Consumers are saving less and spending more due to the cost of living crisis.

That is according to the latest Bank of Ireland Savings and Investment index, which tracks household attitudes towards savings and investment.

The findings reflect the impact of rising prices, and the back to school costs faced by many households.

Today’s figures show that the Savings and Investment index has dropped to its lowest level since the survey began, with a significant drop in the number of consumers who feel that they are saving enough.

While more people are saving, the data reveals they are savings less.

The index for "do you save" rose six points to 96 but the index for "savings amount" dropped 12 points to 78, its lowest ever level.

When asked whether it will be a good time to save in six months, that score dropped to 85, the second lowest level since 2019.

The figures contrast sharply with consumer attitudes during the pandemic, when the Savings Index reached a peak.

The survey results continue to suggest consumers may be trying to save in the face of uncertainty but they are struggling to do so, given the rising cost of living.

"Rising inflation is having a significant impact on how people view their finances," said Kevin Quinn, Chief Investment Strategist at Bank of Ireland.

"So much so that despite the challenges presented by Covid and the Russia-Ukraine war, the impact of rising prices is possibly the most significant in the past three years in terms of how people view saving and investing.

"For some the environment is proving challenging enough that they have scaled back on their savings," he added.

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The findings show that inflation is the top worry for consumers.

Both the war in Ukraine and Covid have dropped back considerably in the list of top concerns from 32% in May to 17% in August, while Covid has almost dropped off the list of concerns with just 3% seeing it as their biggest concern, below climate change at 16%, a global recession at 14% and the cost of housing at 12%.

The index highlights the differing attitudes of age groups.

Inflation and the cost of living rank highest among both 30-59 year olds and 16-29 year olds.

While the over 60 age group also expressed growing concern about the cost of living, this age bracket was alone in ranking the war in Ukraine as their top worry.

When asked whether consumers believe it is a "good time to invest", the responses dropped to a level below what was recorded during the pandemic and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

38% now think they are investing "nowhere near as much as they should" – the highest level since the survey began.

"With investment markets being so volatile right now - even despite gains made in the summer months – consumers remain nervous about the wider economic environment and there is a conservative tone which reflects the conversations we are having with so many customers," said Mr Quinn.

Meanwhile, when asked about financial preparedness for retirement, the answers haven't changed significantly.

However, Irish people are far less confident about how comfortable they will be in retirement, with this part of the index dropping from 125 in November 2021 to 107 in August 2022.