People in debt more likely to forgo food than technology, survey reveals

People in debt are more prepared to skip meals than they are to ditch their mobile phones, a new survey from SunLife has revealed. Does the finding highlight misplaced priorities, or could there be a benefit to preferring technology over food?

Phones more important than food

Just 8% of respondents said they would get rid of their mobile if they ran out of money – a sharp decline from the 16% who were willing to give up their phone 12 months ago. 25%, by contrast, said they’d be willing to reduce expenditure on shoes and clothes.

More people would also be prepared to spend less on grocery shopping – not just for themselves, but for their family too. Interestingly, however, respondents were generally less willing to cut back on takeaways than they were on buying ingredients at the supermarket.

SunLife’s findings appear to highlight people’s overreliance on technology – a dependence that can’t be reversed, it seems, even among people in debt. But one psychologist thinks the survey highlights something deeper about people’s purchasing preferences.

Why favouring technology may be beneficial

Claudia Hammond, a Boston University psychology lecturer, told the Independent that people who are financially stretched may, according to the poll, decide to “prioritise mental over physical wellbeing”. As she argues, this could make it a very logical choice.

“It’s quite a rational decision if you know you are likely to be unhappy without your mobile or internet,” she explained to the newspaper, “if you know you are spending the money on the experience of being in touch with your friends."

Hammond added that debtors are “in some ways…being very sensible” by putting technology first if it promotes their emotional health. “We get much more out of experiences than, for example, objects,” she said. “First there’s the joy of anticipation, then there’s the experience itself, followed by the recollection of the experience." 

If you’re in debt and are concerned about affording life’s essentials, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dukes Bailiffs. Our advisers will be happy to explain how you can manage what you owe.