Britons ‘leaking’ around £30 a month on things they don’t need adding up to £12bn a year says Gocompare

14th May 2014

Britons estimate that on average they waste £30 a month, letting their money drip away in underutilised subscriptions, avoidable fees and overpayments.

Gocompare says that what it terms ‘money leaks’ are costing the nation £12.2 billion a year in avoidable overspends.

Unused discount vouchers head the table of the Nation’s biggest money leaks according to the survey commissioned by leading price comparison website  Underutilised TV subscriptions, avoidable bank and credit card charges and overspending on convenience food and drink also featured in the top 20 money wasters.

Rank The UK’s Top 20 Money Leaks %
1 Unused discount vouchers 18
2 Underutilised cable TV/additional TV channel subscription 16
3 Cigarettes/tobacco 16
4 Buying too many take-away meals 16
5 Paying avoidable bank charge or overdraft fees 13
6 Spending too much at the pub or night club 12
7 Paying avoidable interest on a credit card 12
8 Buying too many ready-meals 11
9 Being on the wrong mobile phone tariff 10
10 Buying take-away coffee 10
11 Unredeemed loyalty card benefits 10
12 Credit built up on gas/electricity/phone bill paid by direct debt 9
13 Unredeemed gift vouchers or experience days 8
14 Failing to shop around for home insurance 7
15 Paying fees at cash machines to withdraw cash 6
16 Paying avoidable credit card annual fees 5
17 Direct debits which should be cancelled 5
18 Failing to shop around for car insurance 5
19 Underutilised gym membership 5
20 A direct debit charity donation you’ve been meaning to cancel 5

Claire Peate, customer insight manager at, says: “Many of the top money leaks identified in our survey relate to relatively low value items like take-away meals and drinks or unused discount vouchers.  While day-to-day we might not miss the odd £5 spent on a mid-morning cappuccino and muffin – bought regularly over the course of a year these small money leaks can quickly add up to a sizeable sum.

“People participating in our survey estimated that on average they waste £30 a month – which adds up to £360 a year – which goes to prove that the old idiom: ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ still rings true.”

Claire Peate continued, “Avoidable bank and credit charges also featured several times in the top 20 wastes of money.  However, a little forethought can help you avoid unnecessary fees.  For example, banks charge for unauthorised overdrafts, so agree a pre-arranged over-draft limit with your bank – even if you don’t think you’ll need to use it on a regular basis.  And, before using a cash machine to withdraw money, check whether it will charge you for the transaction.  ATMs situated in shops, pubs and petrol stations tend to be the worst offenders for charging you to withdraw your own money.”

On 10th April 2014, commissioned an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

For the £12.2bn figure: from the survey, 71% of those sampled said that they were wasting money on one or more of the top 20 money leaks.  The average figure per month that people felt they could save by plugging their ‘money leaks’ was £30. Therefore 71% of the UK adult population (47.8m according to Experian’s Demographic Summary) =  33.9m.  £30 a month is £360 a year therefore £360 x 33.9m = £12,204,000,000.

1 thought on “Britons ‘leaking’ around £30 a month on things they don’t need adding up to £12bn a year says Gocompare”

  1. Richard Brown says:

    One of the biggest “leaks” is people not using the benefits, discounts, and rewards they get from belonging to an organisation like The RAC or a trade union or professional body. More than three quarters belong to, or pay a regular subscription to, at least one organization. However, more than half of those who are members of at least one organisation or service don’t know or forget what is available.

    Source: iMember survey:

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