Save, make, understand money

Household Bills

Families with no spare cash doubles as cost-of-living crisis bites

Families with no spare cash doubles as cost-of-living crisis bites
Matt Browning
Written By:
Matt Browning

The number of families with no spare cash at the end of the month has doubled in a year, research finds.

One in five households (21%) had no disposable income left once bills and monthly living costs were paid, compared to just 11% who were in that position during 2023.

In 2021, the average monthly disposable income was £328, but by the end of last year, it dropped to £237, while one in five families had less than £100 spare.

Since the cost-of-living crisis hit, the average amount of cash left at the end of the month for households has plummeted. This can be seen in the price of bills and everyday essentials, with energy costs soaring by a hefty 63% since 2021, while food prices and fuel surged by 32% and 39% respectively.

Housing costs have played their part too, with mortgage rates rising by a fifth (22%) and rent up by a quarter (26%).

In terms of the emotional impact, 69% of the 2,000 families surveyed by Nationwide were more worried about their finances in 2024 than the year before.

Ahead of the third and final cost of living payment arriving between 6 and 22 February, families are however beginning to feel more resilient after a difficult three years. Despite the struggle, more than two-thirds (67%) felt they adapted well and one in five are even feeling positive about the future.

People unaware of who to speak to is ‘most concerning’

Mandy Beech, director of retail services at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Despite the rate of inflation coming down, many households continue to feel the pressure as costs remain historically high. Families have been hit particularly hard, with little spare money at the end of the month.

“What is most concerning is where people have said that they don’t know who to speak to about their financial situation, or don’t think their bank or building society could help them.”

Beech added: “We would urge anyone with concerns to get in touch with their financial services provider for support sooner rather than later because it could make a positive difference.”