From ISAs to pensions, we’re always hearing about how many different ways you can save.

But despite all that, it seems a lot of us – a third to be precise – are sticking with the old-fashioned ways of saving.

According to new research from SunLife, one in three people still use a jar or tin to save. 

The method is among the five most popular ways of saving, according to SunLife, which also include an instant access account, a current account, fixed rate savings or cash ISAs and premium bonds.

And before you think it’s just older people who putting their pennies away in a jar, it turns out that younger people are far more likely to save in this way.

Nearly half (43%) of 18-24-year-olds save in a jar or tin, compared to 24% of over-55s. Those most likely to use a jar or tin to save are the people with the smallest amount in savings (£100-500).

Jars and tins were never intended as secure homes for hard earned cash

Ian Cooper, head of savings, SunLife
An atom of type quote lives here

But squirrelling cash away for a rainy day isn’t just the preserve of those with less savings – nearly a fifth (18%) of those with £100,000 or more still use a jar to save, along with other methods.

For those who save, the average amount is £26,785 – but the over-55s have almost five times the savings of 18-44-year-olds - £49,833 compared to £10,436. The average amount held by 45-54-year-olds is £28,651.

The amount in savings also depends on what stage people are at in their life.

A third of people said they were saving for retirement. Image by Spotmatik Ltd/

On average, young families – those with children under 11 – have £11,470 in savings compared to older families (with children aged 12-18) who have £33,960. Empty nesters have the most, with average savings of £48,266.

Slightly worryingly, the research suggests that more than a quarter of us have no savings at all.

This was more prevalent with younger people, with 40% of 18-24-year-olds admitting having no savings at all, compared to just 12% of 55-70s.

Most people put this down to not having any spare cash, either because they spend all their money each month (59%) or they use any spare to pay off debts (34%).

But for almost a fifth (19%), this was because ‘they haven’t got round to it’ while 5% said they ‘don’t see the point’.

When asked what they were saving for, the most common reason (given by 62% of savers) was ‘my future generally’, while 44% said they were putting away for ‘a rainy day’.

Exactly a third said they are saving for retirement, although when split into age brackets 44% of over 45s gave this as the reason behind their saving, compared to 11% of 18-24-year-olds.

Ian Cooper, head of savings at SunLife, said: “While putting pennies into a jar can be a good way of stopping yourself from spending loose change, jars and tins were never intended as secure homes for hard earned cash.

“Not only is it very tempting to raid rather than leave for a rainy day, but it isn‘t earning a penny in interest and doesn’t stand a chance against inflation.”

While it is good to pay off debt before saving, there’s no harm in having both as long as you keep up to date with mortgage and credit card payments,

Mr Cooper said. “You generally can’t earn as much on savings as you will be paying on debt, so it is a good idea to pay off debts first and therefore encouraging to see that more than a third of those that don’t have any savings are at least using their spare cash to pay off debts.

“However, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have no savings at all to fall back on so it is a good idea to do both if you can.”

He added: “Saving doesn’t have to be a huge commitment; just think about putting a little something aside each month because even a small amount of money saved or invested regularly can build into a sizeable sum over the years.”