Brits vow to cut back on spending as tough times loom ahead

But are we still spending too much?

cutting up credit card with...

There are signs that Brits are starting to face up to the hard times ahead and change their financial habits to try and make themselves feel more secure.

More than half of UK adults say that they're managing their finances differently in light of the explosive political events of the last year, and one in six say they have been putting off making important financial decisions.

Another 11% say all the change and uncertainty has made them worried about their finances and unsure what to do, a poll from global investment company Standard Life reveals.

Price hikes of up to 50% in the wake of Brexit vote

One in ten say they are being more prudent and cutting costs where possible, while 12% say that saving more has become a priority, to create a bigger buffer against the potential bad times ahead.

"It seems inevitable that the major events of 2016 would have an effect on people's approach to financial planning and our research shows that some people put off making important financial decisions, while others were driven to save more, which remains the most popular goal for 2017," says Jamie Jenkins, personal finance expert at Standard Life.

"Aiming to save more and build a solid buffer is always a good thing, and the start of the year is a good time to make a plan to see how much you can regularly tuck away."

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But while people are clearly aware that hard times may be ahead, they may not be doing as much about it as they claim to the researchers. Earlier this week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that consumer spending wasn't falling.

Unsecured consumer debt - things like credit cards and car loans - is rising at its fastest for 11 years. People are getting further into debt in order to carry on spending, says Carney, while the declining pound will inevitably hit incomes and living costs.

"At present, households appear to be entirely looking through Brexit-related uncertainties," Carney told the London School of Economics on Monday.

"The saving rate has fallen towards its pre-crisis lows, and consumer borrowing has accelerated notably."

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Top financial goals for 2017

1. To save more than I did in 2016: 27%
2. To save up to afford a holiday: 21%
3. To tighten my belt, spend less and cut as many costs as possible: 18%
4. To review all my utilities to get much better deals: 17%
5. To pay off my debts: 16%
6. To set a budget and stick to it: 15%
7. To pay off my credit card: 15%
8. To increase how much I save towards my retirement: 10%
9. To write a will: 10%
10. To spend less on clothes: 9%

Most common causes of debt

Most common causes of debt