A third of higher earners have switched to cheaper supermarkets and dipped into savings to make ends meet, according to a report.
Almost one in seven across all groups cannot see a time when their income will cover their outgoings, rising to one in five among the most "stretched", the bi-annual Axa Big Money Index finds.
Consumers have remained pessimistic about their situation in the six months to June and just 16% believe their financial situation will improve in the long term.
The "widespread pessimism" sees 28% cutting back on food spending and almost one in four forced to spend less on gas, oil and electricity.
Even wealthier groups of people continue to switch to using cheaper supermarkets for basic food shopping. This applies to a third (32%) of people in their 50s and 60s who are mortgage-free and have a high disposable income, described as the "exclusive lifestyles" group, and 25% of those in their 40s and 50s who have an above-average income, named the "successful security" group.
Almost a third (31%) of the exclusive lifestyles group have had to use savings to make ends meet.