While the average Brit saves £150 per month – or £81.8 billion a year – almost a fifth (18%) save £50 or less, according to Santander.
The study reveals that 52% of people wish they could save more, on average an additional £388 each month.
The most popular way to put money aside is in a savings account (53%) followed by a Cash ISA (27%). However, many Brits overlook investing as a way to manage their money with only one in 10 (12%) saying they invest and utilise Stocks and Shares ISAs.
In fact, half of Brits (53%) wish they had received more money advice at a younger age, rising to two thirds (6%) for those aged 18 to 34, and decreasing to 42% for those aged 55 and over.
A quarter of UK adults (26%) wish they had been taught more about investments and 21% about budgeting, while almost one in five (1%) wish they had received more advice about the different savings options available to them.
Helen Bierton, head of savings at Santander, said: “Our research shows that although many of us are saving, there is still a significant number who have no savings to fall back on or are not aware of all the options available. Developing a savings habit – no matter how small – is so important as it not only provides a safety net but is a way of providing for your future, and those of your loved ones.”
The findings also highlight that more than three quarters of UK adults (78%) believe that being “good with money” is a learned behaviour that anyone can pick up with practice. In comparison, only 13% believe that being either good or bad with money comes naturally and is a behaviour that cannot be learned or influenced in any way.
When asked who had been the biggest influencer on their money and savings behaviour, over two fifths (43%) revealed their parents had been their example to follow, compared to one in 10 (11%) who mentioned their partner as their biggest influence.
Dr Sam Wass, Channel 4 psychologist and research scientist at the University of East London, said: “There are lots of factors that affect who saves up their money and who doesn’t – such as our willpower, and how much we value our long-term happiness over a more immediate, short-term reward. The research shows that most people agree being good with money is a learned skill and there are various techniques we can use to help us to improve our willpower and our organisational skills. It’s never too late to start.”
Almost two-thirds of Brits (64%) say that their friends or family would describe them as being “good with money”.
Of these, almost three quarters (73%) pay all their bills on time, half (50%) seek out promotional offers rather than paying full price, 44% keep an eye on their bills to see if they could be getting a better deal and 38% pay off their full credit card balance at the end of each month.
However, not everyone is so money savvy, of those who claim they are “bad with money”, 59% they run out of spending money before payday and 30% have a lump sum of debt sitting in their account that doesn’t get paid off.
Most people say they are saving to increase their buffer pot (44%) followed by a holiday (34%) and to pay unexpected bills (26%). A fifth (22%) aim to top up their retirement pots and a further 14% are saving for a home.