A recent thread on Mumsnet exploded after someone posted “After all expenses we are left with about £1k in our account. My husband is flapping saying its not enough of a buffer … my argument is, we are lucky to have that much and we shouldn’t waste time fretting … Am I wrong not to worry?“
These were some of the repeatable responses:
“You’re kidding right? By the end of the month we’re overdrawn past our overdraft.”
“You have £1,000 left over at the end of every month? I’m happy if my balance is around £20 the day before pay day.”
“Good god, I’m lucky if it’s in the black.”
“Crikey! We’ve survived all of the bank hol with £12 in the bank! Only got paid today and expect things will be even tighter next month with DD’s ‘off to uni’ expenses.”
“We feel very lucky if there’s not too much month left at the end of our money.”
… and the succinct but telling …
For many of the millions of families who post on Mumsnet about the worries and pressures of bringing up families, managing the family budget is a constant refrain. The anecdotal evidence is clear – that having a financial buffer at the end of every month is so very far from the experience of most people.
Mumsnet, with its 128 million page views every month, can be a valuable source of anecdotal insight into how people spend their money and how much is left at the end of the month.
And it’s interesting because the Mumsnet contributors are telling a very similar story to what our powerful financial capability technology is reporting.
CaaS (or Categorisation as a Service) is Castlight’s powerful categorisation engine uses open banking technology to identify over 170 categories of income and expenditure across an individual’s bank accounts and provides real-time insights into their financial activity. With some of the leading UK High Street banks, using our CaaS technology to help their customers manage their finances, our Castlight data scientists are processing millions of transactions each month. We regularly collate these anonymised statistics to build a picture of how average British families are managing – and it seems our headline stories very closely reflect the sentiments expressed on Mumsnet.
We have found that, for people with mortgages or other loans with banks:
- 44% of customers end the month with nothing or overspend
- Should the cost of living increase by 3% a further 24% of customers would become financially distressed
- 28% of customers spend most of their money on essentials
- 8% of customers have pay day loans
With so many people in the UK only just managing to keep their heads above water, its more important than ever that we continue to invest in and develop our affordability tools. CaaS is designed to help banks and lenders keep their customers financially safe, the Affordability Passport helps individuals ensure they don’t take on more debt than they can afford and the Big View helps people already in debt to get back on track. Our mission is to create “a safer financial world”.
Or for people like the Mumsnet poster I quoted, our mission is to help ensure there is “no month left at the end of the money”.