Millions of low-income families feel “out of control” when it comes to their financial health
Households with an annual pre-tax income of less than £16,500 want more control over their monthly bills, energy use and social plan
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According to a study, millions of low-income families feel “out of control” when it comes to their day-to-day financial health.
A survey of 1,000 adults with an annual pre-tax household income of less than £16,500 feels powerless when it comes to managing their income and debt.
A third of them (32%) would like to have more control over their energy consumption, while others long for more control over their monthly bills (46%) and their social schedule (18%).
A combination of the global pandemic, cost of living crisis and high energy prices has left half feeling less in control of their lives than they did two years ago.
After all, two-thirds attribute this to rising energy costs, while six out of ten blame high food prices.
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But technology plays a big part in giving a little more control, according to two-thirds of respondents – with banking apps (53%) cited as the top technology families rely on.
Smart meters were also a popular tech tool for 32%, while others rely on instant messaging chats (30%), online to-do lists (29%) and health monitoring devices (18%) to keep track to keep.
And more than a quarter (28%) said that without access to technology, they would hypothetically feel less in control of their lives.
A spokesman for Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the survey, said: “It is a very difficult time for many households right now, but there are small steps we can all take to increase our sense of control.
“Smart meters can be a really helpful tool to make energy consumption visible and remove the uncertainties of estimated bills.
“They are available at no additional cost and the installation process is straightforward, typically taking just two hours.”
The study also found that 59% turn to a close circle of friends for help and support when times are tough.
And people in the low-income households surveyed spend an average of 19 minutes chatting online with loved ones every day.
These conversations give nearly half (48%) confidence, as they feel more in control of their lives after talking to friends and family.
But 28% have had to secure debt support to deal with the rising cost of living – although six in 10 feel confused with financial advice.
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Top concerns in the low-income community include substantial savings (40%), being able to climb the real estate ladder (27%) and not being able to afford hobbies (25%).
However, according to the OnePoll study, more than two-thirds (68%) believe that the rising cost of everyday items makes it impossible to save money.
Psychotherapist Zoe Aston said: “We are in really difficult times right now. Energy prices are still rising and each of us feels little power to do anything about it.
“However, there are some small 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 stop anyone from paying their bills, there are certain tools and devices that can help us make more informed decisions about our finances or energy use.
“By paying attention to the reality of what is happening and making informed decisions, from a balanced place based on accurate information, we can approach this difficult time in the healthiest way possible for each individual.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/personal-finance/low-income-families-financial-stress-27258373 Millions of low-income families feel "out of control" when it comes to their financial health