By Ian Lewis
Millions of Britons have no savings at all put aside for a rainy day, new research suggests.
The survey carried out for the government-backed Money Advice Service (MAS) found a third of the adults questioned - a proportion equating to 16 million across the UK - have no savings to fall back on in the case of an emergency.
Most claimed their income does not allow for it. Its report said the lack of a financial cushion has left people "living on the edge every day".
The survey also found that two-thirds of those who have no contingency savings are now worried about how they would meet unforeseen expenses.
According to MAS the average household had to fork out just over £1,100 on unexpected bills last year.
But it said these costs could be offset by people putting away just £3 per day.
Caroline Rookes, MAS's chief executive officer, said: "We urge everyone to plan for 'rainy days' and build up a buffer to cover unforeseen costs.
"Even a small pot will help you cope with the shock of the unexpected and ease the strain.
"Setting a small amount gradually - such as £3 a day - will really pay off in the long term and provide peace of mind if you're hit by an emergency bill."
Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of the adults surveyed by the independent body, said their budget had been thrown into disarray by an unforeseen bill last year.
Pressure on household budgets
Meanwhile, the most expensive unexpected costs seem to be loans to family and friends.
Nearly one in eight (12 per cent) said they had loaned money to loved ones last year, giving them an average of £2,482.
More than a third (37 per cent) of those who have squirrelled money away said they had to use some of it last year and now had less savings than they did a year ago.
Not having a high enough income and the pressure this puts on household budgets, is the most common reason people give for not being able to put money away regularly, the research found.
Just under a third said that after paying their mortgage and household bills they have nothing left over to put in a savings account or cookie jar.