A Moneybasics survey commissioned by GE Money and undertaken by YouGov (3,145 people were questioned) has shown that one in four Britons are worried that their finances are out of control.
Around 27% of people said they sometimes or always feel they are not in control of their money, with 8% admitting they regularly spend more than they earn.
But 37% of people said their spending habits had changed during the past six to 12 months, with the majority of people saying they were trying to spend less.
Despite this 40% of those questioned admitted they still did not have any money left at the end of each month.
One in three people said they did not have any debt, while 44% claimed to save up to £500 each month.
But more than half of those questioned admitted they could be doing more to manage their finances better.
Please read on for a summary of the top personal finances stories of interest to you for the week beginning 9th June 2008.
Retail sales rise – The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that retail sales rose at their fastest rate in four months in May at 1.9%, up from a 1.8% on a like-for-like basis from May 2007.
However before we get overly optimistic – because increases in retail sales often signals an improving economic climate – it important to note that this rise was driven by the lovely May weather and by heavy discounting by major retailers. Furniture and other homewares sales remained significantly below 2007 figures. Furniture sales tend to move closely with how the economy is doing so poor furniture sales remind us that the economic climate is still, on the whole, unfavourable.
With the economic outlook not looking particularly bright, it is even more important to save if you can. The saving rates that banks and building societies are offering on many of their savings accounts are becoming more and more attractive by the day. However it is important to remember to read the small print because most of the best savings accounts have quite strict conditions and expensive penalties if the conditions are not met.
Expensive mortgage arrangement fees – Moneyexpert.com has published a report showing that mortgage arrangement fees have risen substantially since the credit crunch began.
In September 2006, 18 months ago, the average arrangement fee for a fixed-rate mortgage (mortgages than tie you into a set interest rate for an agreed period of time) was £517. The average arrangement fee is now £860.
Have a look at Moneybasics: Mortgages for more information.
Oil prices over US$130 a barrel – With refineries across the world operating at, or very close to, capacity, the supply of oil is failing to meet demand. This is forcing the price of oil higher and higher.
This is driving the cost of fuel up. Try to look for ways to save energy, whether that means taking public transport, riding a bike, or having shorter showers, because as well as helping the environment it will help keep your bank balance in the black.
Genetic data unavailable to insurers – Results from genetic tests are presently not made available to insurance companies in order for them to assess your risk profile. This was only going to continue until 2011, but has now been extended to 2014.
This means that you shouldn’t be worried about how the results of a genetic test will affect your life insurance premium. Find out more about Insurance with Moneybasics.
Prepared for Moneybasics by Jason Taylor, Advocacy Officer (Credit Action).