Savings levels are down and women are the most under pressure

  • Women are struggling the most – men are now saving a larger percentage of their income than women for the first time since Summer 2011
  • Savings levels have dropped from the previous quarter and the average amount saved (£88) is the lowest level, in real terms, for a year
  • The majority of age groups are saving less in terms of the percentage of income saved each month, only those aged 35-44 are saving more

NS&I’s latest Quarterly Savings Survey reveals an end to recent behaviour where women have saved a greater proportion of their income than men. Men have overtaken women, in terms of the percentage of income saved, for the first time since Summer 2011, saving 7.00% of their incomes each month, £103 in real terms, while women are saving just 6.84% of their income (£72).

Amount saved as a % of income

Men (%) Women (%)
Spring 2011 8.43 8.19
Summer 2011 7.55 7.51
Autumn 2011 7.20 7.54
Winter 2011/12 7.21 8.38
Spring 2012 6.88 7.36
Summer 2012 6.82 7.65
Autumn 2012 7.10 7.69
Winter 2012 7.96 8.37
Spring 2013 7.00 6.84


Though men are saving a greater percentage of their income each month, it is the lowest proportion since Summer 2012. Savings levels by women are at their lowest since Autumn 2010.

John Prout, NS&I Retail Customer Director, said: “The results of our latest Savings Survey show an unsettled picture with unusual savings behaviour. Savings levels have decreased from the high levels recorded in the last quarter, and it appears women are under the most pressure financially with their savings levels dropping to 6.84% of their income each month, £72 in real terms. They haven’t been quite so low since Autumn 2010.”

In the research almost a quarter of women (24%) stated they did not put any money into savings each month, compared to just over a fifth of men (22%), and this has been a constant trend since the same quarter last year. This reversal of savings behaviour may last a little while yet as 18% of men stated they were more likely to save money in the coming three months, as opposed to 15% of women.

Furthermore, an increasing number of men (57%) feel that they have enough money in savings to cope in an emergency, compared to 48% of women, showing that for the second time in the last year the gap has widened between the two genders. In Autumn 2012, 54% of men had enough in savings should an emergency occur, compared to half (50%) of women.

Across the board the picture is not encouraging: savings levels have dropped significantly from 8.09% (£104) in the last quarter to 6.89% (£88) in this quarter. This is the lowest monetary figure saved for a year and the lowest percentage of income saved since Autumn 2010. This indicates a seasonal trend; a decrease in savings levels between the Winter months and Spring has been apparent over the last two years.

Added to this, only 16% of Britons thought they would be more likely to save in the next three months, a drop from 20% one year ago, while 22% believe they will be less likely to save in the next three months.

Savings levels have decreased across the board in terms of age range, except for those aged 35-44, with those aged between 16-34 seeing dramatic drops. Those in the 45-54 age group are currently saving the lowest amount per head for that age range – £78 – since the survey began in 2004. 

Amount saved as percentage of average income

Winter 2012/13 Spring 2013
16-24 10.70% 7.43%
25-34 9.29% 7.47%
35-44 6.60% 6.76%
45-54 6.34% 5.97%
55-64 7.89% 6.91%
65+ 9.18% 7.23%


Savings ideas including further information on personal finance are available in the You and your money section.

NS&I spokespeople are available to discuss the results. ISDN for interviews: 020 7828 5288

Regional data available on request

About this research

The most recent NS&I Savings Survey was conducted by TNS, among 2,422 Great British adults aged 16+ between 28 May and 03 June 2013. We also refer to NS&I Savings Surveys with data collected by TNS, among 2,454 Great British adults aged 16+ between 06 and 12 November 2012, among 2,448 Great British adults aged 16+ between 16 and 23 August 2012, among 2,444 Great British adults aged 16+ between 04 and 10 May 2012, among 2,580 Great British adults aged 16+ between 28 July and 01 August 2011, and among 3,005 Great British adults aged 16+ between 03 September and 07 November 2010. The survey has been running every quarter since winter 2004, and is a snapshot of how the nation is saving.

About NS&I

NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with over 25 million customers and over £100 billion invested. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order.

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