Three-quarters of UK adults – approximately 38 million people – worry that they aren’t saving enough money – yet many admit to wasting significant sums each month according to research by Standard Life.

The average UK adult ‘wastes’ £52 per week, money which they feel could have been ‘saved or better spent’ – totalling £2,704 per year. Additionally, they could reduce their spending on average by £92 a month without it having an impact on their lifestyle.

The research indicated that many people favour short term gratification over larger long term gains.

More than 36% of UK adults said they would rather have £100 now than £1,000 in five years’ time. The main reason for favouring the short term was impatience – 45% said five years was just too long to wait.

Furthermore, over half find it hard to resist spending all of the money they earn each month – rising to 69% for those aged under 35. ‘Impulse purchases’ drive this, with 14% making an impulse purchase of over £50 in the past month which they regretted.

And it doesn’t take long for regret to take hold – for 54% it kicks in within a day of spending it.

Over half of adults feel they don’t have enough money left over at the end of each month to make saving seem worthwhile – but this ‘worthwhile’ amount was revealed to be surprisingly high.

On average, UK adults believe that £145 is the minimum amount worth saving each month. Men have a higher threshold in terms of what is considered worthwhile (£174 vs £118 for women).

A Standard Life spokesman said: “It is clear from the research that a large proportion of adults don’t have enough savings to give them peace of mind.“

“An ISA is a fantastic way to start saving regular small amounts of money – you could start by putting aside just £50 per month. Saving through an ISA offers fantastic benefits; unlike other accounts, any interest on your cash balance or gains from investments are tax free, which can help savings grow faster over time.”