One in four adults has NO savings, a study has found.
Sky high monthly outgoings and attempts to clear substantial debt before putting money away regularly emerged as the main reasons.
Despite not being able to find money to put away more than half said they wished they could save cash.
Worryingly, the poll of 2,620 respondents in the UK found more than a tenth of the population admit to being ‘terrible’ with money.
Also concerning is the fact one in 10 admitted they typically spend more than they earn.
And 28 per cent sometimes go over budget.
Additionally, the study also found one in 10 adults over the age of 55 don’t have a penny put away for their future – compared to 38 per cent of 25 to 34 year-olds who are already saving.
Kris Brewster, head of products for Skipton Building Society, which commissioned the research, said: “Having a healthy savings account is something everybody dreams of, whether its money put aside for a rainy day, helping fund your child through university or money saved for comfortable retirement.
“These dreams cannot become a reality without taking time to save in the first place.
“Very often things like unexpected bills can crop up and have an impact on your savings balances.
“But our results found people are more prone to splurging money on things they don’t need, rather than saving it and it’s this that has the greatest impact.”
According to the data one third blamed their lack of savings on their monthly outgoings being so high they never have anything left over.
And almost one in five said they were doing their best to clear away debt first.
The study also found 54 per cent of the average Brit’s income goes on essential living costs like rent or a mortgage, bills and food.
And more than one in 10 admit they often spend their money as soon as they get it.
In the last month, fifteen per cent of respondents have spent money on cigarettes, and 58 per cent have bought chocolate or sweets.
Four in 10 have splashed the cash on a takeaway, with 45 per cent opting for one at least once a month.
If they don’t spend their money in the shops, Brits try and put away on average £171 a month into savings.
But the ones who are able to put money away more regularly have an average savings balance of £4,212.40.
This equates to around 14 per cent of each respondent’s monthly income – or it would, if no other expenses came up to spoil their savings plan.
When asked where they keep their savings, more than one in five Brits admit to holding their cash in a piggy bank at home, but over two thirds said they prefer to save in an ISA savings account.
A quarter of Brits set up Direct Debits to divert cash straight into their own savings account as a way of making sure they save, while 44 per cent are always on the hunt for a discount or coupon to save cash.
Other ways Brits try and keep costs down over the month include setting a budget and sticking rigidly to it, shopping for own brand goods and scouring price comparison websites for the best deals.
Forty-four per cent of adults also simply ask themselves: “Do I really need this?” before making a purchase, to ensure the money is well spend.
Kris Brewster added: “Having a healthy savings balance is not all about being able to put hundreds and thousands of pounds away in one go.
“The best place to start is to try and save even a small amount regularly each month, then over a year that will add up to make a real difference and help you with your savings goals.
“At Skipton, we are here to help people save for their life ahead, so whether you are saving for a rainy day, saving for your first home or for a comfortable retirement, we’ve got an ISA for that.”
THE TOP 10 THINGS WE’RE SAVING FOR
1. A rainy day
2. A holiday
4. Life’s little luxuries
5. Home improvements/repairs
6. A car
7. A house deposit
8. Paying off debt
9. Periods of unemployment or low income
10. Child’s university fund