Nifty and thrifty: Brits switch credit card and energy suppliers as prices rocket

02 May 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
Rising living costs are a very real cause for concern among people in the UK, and many are looking at ways of cutting costs in order to save money.

According to Alliance and Leicester Current Accounts, 34 per cent of adults expect to have less disposable cash over the next six months, and 79 per cent are attributing this to rising food and consumer goods prices and higher household bills and fuel prices.

The study found that 42 per cent of respondents are trying to budget carefully and have made an effort to live within their means. However, while 45 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 are trying to stick to careful budgets, just 34 per cent of respondents in their teens or twenties were doing so.

Those living in Wales and the south west believe they will be most affected, with 37 per cent predicting they will have less spending money. Those in Scotland and Northern Ireland are more optimistic with just 29 per cent expecting to see a drop.

Many have recently made changes to the way they spend money, with 55 per cent attempting to improve their 'financial health'. And, while some have chosen to sell expensive items such as cars and jewellery, many have chosen longer-term measures.

The survey showed that 20 per cent had changed utility providers, 12 per cent had switched credit card provider to a zero per cent deal; eight per cent changed current account; and seven per cent consolidate debts with a personal loan. Northerners are the most proactive when it comes to changing spending habits, with 77 per cent making cutbacks.

Other thrifty Brits are making changes to their everyday habits in order to allay the effects of rising prices. Almost half are comparing grocery prices to get the best deal, 39 per cent are saving electricity by turning off lights and 25 per cent are using ebay or charity shops more frequently.

Current account manager at Alliance and Leicester, Emma Walkley, said: "It is encouraging to see people are making positive changes to their spending and budgeting habits. This will hopefully stand them in good stead should they see their disposable income affected over the forthcoming months.

"Taking advantage of the best financial deals on the market is always important, but more so in the current environment. We would advise people to take a good look at their finances and see how they can be improved. Often making simple changes like switching to a current account, 12 per cent had switched credit card provider offering a better interest rate can make any belt-tightening feel a little bit easier."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd