With food and fuel prices on the rise, British savers are feeling the pinch and finding it hard to save, research from Nationwide Building Society reveals.
Although 74 per cent of consumers believe saving is important, only one in two Britons regularly put money into savings; 57 per cent of those saving regularly or at least occasionally think they are not saving as much as they should.
The credit crunch seems to have taken its toll on consumers, most of whom share a gloomy outlook on the future: only 41 per cent of people are optimistic and think they can increase the amount to what they ought to save within the next six months, while 31 per cent think they won't be saving enough in six months' time.
Half of the respondents (49 per cent) to Nationwide's survey believe that, given the current economic crisis, it is overall a bad time to save anyway, a sharp increase from 40 per cent in last April's report.
Matthew Carter, director for savings at Nationwide, said: "As food and fuel prices continue to rise, and people feel gloomier about the economy, more consumers think it is a bad time to save."
"This is a shame given many savings providers are offering highly competitive and attractive rates at the moment and illustrates the current squeeze on consumers' ability to save," Mr Carter encourages consumers, "The products available mean it's a good time for savers."
For those on the lookout for a place to put their spare money, there are some excellent new savings accounts
on the market.
A new internet-based Bradford & Bingley savings account
pays 6.51 per cent gross AER (5.21 per cent net). Investments start at only £1 up to a maximum of £2 million, and B&B guarantee that the rate will at least match the Bank of England base rate until January 1st 2010. Yorkshire Building Society savings accounts
offer a two-year bond at 7 per cent before tax (5.6 per cent after tax) fixed until July 2009 on a minimum investment of £100, and Newcastle Building Society will offer a similar product from next week.
Other top deals with similar rates on two-year or one-year fixed bonds are offered by internet-based banks FirstSave, ICICI Bank and IceSave.