New figures suggest that a quarter of UK adults have less than £100 in savings.
Data from the Money and Pensions Service which commissioned the survey, showed that people are borrowing to cover rising costs, which is causing financial stress in the run up to Christmas.
Debt advisors are expecting a sharp increase in enquiries over the winter as people struggle to pay energy and fuel bills, and deal with the ever-increasing cost of basic food items.
Seek help from debt charities
The research found that of 3,000 people, one in six held no savings. Another 5% had less than £50 and a further 4% had between £50 and £100 set aside.
If those figures reflect the UK as a whole, then millions of people have very little savings.
Energy providers are asking people to seek help from debt charities, if they are unbale to pay their bills.
Talk to loved ones
The Money and Pensions Service runs the Moneyhelper website, which includes a free debt advice locator.
It is running a week-long Talk Money campaign urging people to speak up about their financial position and is encouraging people to plan for the future, taking free debt advice as soon as they realise they could be facing difficulties.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, chief executive of the government-backed organisation. said: “Millions of people find it a challenge to save, and this leaves them vulnerable when sudden expenditure items arise. When you add in the anxiety that they feel with their credit commitments, the weight of that worry can quickly become overwhelming.”
“We want everyone to start the conversation with family or friends and share the burden of any money worries. By dealing with the problem head on, people can discover just how helpful free debt advice can be and see the importance of talking to their creditors early. They can also begin to find a way forward, no matter how difficult their situation might feel.”