FOMO causes over a quarter of Brits to overspend

by | May 29, 2022

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  • As many as 38% of UK adults don’t have a budget for social spending.
  • Over a third of respondents said that their friends are amongst those who make them feel the most pressure to overspend.
  • Men overspend on average £81.48 each month.
  • Over a quarter of all those surveyed said they overspend due to the fear of missing out.

With the UK becoming increasingly comfortable with post-pandemic life, people are starting to spend more time out socialising, and more time spending money that they weren’t spending during lockdown. 

After surveying 2,006 UK adults over the age of 16, credit card company Aqua has discovered the key factors contributing to Brit’s social overspending are eating out in restaurants (40%, equating to an average of £328.22 annually) and having drinks at a pub (35% equating to an average of £287.19 annually).

It was also found that although people did consistently overspend in social situations, respondents felt anxiety (24%), regret (16%) and guilt (12%) when they felt pressured to do so.

UK’s 5 most common overspending environments:

  1. Eating at a restaurant – 40%
  2. Drinks at a pub – 35%
  3. Drinks at a bar – 32%
  4. Shopping – 25%
  5. Going out for coffee – 15%

Greater London residents are the biggest social spenders

Those living in the Greater London area tend to spend more money than the rest of the country on their social lives, according to the research. When comparing the basics of a regular night out like the average cost of a pint in London (£5.50) vs. other areas of the UK such as Leeds (£3.54) it’s easy to understand why Londoners have a more expensive social life.

On average, Greater London residents put aside £101.03 per month for socialising with friends, £108.77 per month for spending time with family, £96.28 for going out with colleagues, and £110.46 for spending time with and going out with their partner.


Baby boomers are the least likely to overspend

Aqua found those over the age of 55 were the least likely to overspend, with almost three quarters (72%) of respondents over 55 saying that they don’t feel pressured to spend more money than they want to when out, compared to 58% of those aged 25-34.


Men overspend more than women each month

The research revealed that men tend to overspend more than women by £21.87 per month, meaning men spend a massive £977.76 a year above their annual budget. This compares to £715.32 for women, a difference of £262.44.


Financial status is the main reason people overspend

As many as one in three respondents said they overspent as they didn’t want their friends and family to think that they couldn’t afford things. Additionally, 28% of the participants said that the fear of missing was the cause of their overspending habits.


Aqua’s advice for sticking to your budget

Now that many Brits have regained the confidence to go out, socialise and travel again, it’s important to have a good understanding of how to manage your finances and use credit responsibly.

Sharvan Selvam, Commercial Director from Aqua says: “Socialising is a part of everyone’s day-to-day life, but nobody should feel that they have to avoid socialising due to financial stress. Creating a budget allows you to understand what you can afford each month, and reduce the risk of going over credit limits or into overdrafts. Additionally, learning to effectively talk about finances with loved ones will help alleviate some of the pressure that you may feel to overspend.”


Aqua’s tips to avoid overspending:

  1. Know your budget:. Make note of your bills, and with your remaining spending money, set an allowance for things like socialising, events, and travel. This way, you’ll be less likely to spend above your means, or exceed your credit limit. 
  2. Communicate: When socialising, it’s easy to be swayed into spending more than planned, so by openly discussing your budget limitations, your friends and family are more likely to understand your limits and will be less likely to pressure you into overspending.
  3. Research things to do: Finding activities that are aligned with your budget, and planning your days out will help you understand what you are likely to spend, and stick within your budget. 

No matter your situation, these small tips will ensure that you don’t overspend and stick to your budget.

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