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By Aamina Zafar | Published Mar 08, 2012

Money-saving habits taking hold across UK: Standard Life

A study of money habits from the provider found the economic downturn has encouraged nine out of 10 respondents to be more prudent in money matters, such as reviewing their utility providers and going online to find the best deals and voucher codes.

Yet the findings also suggested that, in the past three years, there has been no change in the number of people seeking financial advice, which remains at 8 per cent.

Only 17 per cent of Brits are planning their finances to make the most of tax breaks from savings products, such as Isas and pensions.

Julie Russell, head of direct distribution for Standard Life, said: “It’s so important to make sure we are getting the best returns on anything we are actually able to save. That means using Isas which are really tax efficient, and not missing out on tax breaks offered by private pension contributions.

“Managing whatever we are able to save can make a huge difference to our weekly budget and our long-term plans.”

The study showed the most popular saving tactic, adopted by three in five people, is to avoid spending what you do not have by not running up a debt on credit and store cards.

The research also showed that 50 per cent of the UK regularly makes sure they shop around for the best prices at places such as the supermarket.

Looking at those adults who could recall their habits three years ago in 2009, an increased number have turned to online voucher codes and loyalty cards to save money, and have also started budgeting.

John Bloomfield, IFA at County Durham-based Paul Wilson Financial Services, said: “People are being more self-conscious about their spending and economising household budgets. But this is all short-term thinking.

“I don’t see much increase in people wanting to build up longer-term investments or pensions as so many just focus on the savings they can make now.

“It’s a shame that inexperienced investors consider themselves so risk averse because of market turbulence in recent history, especially as this seems to have resulted in many people saving in cash Isas, with rates of, roughly, 3.2 per cent when the retail price index is running at 3.5 per cent.”

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