The credit crunch has turned us into a nation of bargain hunters and, according to research by Abbey, these bargains are allowing us to avoid debt and take control our their finances by saving us an average of £1,746 a year.

These savings are to be made in all areas of life, such as food, travel and entertainment, and more than a third of the UK save £139 on financial products over the course of the year through switching to better deals.

Callum Gibson, head of credit cards at Abbey, commented: “At a time when people’s finances are becoming ever more stretched, it’s not surprising that Britons are becoming more astute about how they shop and are prepared to shop around and economise to make their money go further.”