The moment money feels tighter than usual, you’re putting less and less on that checkout conveyor belt with each week shop or you realise that you’re having to sacrifice basic expenditures because you’ve maxed out your overdraft, credit card and bank of mum and dad coupons, it’s easy to put it all down to being really crap with money.
Sure, we could all use a hand (or nudge) getting our finances in order and staying on top of it all, but this steady decrease in available funds isn’t in your head. It’s not just you mate, things aren’t looking financially fun for most of the UK right now.
Let’s have a go at the numbers. According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, without bonuses (lol, bonuses?) wage growth has fallen even further behind inflation (it’s been behind for a little while, you see) slowing down from 1.8% to 1.7% in the three-month run-up to April 2017, reports The Guardian. For context, as of April inflation was running at 2.7% and then went up again to 2.9% in May, so basically our wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living which is obviously a massive problem.
To break it down to real terms, it means that there’s going to be a big strain on household finances, on your ability to afford things like food and transport. But when we put this with the fact that already, a third of us are having to borrow just to pay our rent sadly the situation seems to be increasingly unstable in the middle of the ongoing shit storm of political uncertainty and conflicting employment rates - lots more people are in jobs at the moment and unemployment is at a record low but with more and more people in work we’d recently seen the slowest growth in pay for three years.
But I’m afraid the money madness doesn’t stop there. The charity Christians Against Poverty did a big survey of their visitors and found that one in ten doesn't have a bed to sleep in. In a revelation that is probably all too familiar to many of us, they also found that a huge 91% of people had had to use some form of credit – cards, overdrafts, family and friends and the like – to pay an essential bill or towards other debt.
The review said that ‘shame, fear and believing no one can help cause clients to delay seeking help for two years on average. This extended period of financial hardship and worry sees living standards and mental health deteriorate as debts spiral out of control’.
Money issues can be overwhelmingly scary, we all know that. True Potential, a debt financial service company did a survey that found that on average, adults under the age of 25 would reach a debt of £748 before starting to worry about it which just goes to reiterate the way we are living at the moment. It’s ‘normal’ to rely on debt to get by because of how the economy is looking at the moment. But at the same time that doesn’t negate from the strain that the money, or rather the lack of, puts on our relationships, our health and ability to get by.
The fact of the matter is that there’s very little we can do at a normal non-parliamentary person with all the money level about the way the UK economy has been shaping up over the last couple of months. What we can all do, though, is that really annoying thing that we put off until things get desperate – take the time to understand our student loans, credit card bills and outgoings to a handle on the money we do have.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.