Many low-income families feel ‘out of control’ of their day-to-day financial health

    People who are struggling to pay their credit cards, <a class=loans, and car financing need more time for their bills – who is eligible? (Photo: Shutterstock)” data-src=”/” data-srcset=”/ 320w, / 640w, / 990w” data-hero=”” fetchpriority=”high”/>
People who are struggling to pay their credit cards, loans, and car financing need more time for their bills – who is eligible? (Photo: Shutterstock)

A poll of 1,000 adults with an annual pre-tax household income of less than £16,500 feel helpless when it comes to managing their income and debts.

And 32% want more control over their energy use, while others want more control over their monthly bills (46%) and their social schedule (18%).

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A combination of the global pandemic, the cost of living crisis and high energy prices has left half of them feeling they don’t have as much control over their lives as there is. two years.

As many as 66 percent attribute this to rising energy costs, while six in 10 attribute it to high food prices.

But technology plays a big role when it comes to feeling a little more in control according to two-thirds of respondents, with banking apps (53%) named as the top technology families rely on.

Smart meters were also a popular technology for 32%, while others rely on instant messaging chats (30%), online to-do lists (29%) and health tracking devices ( 18%) to stay on top. things.

And, hypothetically, not having access to technology would make 28% feel less in control of their lives.

Support in difficult times

A spokesperson for Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the survey, said: “It is a very difficult time for many households at the moment, but there are small steps we can all take to strengthen our sense of control.

“Smart meters can be a very useful tool to provide visibility into energy consumption and avoid the uncertainties of estimated bills.

“They’re available at no additional cost, and the installation process is simple, usually taking an average of just two hours.”

The study also found that 59% turn to a close-knit circle of friends for help and support when times get tough.

And members of low-income households surveyed spend an average of 19 minutes chatting with loved ones online each day.

These conversations give 48% a confidence boost as they feel more in control of their lives after talking to friends and family.

But 28 per cent have had to get debt support to cope with the rising cost of living – although six in 10 feel confused about financial advice.

Top concerns for the low-income community include having substantial savings (40%), being able to access the property ladder (27%), and not being able to afford hobbies (25%). %).

Make informed decisions

However, 68% believe it is impossible to save money due to rising costs of everyday items, according to OnePoll research.

Psychotherapist, Zoe Aston, said: “We are going through very difficult times right now. Energy prices continue to rise and we don’t feel able to do much about it.

“However, there are a few things, like banking apps and smart meters, that can help you feel a little less vulnerable about your finances right now.

“While technology can’t change anyone’s ability to pay their bills, there are tools and devices that can help us make more informed decisions about our finances or our energy use.

“Being mindful of the reality of what is happening and making informed decisions, from a balanced perspective, based on accurate information, means we can approach this challenging time in the healthiest way possible for each individual. “

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