Three in 10 adults ran ‘budget deficit’ in March, survey finds

Nearly three in 10 adults across Britain ran a “budget deficit” in March, spending more money than they had in income, a survey has found.

Some 28% of people had forked out more than they received, with 3% spending over £300 more than their income.

Renters were more likely than home owners to have more money going out than coming in, according to the survey from insolvency trade body R3.

More than a third (35%) of renters said they had spent more than they received in monthly income, compared with just under a quarter (24%) of home owners.

Millennials aged 25 to 34 years old were the most likely age group to report spending more than they received in monthly income (43%).

However, more than one in 10 (12%) over-65s, many of whom will be living on a fixed retirement income which they have limited scope to increase as they are no longer working, also reported spending more than they had received.

Across the survey carried out at the end of March, 7% of adults reported that they have borrowed £100 or more from family or friends in the past month.

Nearly a quarter (22%) of people said they do not have any savings.

Mark Sands, chair of the personal insolvency committee at R3, said: “This is a worrying snapshot of British adults’ personal finances.

“For some people, a month of deficit won’t be an issue, as it may be a one-off, and they may be able to cover the overhang through using savings, or borrowing.

“However, for others, these options will be less readily available, leading to potential problems ahead if the deficit persists.

“With our research finding that a large minority of British adults don’t have any level of savings at all at the moment, it’s worth sounding the alarm about people’s ability – or otherwise – to cope with unexpected hits to their finances.

“Debt issues can suddenly spiral due to changes in circumstances, and overspending each month does not leave any room for saving for a significant proportion of people.”

He said those who regularly overspend each month should seek help with their personal finances as soon as possible.

Mr Sands said: “Even a relatively small amount spent over budget in a month can add up to a much larger problem over the course of a year.”

More than 2,000 people were surveyed.