Revealed: What Brits waste the most money on each year

Published by Edmund Greaves on 28 November 2017.
Last updated on 30 April 2019

Revealed: What Brits waste the most money on each year

Consumers waste nearly £600 per person every year on things they don’t use, according to research from Gocompare.

The price comparison site says the average Brit fritters away £590.40 each year (£49.20 per month) on things they don’t need or use. Collectively as a nation, this means we’re are mis-spending to the tune of £30.5 billion annually.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed in the Gocompare research admitted to having wasted money. The most wasted items were found to be food that went uneaten, clothes that were never worn, and bundled TV, phone, and cable services that were underutilised.

Other common wastes of money included buying too many takeaway meals, drinking bottled water, and buying named-brand goods instead of generic ones. Utility bills are also a common area of wasted money, as consumers fail to switch to the best deals in many cases.

Georgie Frost, head of consumer affairs at Gocompare comments: “The research highlights just how quickly a few pounds of unnecessary spending here and there can really add up to a serious amount of cash. This should be a real wake-up call for the almost three quarters of us who confess to simply throwing money away, as who wouldn’t love a bit of extra cash in their pocket each month? 

“Fortunately, a lot of the things identified are fairly easy to tackle. If you enjoy your morning coffee from the cafe, or going to the pub with friends then there's nothing wrong with it, but buying food you just chuck away or clothes you never wear is just a waste! So, try and take a few minutes to think about some of your everyday bad habits and make a quick list of five or six things that you could address straight away. Add up how much that could save you each month and that should encourage you to tackle a few more. Starting small can make a real difference.”    

See the table below for the top ten most wasteful purchases Brits make each year:

Rank 10 most common money wasters %
1 Overbuying food that doesn't get used/throwing away left-overs 23
2 Buying clothes which are never worn 20
3 Overpaying for bundled TV/phone/cable services 19
4 Buying too many takeaway meals 16
5 Paying for lunch and snacks at work 15
6 Drinking bottled water instead of tap water 15
7 Buying brand named items rather than generic goods 14
8 Drinking takeaway coffee 13
9 Not shopping around for the cheapest gas and electricity tariff 13
10 Buying cigarettes and tobacco 13

Source: Gocompare, November 2017.

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