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Half of consumers reduce non-essential spending

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Consumer spending habits have evolved over the last 12 months with half of shoppers saying they are buying less non-essential goods, a new survey has revealed.

R3, the trade body for insolvency professionals, found that 51 per cent of the population are spending less on goods such as clothes and DVDs, whilst 47 per cent say they have started shopping around before making purchases.

Of concern to specialist retailers is that 22 of those surveyed admitting that they now buy non-essentials from supermarkets.

With pay awards being frozen in many industries, unemployment high and the price of goods and services rising steadily since the end of the recession, many people are finding it hard to balance their budgets.

Frances Coulson, R3 President, said: “People are uncertain about what the future holds financially and the most natural response is to be cautious. We are seeing households tightening their domestic belts and looking for ways to reduce monthly outgoings.

“In these instances non-essentials are the first to go. However, it’s clear from the results that for those who do not wish to go without their non-essentials the supermarkets seem to be offering a better deal.”

Women have been trimming their budgets more than men, with 42 per cent of females switching to value or own brands in the last year compared to 32 per cent of males.

Over 40 per cent of women have started using vouchers when shopping, whereas only 31 per cent of men have, and 23 per cent of females have started setting themselves budgets compared to only 15 per cent of males.

Coulson added: “It is encouraging to see that a considerable percentage of people are actively trying to lower their expenditure as this will help them to live within their means. However, it is a shame that budgeting remains quite low down on people’s agenda.

“Setting a budget enables you to clearly see how much you spend against your income. A budget is probably the most powerful financial weapon in the fight against debt and its value should not be underestimated.”

Published on Thursday 21 April by Editorial Assistant

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