Have you ever got an electricity bill and suddenly thought, “that’s a bit steep!”? If so, you may have gone to check bills from the past few months to see if this has happened more than once. To your frustration, you discover that your provider upped their prices a while back. And then, you have the lightbulb moment. You’ve been meaning to shop around for a new electricity plan, but you forgot to sort it as you’ve been so busy.
Sound familiar? You aren’t alone! Still, it can leave us wondering, just how much we could save by acting today rather than tomorrow. We decided to dig a bit deeper, asking 2,000 UK adults about which five-minute jobs they put off most often and why, as well as revealing how much this can end up costing them in fines or automatic renewals.
The top ten ‘life admin’ tasks that Brits are putting off most often are:
- Shopping around for a cheaper gas and electric providers (41%)
- Shopping around for a cheaper internet provider (36%)
- Shopping around for a cheaper phone contract (33%)
- Budgeting for the rest of the month (27%)
- Managing their savings (27%)
- Checking their pensions (27%)
- Managing their bank accounts (23%)
- Managing subscriptions e.g. Netflix, iTunes, gym memberships (22%)
- Paying bills – setting up direct debits or transferring money (20%)
- Shopping around for cheaper home insurance (17%)
Today or tomorrow?
Were there any big surprises in the top 10 list? Perhaps not. Yet, taking a closer look at the research reveals some interesting trends on what we avoid doing today and leave for tomorrow.
Better provider, better savings
- 41% of us avoid finding a cheaper provider for our energy needs.
- Scottish residents (41.21%) are the least proactive when it comes to shopping around for a cheaper internet provider than anyone else in the UK.
- Those who are 55+ (36%) are most likely to leave shopping around for a cheaper phone contract until tomorrow. This drops to 30% for those who are 25-34.
- It’s an even split when it comes to how many men and women put off paying bills. (19.7% vs 19.69%).
- Those who are aged 45-54 (34%) are more likely to avoid checking their pensions, compared to those aged 18-24 (13%).
- Northern Ireland residents (37.5%) bypass budgeting for the month more than anyone else in the UK.
That’s a penalty!
- A third of us (31%) have ended up with a financial penalty for putting off ‘life admin’.
- Men (19.18%) are more likely to get a fine of between £10-£14.99 than women (13.37%) as a result of evading five-minute jobs.
- Those aged between 18-24 (2%), 35-44 (2%) and those 55+ (2%) have been fined a staggering £500 or over for avoiding tasks.
- Those who are earning on average between £35,000 and £50,000 (32%) put off sorting their subscriptions for Netflix, Amazon Prime, gym memberships and more.
- 18-24-year-olds are more likely to leave managing their subscriptions for tomorrow than any other age group.
- Women (23.46%) are only slightly more likely to avoid managing their subscriptions than men (21.06%).
“There’s always going to be a reason we can come up with for putting off life admin tasks. Can they be boring? Would we rather be doing something else? Too right we would!
“They need sorting though. And, you only have to look at how much putting off the small tasks can cost to get an idea of the possible financial impact of always saying ‘tomorrow’ to the more significant life admin tasks, such as checking your pension. The simple fact is, there are specialists out there that can help with the big and little life admin tasks and it clearly pays to use them!”
How do you compare?
Now let’s be honest. How many of those five-minute jobs do you put off and when was the last time you made a quick comparison between yourself and someone else? It’s human nature to make comparisons and you never know, they may help you to think differently on how you can make a positive change to tackle those nagging tasks. And you don’t have to tackle them alone.
There is specialist help out there and it could have a big, positive impact on your life. For example, last year’s ILC report showed that people who take pension advice are, on average, £27,000 better off than those who don’t1. That’s a lot of money to miss out on by putting something off until tomorrow. Best of all, it’s really easy to check something like your pension and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.
1The Value of Financial Advice. A Research Report from ILC-UK July 2017