Although people expect to have enough savings to last them around three months (92 days), the reality is that they are more likely to be on the breadline within four weeks, the report by Legal & General Assurance Society Limited found.
Less than half of people (42 per cent) expect their savings to help them in times of financial hardship, and households are saving less each month this year than they were in 2013.
The report suggests that even with considerable spending cuts, families would begin to struggle within 28 days.
John Pollock, chief executive officer, Legal & General Assurance Society Limited, said: "It should come as a serious reality check to think that most households in Scotland are in such a precarious situation when it comes to their finances.
"The fact that Scottish households will be reliant upon friends, family or state benefits for financial support - within just a month of a family or individual losing their usual sources of income - should act as a stark reminder that this is no time to ignore the warning signs. Now is the time to lay the foundations for long-term financial stability."