Are women struggling more with finances than men?

Women are suffering most in the financial squeeze, according to the latest figures from credit management group Intrum.

A survey of 20,000 consumers across Europe shows that people are spending more of their income on essentials than they did in the past. Banks recommend following the 50-30-20 rule, suggesting an allocation of half income to essentials, 30% to discretionary items and 20% to savings.

The financial crisis has made these target figures challenging for consumers to meet, with many struggling to stay afloat. On average, UK consumers are now using 59% of their income to pay for essentials such as housing, groceries and energy bills, allocating 24% to discretionary spending and saving only 17% of their income.

Women spending more on essentials than men

However, when these figures are broken down, the situation is significantly worse for women. Women spend an average of 64% of their income on essentials, compared with 53% for men. They spend 21% of their income on discretionary items, while men allocate 28% of their income to this category. Savings figures show that women are only able to put aside 15% of their income on average, compared with 18% that men can save.

The financial crisis has exacerbated gender inequalities when it comes to money. Women are spending less of their income on luxuries and ‘nice to have’ items than their male counterparts. They are also saving less – something that has long-term implications for financial wellbeing.
says Intrum UK MD Jim Appleby

Unsurprisingly, women are feeling more downbeat about their earning power than men. They are also more likely to report that financial concerns are harming their mental or physical health. Almost half of women (49%) said lack of money has made them deprioritise their physical health – for example buying cheaper food or cutting gym memberships – compared with 39% of men.

Mental health crisis looms

In the last 12 months, 45% of women say their mental health has suffered as a result of worrying about their finances and bills (compared with 37% of men).

Despite these challenges, women are less likely to skip bills. When questioned, 16% of men in the UK said they expected to skip at least one bill this year. Only 10% of women said the same.

Ultimately, more than eight in ten of are planning changes to spending to cover the cost of living. Almost half of UK consumers (45%) are thinking about adding an extra job or side hustle to manage in 2024.

People are willing to work their way free of problem debt. But there is a feeling that even this won’t lead to the same standard of living their parents had. More than half of the people we spoke to feel they will be less well off when it comes to savings, property and pensions than the previous generations.
says Appleby

If you would like to discover more of Intrum’s ECPR Pulse survey data and insights, please visit European Consumer Payment Report 2024 - Pulse 



Intrum UK

Intrum is the industry-leading provider of credit management services across 20 markets in Europe. By helping companies to get paid and support people with their late payments, Intrum leads the way to a sound economy and plays a critical role in society at large. Intrum has circa 10,000 dedicated professionals who serve around 80,000 companies across Europe. In 2022, revenues amounted to SEK 19.5 billion. Intrum is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and publicly listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange. For further information, please visit

Contact person

For further information, please contact:

Ian Davies

Client & Sales Director

+44 (0) 7960 580 747