Shropshire Star

Revealed: Three in 10 people spend more than they earn

People in the West Midlands are continuing to live beyond their means, according to new figures released today.

People are failing to keep their spending in check

Research has found that 29 per cent of adults in the region spend more than they received in income in the past month

R3, the insolvency trade body, and ComRes also found that 16 per cent in the region spent up to £100 more than they received in income over the past month.

Eight per cent go over budget by between £100 to £300 more and five per cent spent more than £300 extra.

The research follows UK figures from the Office for National Statistics that showed that households were in a budget deficit for a record nine consecutive quarters from October 2016 to last December, while the average UK household spent £900 more than it received in income in 2017.

More than a quarter of West Midlands adults said they do not have any savings at all at the moment.

The figures represent a low level of financial resilience for many people in the region.

There are concerns that a rise in interest rates would push many people into significant financial hardship.


R3 Midlands chairman Eddie Williams, a partner at Grant Thornton in Birmingham, said: “This is a worrying snapshot of adults’ personal finances in the West Midlands.

“For some people, a month of deficit won’t be an issue, as it may be a one-off, and they may be able to cover the overhang by using savings, or borrowing. However, for others, these options will be less readily available, leading to potential problems ahead if the deficit persists.

“With our research finding that a large minority of adults currently don’t have any level of savings, it’s worth sounding the alarm about people’s ability – or otherwise – to cope with unexpected hits to their finances. Debt issues can suddenly spiral due to changes in circumstances, and overspending each month does not leave any room for saving.

“For some, a monthly overspend is a more regular occurrence, and this group should seek advice on personal finances as soon as possible. Even a relatively small amount spent over budget in a month can add up to a much larger problem over the course of a year.”

Experts say that millions of people are so tight with their budget that any change in their circumstance will put them in danger of severe difficulty. With interest rates at an historic low, borrowing has increased. But any increase in rates would push up interest charges and place a significant number of people in immediate danger of being pushed into even further debt.