 3.5%. 3 months later this was reduced to 0.5% The TV program "Under the Hammer" shows that many participants gain between 4 and 21% yield. It is no surprise that people are no longer saving, Can you suggest any way to earn a 5% return on savings?

  • Ray / 2 November 2015

    I am afraid it's live for today and forget about tomorrow. Easy to save if you have something to save, not so easy if you want to live . I agree with the sentiments but not so easy if you haven't planned ahead.

  • Richard Stones / 2 November 2015

    When you save it's important you have something in the back of your mind .

    I'm saving up for a couple of holidays right now !...I have a vision in my mind of me drinking cocktails surrounded by palm trees ...instead of going to the local and proping the bar up .

  • Yvonne Reynolds / 1 November 2015

    The article makes such sense, save for those Rainey days. We can do it if we cut down on buying unnecessary "stuff". Start with a small amount each month, having a direct debit which transfers that amount into an ISA, and see it grow. Be happy with what you have and save for those days when you really need that extra assistance. What a rush to think that you had the strength of will to do it.

  • john e / 1 November 2015

    Nicola B
    Have you made sure your getting any benefits your due?
    Have your done a financial planning your income wages family allowance etc less everything you spend if you have not it may be different to what you think .
    I could not work for 18 months so I have learned a lot

  • Nicola Bishop / 1 November 2015

    We keep trying to save money but with 10 days of the month left we run out of money for food and end up getting it out again. We don't smoke, drink or go out. Some months are so tight with extra expenses even my pension money isn't there to go out. I can't even afford clothes from the charity shops anymore we have to go to the Carboot and rummage sales. We even go to the supermarket at night to get the cheap chuck out food. Saving is a luxury we can't afford. We are still lucky though we have parents who have spare cash at the end of the month who treat the kids for Christmas and birthdays. Must unbareablely horrendous for parents who can't give a special gift and see the delight in their children's faces. My husband works full time and I work part time around my husband and children.

  • Dega Notes / 1 November 2015

    Saving money is simple! By the way, with respect to comments that are already included - I do live in the real world. Next time you get paid, before you pay for anything else, pay yourself - put aside something - it maybe just 1% of the total, but do it first - get into the habit and you will find that it possible to save. Over time the 1% will get bigger and there is nothing like seeing money in the bank. Again - it is really simple - pay yourself first! It is simple - a 5 year old could understand this - simple but not necessarily easy!

  • Roger J Smith / 1 November 2015

    I took the message on board, and saved the maximum contribution I could make into my pension (15% of my income).
    While others have done very well out of this I still now have a life style where I can do what I want, without money being an issue, in my retirement

  • Victoria / 1 November 2015

    I liked this article, I read a similar one from MAS a few months ago and have started making a concerted effort to save every month now until I have 3 months living expenses. I just didn't prioritise if before.. Thanks MAS.

  • Penny Pincher / 1 November 2015

    I tend to agree with many contributors, although MAS do some excellent articles, they should be careful not to patronise, we're not all cotton headed spendthrifts. Many are really struggling with almost impossible budgets just to get through the week and with further Government cuts to essential services and benefits coming along savings just a luxury to many. After 66 years of working to pay for my pension seeing annuity rates and savings interest collapse, I still have to purchase from the supermarket discount 'sin bins' just to try to make ends meet. Funny, I've never seen George Osborne there....

  • Julie / 1 November 2015

    My problem is I've done exactly what the article says you shouldn't do, left it too long to save, I admit I probably couldn't have afforded it anyway. Now I face potentially, a very financially tight retirement and shopping for clothes at charity shops and maybe relying on church handouts.

  • Terry Swift / 1 November 2015

    I think this is a one size fits all article. Most people cannot afford to save nowadays, our government has frozen wages or given a 1% increase to millions of workers. Elec and gas keep on increasing, rents keep increasing, no matter what the Governments fiddled figures say most people have had no real income increase but the cost of living keeps going up. And the idiots in parliament now want to cut tax credits, yet still insist we save for old age. Poppycock. Get in the real world.

  • Clearence / 1 November 2015

    I don't understand it try to explain to me all your information


  • Graham McLean / 1 November 2015

    This article is merley pointing out the abvious, however as others have mentioned, please live in the real world! Example I am 33yr old male, live alone, work as a pensions adviser (fairly decent job), don't smoke, rarely drink alcohol and yet unless I do a fair amount of overtime then I am usually saving a very nominal amount each month after my bills for rent, food, car, utilities etc are paid! Give us some real practical advise, god knows we (the general public) could use it!

  • Ian / 1 November 2015

    I saved for a pension and the markets went bump. I contracted out and am now worse off. Money in the building society has little interest below inflation. Those who did not save money get ALL full pension and more for not saving? For whose benefit is the money stashed away for?

  • Mariette Jones / 1 November 2015

    Another glib article. I do wonder whether the people writing these things live in the real world. People don't save because at the end of the day, they have nothing to save.

  • kevin / 15 October 2015

    Its not that people don't want to save the cost of living is so high now life is hard low pay rises people find it hard to manage month to month let alone save wish I could rich get richer poor get poorer that's why so many people get in to det

  • Steve Devine / 14 October 2015

    Would any of the 13m who did not save be unemployed, sick or disabled or retired? If so I think you should say so