The average person in the UK accrued £2,263 ($3,134) worth of debt over the past year, new research has revealed.
Findings from savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk revealed that millennials, aged between 25 and 34, were the age group that built up the most debt since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, at an average of £2,673.
At the other end of the scale, those over 55 accrued on average £1,777 of debt – the lowest build-up of any age group and almost £1,000 less than millennials.
Personal debt is estimated to stand at a total of £6,338, excluding mortgages, the study showed, with 12% of people set to see their debt levels increase before the end of lockdown on 21 June.
Data also revealed that women currently owe an average of £5,852 – almost £1,000 less than the average man, which stands at £6,854.
Watch: How to prevent getting into debt
More than a third (36%) of the 2,026 Brits surveyed admitted to worrying about finances every day since March 2020, while 34% felt anxious about life returning to “normal” from a financial point of view, as lockdown has meant less of a need to budget.
Out of those that have borrowed money in the last 12 months, a quarter said they had accumulated up to £1,000 in debt (23%), while 15% say they owe up to £2,000, rising to £3,000 for one in 10 people (10%).
On a regional level, over half (52%) of residents in Cardiff are currently in debt, the highest in the UK. Manchester followed closely behind with 48% and London, Oxford and Bristol at 45%.
The best areas were Brighton, Norwich and Plymouth, in which just 34% of residents admit to currently being in debt.
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk,said: “A year on from the first national lockdown, this research proves just how much of an impact the pandemic has had on our finances and our concerns around money. It’s particularly worrying to learn that more than a third of us have had anxieties about finances every day this year.
“With many of us feeling daunted about managing money after lockdown, now is the perfect time to put in place some simple habits that will help keep your finances in order.”
Vouchercodes has advised Brits to shop around to find the best deals on the things they need to buy, as well as set spending limits on banking apps to help keep a secure grasp on monthly spending. It also said people can set up a direct debit to a savings account to ensure money is kept back for essentials.
Watch: How to save money on a low income
It comes as some 69% of Brits admitted they do not discuss their debt with others, with more than half (53%) saying they are too embarrassed to talk about it.
According to debt management company Lowell, which is supporting Debt Awareness Week starting on Monday, debt is still a stigma for many people in the UK.
Brits are hiding a total of £8.5m ($11.8m) worth of debt from their family and friends, with around 21 million hidden credit cards, loans and overdrafts. Lowell surveyed 658 of its customers in Feb/March this year.
Embarrassment was the primary reason for hidden debt, followed by 40% of people “feeling like a burden” and 38% saying they didn’t believe others needed to know.
Lowell said the past year had been “a whirlwind of uncertainty for our lifestyles, jobs, and finances. Because of this, it’s never been more important for people to speak up if they are feeling under financial pressure.”
Watch: Should I move in with my parents to save money?