It is no secret that many of us have had to tighten our belts over the past few years, as the double dip recession coupled with wage freezes has seen our disposable income dwindling. Yet with many luxury brands still managing to post almost pre-recession profits, it has seemed to many that the richest in society are still managing to afford the lifestyles they led before economic difficulties began to bite.
Yet a new survey conducted by the Axa Big Money Index indicates that even high earners are being forced to rein in their spending and count the pennies until the economy stabilises. The study revealed that as many as 32 per cent of high earners are turning to low cost supermarkets, such as Aldi or Lidl, for their weekly shop in a bid to come through the recession unscathed.
Additionally, around 30 per cent of these shoppers now choose own label or value brands at the supermarket rather than splashing out on products from larger, more established companies.
The survey examined the spending habits of middle class people in their 50s and 60s, with no mortgage and a high disposable income, to assess how deep the recession is really biting in all areas of society. 2,089 adults were questioned as part of the study.
Recent months have seen the situation worsen for many families, with price hikes on fuel, electricity and gas squeezing disposable income even further. Unfortunately, due to droughts in the United States of America, disposable income may be further put to the test in coming months as prices of foods such as corn, wheat and certain fruits and vegetables look set to rise in commercial properties all across the UK.
Axa’s UK marketing director, Cheryl Toner, states her concern that the effects of the recession are now beginning to show in all levels of society, thus showing how deep seated the recession has become in Britain.
She says; “A pattern of relentless economising has set in since our Big Money Index surveys began in early 2011, and it’s showing no signs of easing.
“It’s alarming to see that even those deemed untouchable, the more comfortable sectors, are now feeling the pinch.
“Severe cutbacks are evident almost regardless of affluence levels.”
Yet it is not only cutbacks and penny pinching that Axa highlighted as a cause for concern – as the recession goes on, it found that a third of the participants in the study have used funds taken from their long term savings simply to make ends meet in the past six months. It is no surprise, then, that 38 per cent of participants stated that financial education should now be included into the national educational curriculum.
With just 16 per cent of those surveyed believing that their long term financial situation will improve, it seems that pessimism is the order of the day for British people tired of living under the cloud of economic hardship. Yet, with the unemployment crisis steadily improving and the stock market finally picking itself up again, surely it can only be a matter of time before this country can go back to normality again?
Do you have any techniques for saving money during the recession that you feel have helped you and your family on a regular basis? Or have you, like many participants in the survey, been forced to dip into your savings in order to make ends meet? Finally, do you believe that Britain is now beginning to turn a corner in terms of the economy, or do you think we have a long way to go before we can all relax and start spending again?
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