6 min read

How did Brits spend their money in 2017?

30 November 2017

Did you spend more than the average on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day? Did you treat your dog? Here’s what Brits have been spending their money on in 2017…

It’s been a pretty tumultuous year for the UK. We’ve had political drama - so much political drama, our leaders formally triggered Brexit by activating Article 50, and Prue Leith accidentally leaked the Bake Off winner before the final.

But what were the biggest financial moments of the year? What did we spend our money on and what had the greatest impact on our budgets?

Here’s Felicity Hannah's whistle-stop guide to the last 12 months.

We spent… on getting FIT

We began the year recovering from a month-long party season in which we managed to spend an average of £753 per household on Christmas and festive parties, according to Gocompare.com.

So it's not all that surprising that according to Alcohol Concern, 1 in 8 of us saved cash by taking part in Dry January.

Getting fit was one of the most expensive resolutions of the new year. In fact, according to American Express, Brits looking to start a health-kick in 2017 were intending to spend an extra £415 over the year on food and fitness clothing.

So maybe it was good news for our wallets that, according to research from the University of Hertfordshire, just one in 10 of us actually keep our resolutions.

We spent… £45 on Valentine’s (& cat spa days)

The first of the big 2017 festivities was Valentine’s Day and we definitely splashed out on presents, chocolates and cuddly bears clutching hearts.

Research from payments processor Worldpay showed that we spent an average of £45 treating our loved ones at Valentine’s this year (in Preston that was £53, so if you’re single then head north).

Weirdly, research from Co-op Insurance showed that more than one in 10 of us bought a Valentine’s for our cat or dog. Among the top 10 treats for pets was a grooming or pamper day. Because they love that, right?

We spent… £76 on Mother’s Day

Brits spent an average of £76 each treating their mums on Mother’s Day this year, according to TopCashback.co.uk. That’s just a small chunk of the £893 adults in the UK spend on their mums in total each year. Yikes, I hope my mum isn’t reading this.

We triggered… Article 50

The value of the pound has been a bit of a rollercoaster this year and it shows no sign of slowing. It went up, it went down, it went up again. Then down some more. After the UK triggered Article 50 and started the countdown to Brexit it fell dramatically. Since then it’s recovered, fallen and recovered again.

We spent… an extra £1.1 BILLION on holidays

Thanks to that weakened pound, travel got more expensive. In fact, the comparison website finder worked out in June that the fall in the British pound meant holidaymakers’ trips were an average of 11.95% more expensive than last year.

Overall, that meant Brits spent an extra £1.1 billion in total. On the plus side, they probably saw some sun, which our fairly wet summer failed to deliver. So probably worth it.

We spent… £32 on Father’s Day

Um, yes. Bit awkward this, but it seems we spend quite a bit less on our dads than our mums. TopCashback.co.uk found that we spent just £32 on average treating dads on their special day.

We spent… £800 just GOING to weddings

‘Wedding season’ rolled around with almost half of Brits going to up to THREE weddings a year, according to M&S Bank. With guests spending an average of £266 on travel, hotels, outfits and a gift, that’s just under £800 on other people’s big days.

We hiked… interest rates

Savers cheered and borrowers booed when the Bank of England’s base rate was hiked for the first time in a decade, meaning rates on loans, mortgages and savings inched up too.

Well, I say ‘hiked’, it actually moved from 0.25% back to 0.50%, which is where it had been for most of the last decade. Last time it moved up was in 2007 when it went to 5.75%, so it’s still really very low.

We spent… £62 on Halloween

These kids won’t scare themselves, after all. This year the UK spent a total of £926 million on Halloween, according to American Express analysis. That’s an average of £62.22 each.

We only spent an average of £31.29 on Bonfire night though, with the highest bills unsurprisingly coming for those who decided to host bonfire parties.

We spent… £3bn on Black Friday

It’s a relatively recent import from the US but British shoppers have embraced the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. A survey from GoCompare Credit Cards found that each household expected to spend an average of £108 on those two big shopping days, adding up to £3 BILLION across the UK.

Okay, I am probably personally responsible for at least a quarter of that.

We will spend… £820 on Chriiiiiiiiistmaaaaaas

It’s probably a good thing it isn’t Christmas every day since Brits are preparing to spend an average of £821.25 on Christmas 2017, according to new research from VoucherCodes and the Centre of Retail Research (CRR).

We will mostly be splashing that on presents, food and drink, and travel. The research found that alcohol, jewellery and books are all more popular this year than last, so I would like to take this opportunity to say that I find all three very acceptable. Especially together.

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