A fifth of households said they have no emergency cash while another 12 per cent said they have less than £250 for a rainy day.
It is generally recommended to build up a minimum of three months take-home pay as a "salary cushion", typically £5,756.
Some 28 per cent of those who took part in the survey said they would be unable to cover rent or mortgage payments if they unexpectedly lost their income.
One in 10 said they would be forced to rely on a credit card, personal loan or an overdraft.
More top news
A former British soldier who served in Afghanistan is one of a 'growing number' of westerners joining Kurds in the fight against Isis.
Growing numbers of people on low incomes are turning to food banks to survive, new research has revealed.
It will be cold and frosty across the north of the UK tonight, with some icy patches in the west.