Brits are scrambling to tighten their belts amid a cost of living crisis which has sent the price of bills soaring, fresh data has revealed.
Last month transactions accounted for more than £6.9bn of spending, up by 19 per cent compared to the total spend in February 2021 according to Nationwide spending data.
Spending on fuel and electric vehicle charging was up by 70 per cent year-on-year at £249m in February, debt jumped by 23 per cent to £488m while spending of utilities and bills increased 15 per cent to £439m.
“As inflation impacts how much money we can spend and where we are spending it, we expect overall spend to outstrip last year, particularly in areas where the rising cost of living is likely to be having a big impact, such as utilities, bills and fuel,” said Mark Nalder, the head of payments at Nationwide Building Society.
“We do, however, anticipate the need for many households to curb non-essential spending as they do their best to balance family finances,” he continued.
Traditionally the quietest month of the year for spending, Brits forked out nine per cent in February compared to the previous month with non-essential spending down four per cent and essential spend down 12 per cent. In a sign consumers are tightening their belts retail spending was down 14 per cent in February compared to the previous month.
The data comes after money saving expert Martin Lewis yesterday warned that rising bills are creating an “untenable” situation for UK families. Lewis warned that with the cost of annual energy bills expected to rise by £1,300 in October 10m Brits will be plunged into fuel poverty without government intervention.