How normal are your spending habits? UK household expenditure reveals what Britons spend most money on

 
Clara Guibourg
Follow Clara
2015 amfAR New York Gala - Show
Big Spender? (Source: Getty)

Do you spend more or less money on wine than the average Briton? How about takeaway coffees?

You probably already know that that daily vanilla latte you buy to get you through the morning commute tallies up to astronomical sums over the course of the year. But if you’re worried, or perhaps just curious, about how normal your spending habits are, the Office for National Statistics has just released figures that answer your question, down to wondrously minute detail.

The average UK household spends £531 per week. This is up by £7 from last year as fresh figures on household expenditure show spending is bouncing back to pre-crisis levels.

But how does that total breakdown? The ONS has put together an interactive chart you can explore yourself to see how your habits compare, whether it’s cigarettes, fizzy drinks or pet food you want to find out more about.

The average Briton takes home wine for £4 every week. But we merrily spend close to twice that amount in pubs and bars, with the average spend on alcoholic drinks outside the home reaching £7.20.

As for takeaway drinks and snacks, we spend an average of £4.40 weekly, meaning that - depending, of course, on your drink of choice - anything more than two or perhaps three visits to Pret in a week will put your spending beyond the national average.

Intriguingly, we’re spending more on chocolate (£1.90) than we do on either newspapers (£1.60) or concerts and theatre tickets (£1.40).

The lion’s share of our money goes towards inescapable costs like rent and commuting. Transport is the biggest cost at £74.80 a week, but other (boring) costs like housing and fuel are also a big chunk of our total spend.


(Click to explore the chart on the ONS website)

But it’s not all gloom, doom and fuel costs. Happily, we’re increasingly spending money on recreation and culture, which the ONS calls a “sign of recovery” from a low during the economic downturn.

Leisure spending has soared by 27 per cent in 10 years. The category includes everything from cinema, theatre and museums (£2.80) to games and hobbies (£2.40) and pets (£4.30).

These average figures, however, mask huge divides. Londoners, for instance, spend £616.30, nearly an extra £100 a week against the national average, making them the country’s biggest spenders.

Also, the poorest 10 per cent of households spent just £188.50 a week, mostly going towards essential costs like housing and food, while the highest earning 10 per cent spent over six times as much.

The wealthiest Britons’ average spending comes in at a whopping £1.143.40 per week.

Related articles