One in five Scots running out of money before payday, study finds

Citizens Advice Scotland found 9% of people always run out of money before payday.

Citizens Advice Scotland say one in five Scots running out of money before payday iStock

One in five Scots are running out of money before payday, a study has revealed. 

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said the study carried out by YouGov found 9% of people always run out of money before payday, which includes pensions and benefits payments as well as wages. 

A further 11% said they run out of money most of the time. 

It comes as the UK is undergoing a cost of living crisis, with the prices of fuel, energy and food skyrocketing in recent months. 

As a result, CAS warned the rising cost of living may leave people with no option but to take on debt, with increasing numbers of people at risk of poverty leading to a rising demand for money and debt advice. 

“One in five people running out of money before pay day is extremely concerning, given that these figures have seen an increase since 2021,” CAS financial health spokesperson Myles Fitt said. 

“The cost of living crisis is with us and these figures are an early indicator. With soaring energy bills and prices continuing to rise in the shops people are facing increasingly difficult, and in some cases impossible, choices on spending.

“A real issue here is that incomes simply aren’t keeping up with costs. Social security payments like Universal Credit effectively fell in real terms this year, and that was after the decision last autumn to remove the £20 per week uplift to the benefit.”

The charity is encouraging people to seek advice from the Citizens Advice network, whether that is online, through digital self-help tools like or from a local Citizens Advice Bureau.

“If people are worried or struggling with money we would encourage them to seek advice from the Citizens Advice network. That can mean our online self-help tools like or our public advice site, or from a local CAB.

We would like to see policy-makers take every measure they can whether large or small to help blunt the impact of the cost of living because it will be through cumulative and collective effort that we can help as many people as we can to get through this crisis.

“Advice plays a key role and the difference it makes can be truly life-changing. One in five people saw a financial gain after getting advice from a CAB last year, and the value of those gains were a staggering £4,400. We’re here to help, our advice is free, confidential and impartial and people shouldn’t hesitate in coming to us.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “We recognise the pressures on the cost of living and we are doing what we can to help, including spending £22bn across the next financial year to support people in Scotland and across the UK.

“For the hardest hit, we’re putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families on Universal Credit, have boosted the minimum wage by more than £1,000 a year for full-time workers and our Household Support Fund is there to help with the cost of everyday essentials.”

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