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Press release   •   May 27, 2015 00:01 BST

  • Over a fifth of workers (23 per cent) end up in their overdraft every month
  • A quarter (24 per cent) dip into their savings to survive until payday, while 13 per cent skip meals
  • One in four (25 per cent) have no formal way of keeping track of their finances

With payday around the corner for much of the country, almost 10 million workers (33 per cent) will be worrying about whether they have enough money to last until they are paid, according to new research from Post Office Money Current Accounts*.

The last week of the month until payday is the hardest for many of us, as we look for ways to survive until our next pay-packet. While some are willing to make cutbacks to their spending, others will look at alternative means of funding – turning to savings (24 per cent) or credit cards (27 per cent) in a typical month.

The more frugal of us (39 per cent) will instead choose to reign in our outgoings, and resort to money-saving measures in the countdown to payday. Spending on food is one of the most common sacrifices to be made in response to the payday squeeze; two-fifths (40 per cent) will hunt for reduced goods at the supermarket, while 39 per cent save money by taking lunch to work. Some take more drastic steps - potentially risking their health – with 13 per cent choosing to skip meals in the run up to payday.

Top 10 ways people save money ahead of payday

Buy reduced items at the supermarket 40 per cent
Take home-made lunches to work 39 per cent
Miss out on social occasions 34 per cent
Decrease use of gas/electric 21 per cent
Stop beauty treatments (hair, nails etc.) 18 per cent
Walk/run/cycle, rather than use public transport 17 per cent
Put off paying a bill 15 per cent
Avoid using car to save petrol/diesel 14 per cent
Skip meals 13 per cent
Put off repaying money owed to friends/family 9 per cent
John Willcock, Head of Current Accounts at Post Office Money said: “The last week of the month will be a quiet one for many of us as we count the pennies before payday. Whilst a third of the working population worry every month, many more find themselves short at the end of the month at some point throughout the year. A number of people will be relying on savings, credit cards and overdrafts, highlighting the financial juggling act many of us face.”

Despite scrimping and saving, over a fifth (23 per cent) of workers slip into the red every month. Higher earners are more likely to rely upon their overdraft than those on lower incomes, with two-fifths (45 per cent) of those earning over £70,000 using it every month compared to only 27 per cent of those earning under £20,000.

Reasons for using an overdraft

Unexpected expense (e.g. boiler breaking down, parking ticket) 32 per cent
Hadn’t budgeted 20 per cent
Utility bill was higher than usual 15 per cent
Lent money to a friend or family member 13 per cent
Splashed out on something I couldn’t afford 11 per cent

People are pushed into their overdraft for a number of reasons, ranging from unexpected expenses (32 per cent) through to splashing out on something they could not afford (11 per cent). With a fifth (20 per cent) admitting they do not budget, it is clear the number who would benefit from planning ahead to avoid the routine of payday pain.

Despite the range of online money tools available, a quarter (25 per cent) have no formal way of keeping track of their finances, and simply keep a note in their heads. Many prefer to turn to paper and pen to manage their finances, with 26 per cent writing down their finances in a diary, compared with 13 per cent who use an app.

John Willcock continued: “These days there are many tools available to help consumers manage their money, and suit a variety of needs. Whether they prefer face-to-face support, or to use an app or online tool, people can choose the method they are most comfortable with. Post Office Money offers customers the choice of going online, speaking to someone in branch or over the phone, and now a current account app – ensuring they feel supported in every stage of their financial journey.”

Many of those who have planned ahead and have money left at the end of the month are will transfer it into a savings fund for emergencies (31 per cent) or into one for a specific goal (26 per cent). Two-fifths (40 per cent) will let it sit in their account – while 17 per cent will enjoy an end of the month shopping spree.  

About the Post Office

The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit

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