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The Cost of Being British: Brits Spend £7 Billion Per Year on Being Polite - According to New VoucherCodes.co.uk Research

  • People fork out an extra £23 each month just to avoid confrontation
  • Nine in 10 spend money for fear of appearing impolite
  • Buying an extra round of drinks or splitting the bill is how most Brits spend money to avoid being judged by others

LONDON, Oct. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Brits rack up a bill of almost £300 each year on items or activities they paid for just to be polite, with a huge 91% admitting to doing so, according to new research.

The study from leading savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk investigated where people spend money just to avoid awkwardness, confrontation or appearing impolite, to establish the true 'cost of being British'. The findings show that respondents admit to spending an additional £23.27 each month – amounting to a national total of £7.1 billion per year on average [1].

Activities such as getting a round of drinks in or splitting the bill, despite having a cheaper meal than others, are ranked among the most common examples of Brits forking out extra cash just to be polite.

Top things that Brits do just to be polite:

Rank

Activity

Percent of Brits admitting to spending money on activity

1.

Buy an unplanned extra round of drinks

46%

2.

Stick around at an event for an extra drink

42%

3.

Split the bill in a restaurant, despite having a significantly cheaper meal than others

41%

4.

Not ask for money back which is owed

36%

5.

Donate money to charity

34%

The research also finds that 42% of Brits feel unable to say "no" to the extra spend in certain social situations, with 18-24-year-olds (50%) far more likely than over-55s (27%) to feel the need to pay more.

People from Cardiff are the most likely to maintain the typically British behaviour of spending to avoid coming across as impolite. Cardiffians drop almost three times the amount of cash Geordies do – those in Newcastle are the least likely to spend extra out of politeness.

Top five cities that spend the most on 'being polite':

Rank

City

Extra amount spent on 'being polite' each year

1.

Cardiff

£423

2.

Bristol

£402

3.

Plymouth

£398

4.

London

£379

5.

Liverpool

£275

Top five cities that spend the least on 'being polite':

Rank

City

Extra amount spent on 'being polite' each year

1.

Newcastle

£147

2.

Norwich

£169

3.

Sheffield

£210

4.

Leeds

£227

5.

Brighton and Hove

£236

Respondents also say they feel their friends often avoid paying their fair share in social situations, with tactics including not carrying cash (16%) or leaving social events before it is their turn to buy a round of drinks (24%). Despite 63% of people taking issue with friends or family not paying their fair share, the majority bite their tongue and just pay the extra – just 6% have ever fallen out over money-related issues.

However, there is a limit to our generosity when it comes to covering for a friend's spending. The average Brit will happily forget about money owed to them until the debt reaches £14 – it's at this point they consider asking for their money back.

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk commented: "Brits have a reputation for being especially polite and non-confrontational but, as the research shows, this quite literally comes at a cost. Buying an extra drink when out with friends might seem insignificant on its own, but each of these small costs can really add up – I'm sure most of us can think of many things we'd rather spend £279 on!

"It's clear us Brits place value on appearing polite and maintaining harmony with our friends and family. So, if you know you're unlikely to break from this British tradition, it's worth considering other ways to recoup some of that additional spend by using things like discount codes where possible, for example. That extra £10 at the pub will be less painful on your wallet if you can make savings elsewhere!"

References:

[1] Based on the monthly average spend of £23.27 multiplied by the number of UK adults (25,405,728), according to ONS figures = £7,095,311,715.84 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulationestimates/mid2018

Notes to Editors:

  • All surveys were conducted between 8th and 12th August 2019
  • The sample comprised 2,046 UK adults

 

 

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