New research released today has revealed that the average Brit works 82% (299 days – 26 October) of the year just to cover their household bills – with more than a third (35%) admitting that they are only just managing to cope with rising costs.
The findings of the new poll commissioned by GoCompare, asked 2,000 UK adults for their opinions on the effects of rising costs. Just under a fifth (19%) say they are already making cutbacks on non‐essential household bills, with six in ten revealing that the higher cost of living means they even intend to spend less on Christmas this year.
With households being squeezed by a combination of falling wages and higher prices, the news that people work for so long each year just to keep afloat will put more pressure on Britain’s JAMs (Just About Managing). GoCompare has calculated the point in the year that the average person is notionally ‘bill free’ to give a tangible view of how much it affects people.
The study also found that people in Wales are the most affected with almost half (44%) admitting that they are just about managing to meet rocketing household bills. In Northern Ireland the figure is 40%; in Scotland, 37%.
Bill Free Day this year falls on October 26th, meaning that for the remaining part of the year – in theory at least ‐ we can spend our wages on the fun stuff, such as holidays, travel, hobbies, treats, clothes, meals out and Christmas presents.
Of course, things don’t quite work out that way in real life.
Georgie Frost, head of consumer affairs at GoCompare, said: “Bill Free Day highlights just how much of what we earn goes towards paying the bills. By getting people to think about their notional ‘Bill Free Day’ we hope that they will look at where the majority of their money goes and think about how they can make small changes that could free up more cash for the things they really want to be doing.
“We all face bills that we have little control over, like council tax, water rates, income tax, fuel for our cars or tickets for our day-to-day commute, but there are many that we can, and should, tackle ourselves. Insurance policies, energy tariffs, mortgages, our weekly grocery shop, broadband packages, debt repayments– some of these are quick and easy to save money on, others take a bit more time, but it’s well worth your while to see if you can trim these back – who wants to spend more on these things than is necessary, after all?
“Our aim is to help move the nation’s Bill Free Day closer to September next year by encouraging more people to confront their own personal ‘Monster Bills’. If the average household reduced their bills by £25 a week they could bring their Bill Free Day forward by more than a fortnight. That would be an extra two weeks of fun money next year, rather than bill money.”
There are of course steps all of us can take to try and bring forward our own Bill Free Day – simple measures that can help us to get on top of our finances and save money on the cost of just our everyday expenditure, whether that’s the amount we pay to run a car, travel to work, heat the home or stream Game of Thrones.