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A third of people do not formally budget

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Just over a third of adults in the UK have only a “rough idea” or no idea at all about their regular incomings and outgoings, according to a new survey by Sunlife.

Of the 3,000 people asked about their budgeting habits, 44% said they use some form of tool or app to help them manage their money. 35% do not formally budget but have a general idea of how much they have coming in and going out.

16% of respondents claimed to have “rough idea” and 6% admitted to not budgeting at all.

Those surveyed used a variety of methods to keep track of their finances:

  • 4% use a budgeting app
  • 3% use an online tool
  • 19% use a spreadsheet on their computer
  • 22% use a notebook
  • 4% use another method.

There was a clear demarcation between the budgeting practices of younger and older people. 57% of those aged 18-24 said they formally budgeted compared to 32% of over-65s. 18% of younger people are likely to make use of apps and online tools, compared to the 7% UK average.

The survey also asked people about the frequency with which they check their bank balance:

  • 23% check daily
  • 34% several times a week
  • 26% weekly
  • 9% several times a month
  • 7% monthly
  • 1% rarely.

Dean Lamble, managing director of Sunlife, said:

“With UK personal debt now standing at 110% of average earnings and UK households saving just 4.9% of their incomes (the lowest proportion since 2008), we should be keeping an eye on our finances, but the shocking truth is that less than half of us formally budget with many people admitting they have little or no idea how much money is coming in and out.

“But whether you prefer the trusted pad and paper or more technologically inclined our research shows that those who budget in some way, either formally or informally, are happier than those that don’t, so it is worth keeping on top of your finances, not just for your financial well-being, but your personal happiness too!”

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