Almost one in five people has no cash left over after spending on essentials.
Consumers are about £10 a month worse off than they were a year ago as incomes have failed to keep up with living costs, the Lloyds TSB spending power report found.
Following Christmas, the number of people saying they had no spending power at all once their bills were paid rose from 15 per cent to a “worrying” 19 per cent in January.
Scotland saw the biggest increases in essential spending in January, with household bills up by 5 per cent and fuel up by 12 per cent year-on-year.
The UK-wide study questioned 2,553 consumers in January.