More than half of us in the UK are worried about current debt. In a survey of 2,000 UK adults carried out on behalf of TSB in January, a third (33%) admitted that they'd started the new year in debt. Of those, more than half (57%) said they're concerned about their level of debt, while 46% said that concern over their debt is affecting their wellbeing.
When it comes to paying off debt owed, more than half (52%) said that they will pay down debt as they go and 42% intend to live more frugally. Taking on extra work or a new job is planned by 16%, while 7% have no idea how they will pay it off.
The survey also found that people are prepared to forgo a variety of activities to save money, including nights out (70%), holidays (45%), eating out (59%) and beauty treatments (51%). New clothes will also be off the shopping list for 64%, and even romance isn’t in the air for 33% in 2017, with a third saying that they will forgo dating to save money.
Cutting back on treats and non-essential items is frequently touted as an effective way of reducing costs, and for good reason – it can save you a surprising amount of money. Nick Smith, Head of Personal Loans at TSB, says: “We urge people to keep a track of their spending, to make sure any money they have going out is covered by the money they have coming in,” he says.
Cutting back completely isn’t the only way to keep those pennies in your pocket. Around a million people hold gym memberships but regularly don’t go. You could make use of YouTube videos and follow Instagram fitness accounts for short workouts or brave the cold and get out for a bracing run! If fitness isn’t where you’re concerned about spend, you could make some smart spend swaps instead.
There are also savings to be made when it comes to managing debt like keeping track of interest rates. Nick Smith offers his advice: “To see if you could save money, or switch to a better rate, it's crucial that you first of all dig out your credit card or loan statements, find out your interest rate and work out exactly how much interest you’re being charged each month for your borrowing.”
“Shopping around for a better rate could reduce the interest you’re paying. Use online tools, like debt consolidation calculators, to see if you could reduce your monthly payments or possibly be debt-free faster by switching your borrowing. Just make sure that future spend is planned for and affordable so that you can continue to make your repayments.
Managing your debt with a view to clearing most or all of your debts is a smart plan. Once you’re there, your next step might be to save a little each month by careful budgeting. Straightforward Money has lots of great advice about managing your debt and credit record or how to save and you can always pop into your local branch for a consultation.
TSB offer Personal Loans for whatever you need from £7,500 to £25,000 over 1-7 years. You must be over 18+ and be a UK resident. Try our debt consolidation calculator to see if you could be better off consolidating your debt.