Some consumers are reducing their debt – or at least avoiding its accumulation – by being very effective at seeking out bargains.
This is most true for residents of Birmingham, according to a survey by Santander.
Its shoppers save around £528 a year on average, compared with the national reduction of £346 a year.
Across the country, consumers are managing to save £14 billion by shopping around for goods and services, from essentials like groceries and clothes to services like insurance and holidays.
People in Leicester come at the opposite end of the spectrum from Birmingham, with average savings of just £240 a year.
Describing the development as the "flip side" to the recession, Santander director of brand and communications Keith Moor said: "Many people are actually reaping some pretty significant financial benefits by shopping around for the best deal."
Some people may be seeking to spend less by habit as they do not see the good times returning soon.
A recent MoneySupermarket survey found 14 per cent of consumers believe their finances will never be the same again, five years on from the collapse of Northern Rock.
By James Francis