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Lockdown savers ‘have put away more than £1,000 on average’

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·3-min read

Savers have put away more than £1,000 on average since the coronavirus lockdowns first started, a survey has found.

Those who have been able to squirrel some money away have put £1,085.90 aside on average, Nationwide Building Society found.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of people said they have had to cancel or postpone plans because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and around two-fifths (41%) have funnelled this unspent cash into their savings.

  • I have saved more - 38%

  • I have saved less - 25%

  • I have saved the same amount - 23%

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, nearly four in 10 (38%) people said they have been able to save more.

A quarter (25%) have saved less, and 23% have saved the same amount as usual.

The £1,085.90 average relates to all those who have managed to save some money since March, whether it is more, less or the same as their normal habits.

The research also suggests that those on lower earnings have had a bigger struggle to put more money away than people on higher incomes.

A piggy bank being smashed with a hammer
Some 17% of people earning £15,000 or less said they have never saved any money, according to Nationwide Building Society (Anthony Devlin/PA)

More than a quarter (26%) of those earning £15,000 or less have been able to put more money away, compared with 43% of those earning between £25,001 and £35,000, and 59% of those earning £55,001 or more.

For those earning £15,000 or less, 27% said they have saved less since last March and 17% have never saved any money.

Fewer than one in 10 (9%) of those earning between £15,001 and £25,000 said they have never saved any money at all, as did just 3% of those earning more than £55,001.

Nationwide released the findings to coincide with a “get the nation saving” campaign.

It found that half (50%) of those polled said that financial worries due to Covid-19 have made them think more about saving now than they did before.

For nearly a quarter (23%) of people, their savings “lightbulb” moment happened during the first UK lockdown last spring.

More than two-thirds (69%) believe the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the importance of having a financial buffer in place, rising to three-quarters (75%) of those aged 16 to 34.

Looking ahead to life after lockdown, taking a holiday was found to be at the top of people’s priority lists, selected by nearly three in 10 (29%).

One in 16 (6%) said their priority is to see family and friends, and one in 20 (5%) want to attend a sporting event.

To make their plans a reality, around a fifth (19%) said they will need up to £500, while more than a third (34%) expect to need up to £1,000.

People typically believe it will take around five-and-a-half months to save the money needed, although more than three-quarters (77%) think it will take them up to a year.

A fifth (20%) said they will not need to save to be able to carry out their plans.

More than half (58%) of people find technology, such as tools on mobile banking apps, helpful in getting them to save.

Tom Riley, Nationwide’s director of banking and savings, said: “Despite the pandemic, it’s heartening to see a positive shift in our collective savings mindset.

“It’s clear that more people are seeing the importance of building a nest egg.”