Research from HSBC reveals that 8.8million households have less than £250 in savings set aside as a financial safety net

A third of people, some 8.8 million households, would not be able to last a week if they suddenly lost their income.

The number of households with £250 or less set aside as a financial safety net has shot up by 800,000 since last October when it was eight million, according to research from HSBC.

Based on average monthly outgoings of £1,500 they would only last five days before running out of funds but, for a quarter of people, it would be almost immediate as they have no savings at all to fall back on.

It is difficult to find any spare cash to save in the current climate when incomes are dropping and bills keep rising but it is important to try and build up a fund as a financial cushion.

The general rule is to have a minimum of three months' salary to see you through any unexpected financial glitches in life.

Getting into the habit of putting even small amounts into a regular saver account makes good financial sense and will mean you gradually build up a safety net - and don't risk having to resort to building up debt.