The secret to happiness: Saving an extra £50 each month

Savings success has a direct impact on people’s mood, according to new research from NS&I that reveals 26 million Britons (53%) say saving improves their state of mind.
  • 9 million Britons say they would feel better if they saved only £50 more each month (approx. £1.66 a day)
  • Six in ten Britons (62%) are currently dissatisfied with their savings, although many admit to splashing out on

Savings success has a direct impact on people’s mood, according to new research from NS&I that reveals 26 million Britons (53%) say saving improves their state of mind. Simple savings strategies are making the nation happier and topping up savings pots at the same time. Of those who aren’t satisfied with their savings, almost a third (30%) say their mood would improve if they saved up to as much as £50 more each month (approx. £1.66 a day), and one in ten (12%) would only need to put away up to £30 more each month.

Some people are already making the most of simple savings strategies to save them money, and more people could be doing the same. One of the most popular ways people are saving money when shopping is by planning ahead and using discount cards or vouchers, or buying items which have been reduced in price. Half of the country (48%) is making savings in this way, and NS&I’s research shows this small daily action can amount to an extra £132 over the course of the year.

Other saving strategies being used by Britons include:

  • Two-fifths (41%) collect loose change
  • Over a third (36%) plan ahead and buy items in bulk for a discounted price
  • 35% use online money management tools
  • 35% commit to putting a portion of their earnings in a savings account each month
  • More than a fifth (22%) save money on daily transport, by cycling, walking or car sharing
  • A fifth (20%) grow their own vegetables to save on grocery bills
  • One in ten people (11%) add that ‘special touch’ to birthdays by giving homemade cards and gifts to loved ones, rather than giving shop-bought items

And the benefits aren’t short-lived, as nearly two-thirds (65%) of Britons said they feel a real sense of achievement when they make regular savings over the long term.

John Prout, NS&I Retail Customer Director, said:

“Whether it’s taking advantage of discounted items, buying items on offer or in the sales, or using online money management tools, millions of Britons are planning their finances in advance and feeling happier as a result. Furthermore, they are growing their savings pots too. For people who aren’t satisfied with their savings, it doesn’t require big changes to lay aside an extra £1.66 each day (equating to £50 a month)- it can be as simple as walking short distances rather than taking the bus. Those using regular to savings tricks have shown that it’s so often the simplest daily changes that can make a big difference.”

NS&I’s Savings Survey shows there are still a significant number of people struggling to manage their finances efficiently. Over half (62%) of the population remain dissatisfied with their savings with over a third (37%) worrying about their finances. More alarmingly, 16% of Britons aren’t using any strategies to improve their savings levels. NS&I’s research indicates it is often a lack of forward planning that leads to this stress.

People who are dissatisfied and worried about their savings are most likely to splash out on spur-of-the-moment indulgences, with two-fifths (42%) admitting to this. Another way Britons are failing to plan ahead is spending more than needed on essential items, with a quarter (26%) regretting this expense. 17% of Britons also reported that they regretted purchasing duplicate items, for example leaving the house without an umbrella and needing to buy one during a downpour. Other savings regrets include:

  • Spending more than needed on daily living costs, such as buying lunch instead of making it (26%)
  • Receiving unnecessary fines, such as parking tickets (20%)
  • Going on expensive nights out with friends and family (18%)
  • Committing to contracts which are barely used, like gym memberships or film subscriptions (12%)

John Prout, NS&I Retail Customer Director, explained:

“The secret to savings success is often as simple as setting a realistic goal and sticking to it and the good news is that over half (55%) of Britons feel they have achievable targets already in place. However, our findings show that a third (34%) of the population are frustrated that they aren’t saving regularly. We’re encouraging people to make a small daily change with their money management as it may help to improve their state-of-mind as well as their bank balance. Approaches like this don’t take too long to implement, but may stop money worries in the future.”

Notes to editors

On average Britons save £90 per month.

About this research

The most recent Lifestyle section of the NS&I Savings Survey was conducted by TNS, among 2,448 British adults aged 16+ between 16 and 23 August 2012. The main 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 26 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. Savings tips including a later life guide and further information on personal finance are available in the You and Your Money section on