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3 million borrow money to buy food in month
3:20pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
THREE million people borrowed money to buy food in July, according to research by Debt Advisory Centre.
Nearly as many again (2.5 million or five per cent of UK adults) used a credit card or took out a loan to settle gas, electricity and water bills.
Young people are the most likely to have used borrowed money for grocery shopping, with nearly one in five in the 18 to 24 age group and more than one in 10 in the 25 to 34 age group using some form of credit to buy food.
Those aged 25 to 34, along with people aged 35 to 44, were also most likely (eight per cent of each group) to have borrowed to pay utility bills.
While one in 10 in the North East and Scotland said they had used credit to buy food, high percentages of people in the East Midlands (10%), Northern Ireland (nine per cent) and London (eight per cent) had borrowed to pay their gas, electricity or water bills.
Ian Williams of Debt Advisory Centre said: “The cost of food, gas and electricity has soared over the past few years. Many people use credit cards to buy food every day - sometimes to benefit from loyalty schemes and sometimes just to make ends meet.
“But unless you pay off your credit card balance in full every month, you are likely to be paying high charges on every pound you borrow. This could easily wipe out any savings you make by shopping carefully.
“The fact that so many people are having to borrow to meet their utility bills during the summer - when heating bills are usually lower - could signal real trouble approaching this winter. Most of us need to borrow a little money from time to time but borrowing to pay for essentials such as food and utilities could be a sign that you are struggling financially.
“If you are having problems making your money stretch, try using a budget planner such as the one on the Debt Advisory Centre website - debtadvisorycentre.co.uk/docs/budget-planner.pdf - to work out where your money is going and how you can cut costs.
“And if you are worried you won’t be able to afford to heat your home this winter or are struggling to pay bills, contact your provider to explain the situation and see if they can offer you a cheaper tariff or agree a plan to spread the payments.
“If that doesn’t help, then you should seek expert advice.”
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