Extent of the recession revealed by families

recession impact

recession impactThe extent of the recession on families across the UK is certainly tough to truly gauge.

One thing's for sure, according to new figures released by the research company HPI, is that most of us have had to make serious cutbacks in order to keep our finances in check.

The economic slowdown has had an impact on almost every aspect of our lives from saving, bills and shopping to health, socialising and diet.

As many as 78% of respondents to its budgeting study say that securing value for money in everyday spending has now become more important to them. Consequently, most have finally become more savvy when it comes to shopping and seeking out the best deals.

Three-quarters of those surveyed now take more care and shop around before they buy, with just under half of us now haggling for things we want.

Is your health at risk?

However, while most people are making cutbacks in sensible ways, some are inadvertently putting their health at risk by attending check-ups less regularly.

Almost a fifth of us are visiting the dentists less frequently, while 17% who need them are having fewer eye tests. Over a quarter (27%) even admit they are eating less healthily than before the downturn.

Juliet Strachan, Managing Partner at HPI, described this as an "increasingly worrying trend" which "could store up problems for the future".

There has also been a significant rise in the number of people using their nest egg savings to support everyday expenditure.

Stay ahead of the game

In order to help you stay one step ahead of the game, HPI researchers have developed six coping strategies that will help you save the pennies without jeopardizing your family's health.

Delaying purchases and putting things off is cited as a primary strategy, as is reassessing what is important and getting rid of things that you don't really need.

Keep an eye out for vouchers and discounts which can save you money, and don't be afraid to haggle - it is now seen as clever!

Stick to what you know and avoid any risks - tried and tested is best! Also, seek out added value and become more selective when shopping. Searching for the best price may be time consuming but it is definitely worth it!

Juliet Strachan admits: "There is pain, but in the long-term there could be gain as well, as consumers come out of the recession still intent on getting more from their spending - and feeling good about their smart savings in the process."