Squeezed savers are putting £13 a month less aside than they were a year ago, while growing numbers of people are saving nothing, a study has suggested.
Britons managed to save £87 each month on average this spring, down from £100 monthly a year ago and £95 every month over the winter, according to NS&I's quarterly savings survey.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of those surveyed saved nothing at all during spring 2012, up from 17% in spring 2011, which the study said could equate to an increase of nearly three million people saving nothing if the figures were projected nationwide.
As a percentage of income, the drop in monthly savings was from 8.3% a year ago to just 7% in spring 2012, said NS&I.
A quarter of people said they are less likely to save their cash over the next three months and nearly half (49%) said the amount they are able to set aside is unlikely to change over the same period.
The findings come despite signs that the pressure placed on households from the high cost of basics has been easing slightly, with recent falls in inflation.
A study by Legal & General last month suggested that savers are putting away less after becoming fed up with the lack of accounts giving them real returns on their cash, following three years of record low interest rates.
While two in five households told the Legal & General study they could afford to save, only one in five told the study they intend to add to their savings over the coming month.
Accountancy network UHY Hacker and Young recently estimated that savers are losing nearly £18 billion a year and urged people to shop around to get the best rates.
John Prout, retail customer director of NS&I, said: "When times are tough it can be difficult to save but even putting away a few pounds each week will help act as a financial cushion, should you face an emergency."
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