Nearly half of Brits are worried about money
Millions of families in the UK are still feeling the strain when it comes to the cost of living, despite signs of improvement in the wider economy.
Research by Lloyds has found that 43% of the population don't feel positive about their own finances and more than a third of families (38%) only just have enough money to meet their monthly outgoings.
Worryingly, 8% of families don't even have enough cash to cover their regular financial commitments, while 17% are forced to spend all their monthly income on household bills.
More than half (55%) said there had been no change in their ability to pay off debt in the last 12 months but 28% said it has become more difficult to clear their credit card bills.
Regionally, those in Scotland are most comfortable with 59% of people saying they have enough to cover any unexpected outgoings, followed by those in Greater London (55%).
Meanwhile, nearly half of families in the North West (48%) said they didn't have enough in savings, compared to 39% in Greater London.
However, the study found the number of families expecting to have more disposable cash in the next six months is at its highest point since October 2012 - with 24% anticipating an improvement.
Simon Kenyon, Lloyds Bank's director of everyday banking, said: "Family purse strings have been under strain for some time and improvements in the wider economy have not yet taken the pressure off household finances. However, there are signs of change as the economy recovers."
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.