30 Jan 2024

Nationwide Reaffirms Cost-Of-Living Support As Poll Shows Cumulative Impact Of Rising Bills On Typical British Family

  • New research highlights impact of cost-of-living crisis since 2021 as 69% of families more worried compared to last year
  • Since 2021, average family energy bills have risen by 63%, fuel by 39%, food by 32%, rent by 26% and mortgages by 22%
  • Percentage of families with no spare cash at the end of each month almost doubles between 2022 and 2023
  • Britain’s biggest building society reminds worried or struggling customers to contact its dedicated cost-of-living helpline
  • But one in five feel that financial pressures are starting to ease in 2024, and are hopeful things will start to improve

Research from Nationwide shows how costs have soared for the typical British family since 2021 – from mortgage or rent payments to food, energy and fuel – with more than one in five households having less than £100 spare each month.

Continued high costs have led to more than two thirds (69%) of family households feeling more worried about their finances in 2024 compared to a year ago, the poll shows. The average amount of discretionary money available to families each month has dropped from £328 in 2021 to £295 in 2022 and £237 at the end of 2023.

The research found that more than one in five (22%) families had no more than £100 spare a month by the end of last year – almost double the percentage in 2021 (13%). The percentage of families with no money left at all by the end of each month also increased nearly twofold, from 11 per cent in 2022 to 21 per cent in 2023.

The poll of more than 2,000 people comes as Nationwide reaffirms support for customers worried or struggling with the cost of living.

Since last August, Britain’s biggest building society has operated a dedicated cost-of-living helpline (0800 030 40 66), with trained experts able to provide support in-branch, over the telephone or by video (see Notes to Editor). Support can range from conducting financial health checks to forbearance options for those facing financial difficulties.

Furthermore, Nationwide borrowers can also access its Mortgage Manager tool, enabling them to review, and make changes to, their mortgage, including extending their mortgage term, making overpayments, and checking their current term and any potential Early Repayment Charges.

However, despite the cost-of-living support that is available, Nationwide’s research found that almost half (49%) of those who haven’t yet spoken to their bank or building society say that either they don’t know who to speak to about their financial situation, or don’t think their financial institution could help them.

Mandy Beech, Director of Retail Services at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Despite the rate of inflation coming down, many households continue to feel the pressure as costs remain historically high. Families have been hit particularly hard, with little spare money at the end of the month. What is most concerning is where people have said that they don’t know who to speak to about their financial situation, or don’t think their bank or building society could help them.

“We are here for our customers. Our cost-of-living helpline was set up to support our customers through this crisis and help them get back on track. Our branches also provide face-to-face, cost-of-living support to those who need it. We would urge anyone with concerns to get in touch with their financial services provider for support sooner rather than later because it could make a positive difference.”

The table below brings into focus the additional pressure that has been added to the average family bill each month since 2021, compared to the end of 2023, with respondents seeing significant spend increases across all categories.

Category (average per month)




% Change 2021 vs. 2023











Food Bills





Energy Bills





Fuel Costs





Spare Cash





*Please note that amounts listed are mean averages based on responses from research participants.

Mortgages: Successive interest rate rises had seen mortgage rates increase since last spring, leading to the average monthly payment rising by almost a quarter (22%).  The number of families paying over £750 each month on their mortgage rose to 51 per cent of respondents in 2023, compared to around 37 per cent two years before. However, recent rate reductions should help to ease financial pressure here in the coming months. Nationwide is committed to providing support to borrowers who are in financial difficulty and, as signatories of the Government’s Mortgage Charter, provides additional options to those who may be struggling. Furthermore, Nationwide wrote to 1.3 million mortgage customers to inform them of the support available.

Rent: The impact on rent payments has been even more pronounced, with over 56 per cent of households now paying over £750 per month, compared to just 33 per cent in 2021.

Food Bills: With recent supply chain issues, and food producers incurring higher costs, families are seeing the costs of their shopping baskets increase by 32 per cent since 2021.

Energy Bills: It is here where most families have seen the biggest impact on their household finances, with the average monthly bill now over £200 per month, an increase of 63 per cent in just two years. With the Energy Price Cap having recently increased again, pressure is set to increase further. Nationwide’s relationship with energy switching service, Switchd, provides members with a free 6-month subscription to help find a cheaper energy deal and help reduce some of the pressure on household finances.

Fuel Costs: As the cost of fuel crept up again in recent months1, before falling away slightly in November and December, more than one in four (26%) say they have to stop filling up their car with fuel at an exact amount due to cost pressures, with a further 24 per cent saying they drive around to find the cheapest fuel, rather than visiting their nearest petrol station.

The poll also uncovered some of the steps families are having to take to afford their energy bills this winter, at a time when most areas of the UK are experiencing more extreme weather. Almost 16 per cent say they will have to work more hours to earn more money, 16 per cent say they will need to use their credit card and 15 per cent will need to borrow money from family and friends to cover their bills. Almost half (46%) are reducing other outgoings to help cover energy bills this winter.

A less gloomy outlook?

Despite more than four in ten (43%) describing their financial situation as worse in January 2024 than six months ago, there are signs of an improving outlook ahead. Over two thirds (67%) of respondents said they had adapted either fairly well, or very well, to the cost-of-living crisis and over 50 per cent say that, while things are tight, they are managing to meet their financial obligations. One in five (20%) feel pressure is beginning to ease and are hopeful that things will get better in the coming months.

 - Ends -

Notes to editors

  1. According to Gov.uk stats on average fuel costs - Monthly and annual prices of road fuels and petroleum products - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) – between August and December 2023 (looking at average price of super unleaded petrol per litre)


Research conducted by Censuswide on a poll of 2,023 parents (18+) with children living at home in the UK. Research conducted between 18th-22nd January 2024. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.


Nationwide cost-of-living helpline: The hotline (0800 030 40 66) was launched last August. It is supported by dedicated, trained experts across Nationwide. It is available from 8am-8pm Monday - Saturday. Nationwide aims to answer calls within ten minutes.  

All frontline colleagues have been providing cost-of-living help for customers, whether in branch or on the telephone, while trained cost-of-living experts offer face-to-face, telephone and video appointments.  Anyone in financial hardship should contact their bank or building society for support. See more at Cost of living | Nationwide