04/12/2013 07:29 GMT | Updated 02/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Britain's Savings Go to Holidays, Not Houses Study Says


It's getting close to the holidays and so already people are thinking of how to pay for it. There are TV commercials about saving for Christmas 2014 and so many focused on short term loans. I consider myself pretty financially responsible. Husband and I save carefully for new large items, have a slush fund for emergency replacements (like the washing machine this year and we almost had to replace the car but the repair bill was high enough) and generally try and act responsibly. Checking the study (as of course I did... several times...) I think we're doing fairly well. I don't have kids to help but we do have a house and we do try and save with an ISA every year.

Sadly, I have changed money at an airport. In my defence, it was Romanian Lei and I was unable to order them beforehand. Romania is in the EU but not the Euro and it was all a bit of confusion resulting in me exchanging money during a layover in Munich. Nice airport! Anyway - we save for retirement, we work hard to try and live frugally and we are careful so I was surprised to see that most Brits save for a holiday and not things like a repair fund (speaks the voice of experience).

I think that I am blessed because husband and I don't really argue about money because we are both really careful. We're always trying to save, budget and live frugally. We do have 'holidays' which usually involve staying with my dad :-D which, of course, saves money ;-) but besides ISAs we really don't have a savings plan. My dad invests in mortgages but I'm not sure I want to use my savings for that really...

Saving seems boring but it is crucial. I remember being at 1st year in university and in almost every class having the message that I had to start saving for retirement then hammered in to me. On investigating the site the infographic was made by (Zopa), I found a savings calculator which I played with and realised exactly how much I failed to make by not saving back then... saving the non-existent money I didn't have. . . If I had started with £100 and saved a careful £20 a month, I'd have around £8,000 saved by now (provided I didn't raid it during the lean uni years) compared to £5,000 in a savings account (and no way would I have left that alone). Hours of fun...

Regardless, the message I was fed for years did hit home and I now spend many panicked sleepless night wondering whether I'll be able to make enough to actually retire someday. There are no guarantees and I took some savings advice suggesting I not really retire so much as slow down (comforting - NOT). But research is research and it seems that I am much more fixated on the future then others. Go me!

The research I keep referring to was done by YouGov but the infographic was made by Zopa who have a Grow Your Savings section presumably related to the theme of the infographic being what people save for. Neither the research findings nor the infographic are on that savings page and so for your edification and enjoyment I give you - SNAKES AND LADDERS - a savings story in a board game...