New research names July as the month that the UK struggles the most to manage its finances, as searches for guidance and help shot up over the summer last year.
The study, created by WealthUp, analysed monthly nationwide and regional Google search volume for keywords related to money concerns, including phrases like ‘how to save money’ and ‘payday loans,’ in the UK, to identify when the nation needed financial advice and help the most in 2023.
It’s no secret that many households had to tighten their belts at one point or another – if not for the whole year – as the country dealt with the cost-of-living crisis – and it turns out this peaked in summer.
In July, searches suggesting money troubles peaked, hitting 513,930 – almost one-tenth (9% increase) above the monthly average of 471,266.
Whilst the reason for this is unclear, searches perhaps reached their highest point at this time of the year as the mounted financial pressures of the cost of living crisis collided with the knock-on effect from a likely increase in spending during June due to the hot weather.
Interestingly, only a mere two months beforehand in May, Brits appeared to be managing well at covering their essential costs and savings on their own.
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Searches were the lowest then than at any other point in 2023, totalling just 458,690 searches – possibly an indication that the nation is better able to budget without the temptation of the sun-inspiring weekend socialising and after-work pints in beer gardens.
The peak in searches continued into the height of summer, as August recorded the second-highest monthly searches at 489,910.
Surprisingly, this even topped January’s figure of 484,710, when searches would be expected to be at an all-time high following the expenses of the festive period and – for many – an early December pay.
2023’s months ranked for financial concerns
|Monthly Search Volume
Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from WealthUp says: “To stop yourself from falling into the trap of overspending and finding yourself desperately hunting for tips and loans, first and foremost, calculate how much you need to cover all non-negotiable spending, such as utility bills and food.
“This way you don’t accidentally cut into the money you need for basic living expenses, because as soon as you come close to maxing out your disposable income, you know it’s time to reign in your spending.
“It’s important to remember that you don’t have to stop enjoying yourself in order to save. Once you have figured out how much you must spend on living costs, see what you have left to play with and just be nifty.
“Go for meals but during happy hour, treat yourself to a beauty treatment but only if they are offering a discounted price for a cancellation, or visit your nearest national park but using a voucher sourced from a newspaper.
“And if you do accidentally go over, all is not lost. Consider any unnecessary costs, for example, if you have a gym membership look to see if they have the option to freeze it for a cheaper cost and do home workouts for the month instead.”