We’ve all heard the phrase ‘saving for a rainy day’, but how many of us are actually doing it?

Research from Lloyds Bank suggests that nearly a third of people dip into their savings to cover the surprise spends life throws at them, yet only a quarter of us are keeping a rainy day fund for unexpected costs.

According to the research, 31% of people had to dip into their savings to cover unexpected outgoings in the last three months of 2015.

Despite this, only 26% said their main reason for saving was to build a rainy day fund.

According to the report, a fifth of people are saving for their children and grandchildren

The latest Lloyds Bank Savings Report, focused on the final quarter of 2015, compiles research including interviews with more than 6,000 UK adults aged 18-75 who have a bank account.

It found that more than a quarter (26%) of savers said they have set savings targets and are on track to meet them, compared to 16% who set targets but don’t think they’ll meet them.

Of those who are on track, half put their success down to good budgeting, while 30% said that setting realistic goals in the first place had helped them stay on track. 

58% of those who don’t believe they’re on track to meet their targets felt this was down to increased living costs – the most common reason by a long way.

And according to the report, a fifth of people are saving for their children and grandchildren, up from 17% in the previous quarter.

Men’s savings are on the up, with the proportion able to save £1-3,000 in the last month rising from 73% to 76%

When it comes to the battle of the sexes, men’s savings are on the up, according to the report, with the proportion able to save between £1 and £3,000 in the last month increasing from 73% to 76%. 

The proportion of women who had been able to save the same amount also increased, rising from 5% to 7%.

According to the report, it’s not just down to whether you’re a man or a woman but where you’re from.

People in the South West are the least likely to have saved throughout the year (21% on average in 2015) with the same proportion not saving anything at all in the past month during the final quarter of 2015.

A fifth of people in Yorkshire and The Humber (20%) and Wales (19%) also saved nothing in Q4, compared to 15% in Greater London, the South East and the East Midlands.

With an average monthly wage 40% higher than their counterparts in Wales, people living in Greater London are three times more likely to save more than £1,000 a month – 15% compared to 5% in Wales.

People in the North East say that after paying off bills and essential items they plan to put 25% of the cash that’s left over into savings, compared to 30% of people doing this in the West Midlands.

That’s despite a difference of less than £20 per month in average monthly wages between the regions.

An atom of type quote lives here

Philip Robinson, savings director for Lloyds Bank, said: “Holidays are the most common reason for withdrawal of savings closely followed by needing funds to cover unexpected outgoings.

“It’s concerning to see variations in how prepared people are to cope with unforeseen expense.

“As we are at the start of a new year, it’s a good time for people to review their approach to saving – planning and setting targets to help them reach their goals.”