Spending on subscriptions, dating and DIY falls as people rely on credit cards to pay for essentials, analysis finds

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People spent less on subscription services, home improvements and dating in February, analysis by Britain’s biggest building society shows.

Despite being the month of love, the volume of dating transactions fell by a third (33%) last month compared with February 2022, also falling by 7% by value, Nationwide Building Society found of its members’ outgoings.

Meanwhile, spending on subscriptions fell by 6% annually by volume and 3% by value.

The value of households’ spending on DIY also fell by 4% compared with February 2022, though the number of transactions increased by 3% annually.

The cutbacks were made as spending on several essential outgoings rocketed.

Compared with February last year, the value of spending on utility bills rose by around a third (34%).

Spending on mortgage payments jumped by 17%, rent payments were up by 11%, spending on loans increased by 8%, and spending on insurance increased by 7% annually by value.

Nationwide’s monthly report analysed millions of debit card, credit card and direct debit transactions by its customers.

It comes as a survey of more than 2,000 people by Censuswide last month found that some two-thirds (63%) of people are worried about their personal finances and their ability to cover essential costs – slightly down on the 70% of people who said this in January.

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It also showed that nearly a quarter (23%) of people said they had already reduced or cancelled TV subscriptions, with a further 14% considering doing so, the survey commissioned by Nationwide found.

In the past six months, nearly two-fifths (38%) had used credit cards to cover essential items in order to bridge the gap to their next payday.

Mark Nalder, payments strategy and performance director at Nationwide, said: “Our research shows that while the number of people worried about their finances has fallen slightly, there are people relying on credit as a way of bridging the gap for essential bills.

“We’d urge anyone (who is) struggling to talk to their bank or building society as early as possible for support. We have a dedicated cost of living hotline to do just that.”

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