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16m Brits won't have a regular household budget for the New Year

27th December 2012 Print

A third of adults in the UK (33%) admit their household is not likely to set a regular budget for 2013 to help cover their everyday costs such as rent, mortgage, travel, food, clothing and other essential bills, according to new research from the Money Advice Service. This equates to around 16 million people in 2013 who won't be using household budget to plan their spending.


The research, conducted amongst 2,175 UK adults by YouGov for the Money Advice Service, also asked people about their current budgeting habits. 38% of people admit their household does not currently set a regular budget to cover everyday costs. This decision affects almost 18.5m people.

The Budget-Dodgers gave a range of reasoning:

19% say they don't need a budget because if they spend more than they can afford they have buffers - such as credit cards and overdrafts;

17% said it would be a waste of time because they know they wouldn't stick to it;

16% admit they prefer to live for the moment, and spend what and when they like;

And 32% of them claim to have surplus disposable income at the end of the month so don't need to budget.


Over half of UK adults (56%) say their household does have a regular budget to cover everyday costs, with over half of budget-keepers (52%) saying it gives them peace of mind about how much they are spending, and makes them feel better about life in general. Meanwhile, 30% of budget-keepers feel out of control if they don't have a household budget; and almost a third (32%) believe their budget helps them to cope with the unexpected.

Gender and location differences

In general, more British men who have a household budget find it easy to stick to them than women (58% vs 56%) while more women surveyed claim to be solely in charge of the household budget than men (51% vs 36%).

The research also suggests that people in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the most likely to be on top of their financial budgeting with 70% and 69% respectively, claiming that their household keeps a regular budget. Elsewhere in the UK, more budget-keepers live in the East of England (58%) than in the North East (49%).

The findings come as the Money Advice Service launches a new campaign and urges the nation to get its money into shape for 2013. The free, impartial service - set up by government - offers a host of online tools to help everyone make the most of their money in the New Year - whether they have 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or longer to spare. Its free budget toolkit is online at

The Budget Planner will help you keep track and quickly show you what's coming in and going out;

The Money Stretcher will work out how long your money could last over a particular period, such as pay day;

The Cutback Calculator will show you where to make immediate savings on things that you buy regularly.

Commenting on the research findings, Jane Symonds, Head of Service Delivery at the Money Advice Service said: "'I'm impressed by the number of budget keepers we have in the UK, but surprised by the number of budget dodgers! These findings highlight some interesting reasons why they choose not to budget. In these tough economic times, many people don't have much money left over after the bills have been paid so it's really worrying how many households intend to live off overdrafts and credit cards.

"If you're a budget-dodger, please reconsider and let the Money Advice Service help you take control of your money. Keeping track of your money will not only help you cope with the unexpected, but also bring peace of mind. As most budget-keepers will agree - knowing you're on top of your money helps you feel a lot better about life in general".