A third of Scottish people have changed their spending habits in order to cope with the credit crisis in the last six months, but, as the cost of living continues to rise, they cannot afford to put some money aside in case of emergencies, research from Lloyds TSB has found.
More than half of Scottish adults have used the credit crunch as an opportunity to tackle their debts and to cut back on spending in order to repay borrowings.
But, something has to give as household budgets are squeezed, and in order to better afford the debt repayments and clear them faster, 41 per cent of people are saving less as a result, and a fifth have less than £500 in their savings accounts.
Research shows that, either through choice or necessity, the British public are moving away from the 'buy now pay later' culture which has dominated the economy in recent decades, and trends are now shifting towards saving for a rainy day.
But, despite the recent trend of wanting to be more prepared for the future, Scots are saving less as the credit crunch takes its toll on household finances.
Lloyds' 'Financial Face of Britain' report shows that current economic conditions have filtered down to household finances and have caused a definite change in spending behaviour, but this has left consumers less able to save as much while the cost of energy, food and mortgage
repayments goes up.
Almost 40 per cent of Scots under the age of 35 have said that they have cut back on spending in order to keep up with the rising cost of living. More than half of Scots have reassessed their finances so that they can keep their heads above water and clear their debts.
A savvy one in five are focussing on paying off their most expensive debts first, such as store cards and high interest rate credit cards.
The report also revealed that more than four million UK consumers do not have any savings at all, more than one in three do not save on a regular basis, and more than half of these cite a lack of spare cash as the reason.
Mark Cockburn, retail network director at Lloyds TSB Scotland said: "Saving is a must for everyone. With economic conditions set to become more challenging, having the comfort of a savings nest-egg could be a lifeline for many Scots families during these difficult times.
"But it is difficult to put money aside with rising bills and ever increasing household expenses. While everyone understands the good sense in saving, what consumers told us they need is more guidance and advice on how to save more when their finances are being squeezed."
Lloyds is launching a 'Helping Britain to Save' campaign, which offers advice and encouragement to those looking to boost their savings or to get into the habit of putting some money aside, even when their finances are being stretched.
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