Two-fifths ‘struggled with bills in early April’

A survey has revealed that two-fifths of families with children at home were already struggling to pay their bills in early April as the cost-of-living crisis deepened.

According to comparethemarket.com’s household financial confidence tracker, 41 per cent of households with children living at home said they had struggled with their bills over the past week. This has increased from 29 per cent two years ago.

Four in ten families with children do not feel confident that they will be able to meet payments or stay on top of household finances over the coming weeks. A similar number of households without children also do not feel confident about their financial future, compared with less than two in ten two years ago.

The findings do not account the full impact of higher bills and additional financial pressures placed on households in April, including the energy price cap increase, council tax rises and a national insurance (NI) hike to help pay for health and social care.

According to the survey, 54 per cent of those surveyed are cutting back on eating out, while others are spending less on clothes (48 per cent) and holidays (44 per cent). Of more concern, 32 per cent said they are cutting back on food.

Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com, said: “The rising cost of living is squeezing household finances and it’s becoming harder for families to manage day-to-day spending. People are not only cutting back on luxuries, such as meals out, but also reducing essential spending on energy, fuel, and food. Concerningly, many households are using up savings they built during lockdown or going into debt to meet costs. For now, it’s vital that households look for savings wherever possible. It’s a good idea to make a note of the money coming in and out, helping you to see what you’re spending money on, and then set budgets for certain categories accordingly.”

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