When money is tight, what do you cut back on? Luxuries? Going out? The basics? Everyone reacts differently but new research has revealed what UK households are more likely to ditch more than anything else.
Brits would rather reduce how much they spend on their weekly grocery shop than cut down how many takeaways they eat, according to SunLife’s annual Cash Happy report.
Of the 3,000 UK households quizzed on their day-to-day finances by SunLife, eating out at restaurants was deemed the most expendable outgoing, cited by more than a third of respondents (36 per cent).
It topped the list when the study was conducted this time last year, sacrificed by 41 per cent of people then, but takeaways were lumped in with eating out that time, skewing the figures somewhat.
The second most sacrificed outlay was clothing and footwear, cut out by a quarter of the sample, followed by food shopping and takeaways.
Premium paid-for TV services are considered more necessary than 12 months ago, with a sixth (16 per cent) prepared to chop their Netflix or cable subscription; that’s notably fewer than the 23 per cent in 2015.
The most significant priority shift in the past year has been home internet. In 2015, almost one in ten (nine per cent) said they’d go offline if funds were tight.
That has now nearly halved to one in 20 (five per cent), a point which lends credence to the claim that the internet is now an essential utility as vital as running water, heating and electricity.
One in ten would reduce how much they set aside for savings or investments, which is an improvement on the 12 per cent from 2015. Despite this, more than a fifth (21 per cent) admit to having no savings at all, while one in four of us are in the red every month.
Completing the list, eight per cent said they’d cut spending on days out, snacks and mobile phones.
The report’s findings say a lot about how much modern Brits value technology and how it dominates our everyday lives, said SunLife’s head of brand Ian Atkinson.
He says that properly considered budgeting can go a long way towards cutting costs, and that ditching luxuries like snacks and cigarettes can save a pretty penny.
“If you cut back on having a takeaway coffee before work, you’d save around £50 a month, and over ten years, that’s £5,720, which is a nice little nest egg,” he suggested.
Perhaps surprisingly, three per cent would reduce how much they donate to charity or the church, but that may have more to do with how few actually give in the first place.
With the rise of health and fitness in recent years, just four per cent would spend less on going to gym or playing sports.
By Joe White