Millions use savings for groceries

Five million families are approaching financial "breaking point" and are relying on loans and savings to cover their food bills, research has suggested.

One in five households said that their monthly incomes would not stretch to cover all of their food costs in April and they had to use some form of borrowing such as a credit card, and overdraft or a loan or plunder their savings instead, consumer group Which? found.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
This would equate to five million families if the findings were projected across the UK, Which? said. The findings provide an indication of the numbers of people who are struggling, despite official figures showing last week that personal insolvencies have fallen to their lowest level in five years.

The group who could not cover their food bills from their income alone was largely made up of low-income households earning less than £21,000 a year and squeezed 30 to 49-year-olds, many of whom had children.
Some 82% of these people said that they were worried about food prices and 57% were finding it "difficult to cope" on their current income. People in this group were also more likely to be worried about their level of debt and 74% of them described economy as "poor".

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Our tracker shows that many households are stretched to their financial breaking point, with rising food prices one of the top worries for squeezed consumers. It's simply shocking that so many people need to use savings or credit to pay for essentials like food."

The study also found that only one quarter of people said that they were living comfortably on their incomes and more than one third (36%) felt squeezed.

Two-thirds are worried about the effects of low interest rates on their savings - although insolvency experts have credited low interest rates with helping people's borrowing costs and keeping personal insolvencies down.

Almost one third (31%) people surveyed cut back spending on essentials last month, and they were most likely to be women aged between 30 to 49 years old. More than two thirds (68%) of people across the survey described the state of the economy as poor, although 9% said it is good.

Around 2,000 people took part in the survey last month across the UK.

Seven of the craziest supermarket glitches
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Millions use savings for groceries

One of the most popular glitches, was a wine deal at Tesco back in November 2012, where a series of offers clashed, leaving a bottle of £9.99 wine selling for £1.50.

The 'three wines for £10' deal apparently clashed with a '25% off when you buy six or more bottles' deal. The 25% was accidentally taken off the original price rather than the reduced one, leaving the wine at rock bottom prices. Deal-hunters cleared the shelves around the country.

Perhaps the most popular glitch from Tesco came in June 2011, when instead of taking £4 off the cost of a £20 case of beer, the supermarket accidentally started selling the cases for £4. The ensuring rush was nicknamed the 'beer stampede'.

Sadly not every supermarket pricing glitch comes with such a happy ending for consumers. In March last year the bargain-hunters thought their luck was in, when Tesco accidentally priced the new iPad at just £44.99 instead of around £650. Sadly it spotted the mistake before shipping the goods. The small print on its website meant it could refuse to sell at this price, and refund their customers instead.

In September 2012, Asda was responsible for one of the most expensive glitches. The Asda Price Guarantee offered vouchers to customers who could have got their shopping cheaper elsewhere.

However, when certain trigger products were in the basket, the supermarket massively under-priced the shopping at other supermarkets, and offered huge vouchers to shoppers. In many instances the vouchers came to roughly the same as the cost of the shopping.

In April, a mistake on their website resulted in Tesco selling 8 packs of Bulmers cider 568ml bottles for £5 - rather than a six pack for £8.

Deal-hunters snapped up the deal online, and had varying degrees of success. Some had their order delivered in full, others had six delivered for £5 - and were able to negotiate their way to another two, while others were offered six for £5 or their money back.

October last year saw one of the most famous glitches, when Tesco Terry's Chocolate Oranges were subject to two deals at the same time, and the price dropped from £2.75 to 29p. There were plenty of people getting chocolate oranges last Christmas.

A buy-one-get-one-free deal went awry at Tesco in March. People putting four tubs of I can't Believe It's Not Butter or Oykos yogurt packs into the trolley were only being charged for one.

Soon the online deal-hunting community was in action, with one person bagging 50 tubs of butter and 22 pots of yogurt for £8.79 - a saving of £133.89.

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