Indebted Britons may reconsider ‘essential’ spending

Britons who are struggling with credit card debt, loans and other money owed may be busy cutting down on their non-essentials to free up cash to pay i…

Britons who are struggling with credit card debt, loans and other money owed may be busy cutting down on their non-essentials to free up cash to pay it off.

However, the list of items that people consider to be essential is still a significant one and it may be that some who are struggling could benefit from paring it down further.

A study by LV= found Britons are spending £9 billion more on such items this year than in 2011, with the average spend per household on the top ten luxury 'essentials' amounting to £6,194 on average.

Nearly half (44 per cent) consider holidays and/or weekend breaks to be in this category, with 27 per cent taking the same view of eating out and 22 per cent placing such importance on TV subscriptions.

Head of protection at LV= Mark Jones said: "The need to get away from it all is important to people when economic times are hard, which explains why holidays and weekend breaks remain the lifestyle aspect that most people are most unwilling to do without."

Other items regarded as vital by many include haircuts, nights out at pubs and clubs, takeaways, culture and arts, cinema trips, the gym and certain foods on which there is a premium.

However, the study revealed many other items are being forsaken to pay for this, with 78 per cent of people saying they are trimming household spending. Purchases of cheaper or the shops' 'own brand' food topped the list as something 48 per cent do.

Others seek to buy clothes at cheaper stores or even second-hand.

The willingness of consumers to keep spending on life's luxuries comes despite falls in real-terms pay.

A recent study by the Trades Union Congress claimed that at the rate of pay growth projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility from 2015, it could take nine years before people are as well-paid as they were in 2009.

By Joe White
 

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