• Party capital: It's official, the residents of Birmingham are the biggest party animals of the UK spending a whopping 633 a year soaking up the local night life - Cardiff residents are more likely to stay in, spending just 243 a year soaking up the Welsh nightlife.

  • Handbags & glad rags: Residents of Birmingham claim to spend an eye watering 603 a year on handbags alone, more than double the national average of 247 a year.

  • The beautiful south: Simply not true, yet again Birmingham tops the tables with a total spend of 657 a year on beauty treatments, more than double the UK average at 282.

  • Culinary capital: London reports the highest spend eating out each year, with foodies munching their way through 830 a year, almost a fifth of our annual spend on food shopping at 2,9542.

When all the household bills are paid, where does the rest of our money go? New research1 from independent comparison website money.co.uk investigates how much we spend on non-essential items like beauty treatments, shoes, handbags, socialising and eating out across the country. On average, UK consumers spend a total of 6,088 year on these luxuries but how does this compare across the regions?

Cautious capital of the UK

Birmingham, the UK's second largest city, reports the highest levels of non-essential spending, frittering away a whopping 9,934 per year. Unsurprisingly, London is second in line to this accolade, with a total annual splurge of 7,941. The most frugal regions by far are Bristol and Liverpool. Households spend around half of the top two capitals at just 4,262 and 4,268 a year respectively.

Party capital

The party animals of Birmingham steal the show as they spend almost 633 a year drinking in pubs and clubs. In contrast Cardiff spend just 243 a year on going out. As we move further north, Liverpool is the city that sleeps spending just 267 a year soaking up the night life - considerably less than the UK average of 405 per year.

The Beautiful South

Simply not the case, it's the beautiful folk of Birmingham who top the tables spending 657 a year each on beauty treatments to look their best. Yet again, Londoners take second place on the podium, spending just 406 a year keeping young and beautiful. This is much lower on the priority list for the residents of Bristol who spend just 107 each per year, just over a third of the UK's average annual spend at 282.

Handbags & glad rags

The residents of Birmingham not only like to splash the cash on going out and beauty treatments but they also spend an eye-watering 603 a year on handbags. In stark contrast the population of Bristol are far more reserved, with an annual spend of just 50 on handbags.

London is the culinary capital

With the most Michelin stars in the UK it's no surprise London tops the tables when it comes to eating out, splurging almost 830 a year on meals. Birmingham is hot on London's heels with foodies spending 825 per year treating themselves to culinary delights. When it comes to eating out in Liverpool, residents report the lowest spend in the UK at just 415 per year. Across the UK, eating out gobbles up an average of 638 of our budgets each year, more than double the spend on keeping fit.


Our research shows that on average, we part with 471 a year of our hard-earned cash on takeaway food. To put this into context, this is almost a fifth of our annual spend on food shopping at 2,9542. If you live in Birmingham, you're more likely to spend a whopping 687 a year on takeaways, yet again the highest in the country. This is more than double the annual takeaway bill for both Bristol (304) and Liverpool (314).

Coach potato town

Up and down the country, we spend an average of 272 a year keeping fit in the gym. Midlanders work hard and play hard as they spend more than double this at 635 each per year. Bristol spend just 97 a year each on gym membership - the lowest in the country.

UK's biggest ashtray

Despite Government efforts to put people off smoking, we're still spending 287 a year on this vice, falling to just 107 in Bristol. Birmingham smokers part with a whopping 582 a year.

There's no harm in treating yourself to nice things - as long as you can afford it. If you're struggling to save your best bet is to make a budget and stick to it like glue. Quite simply, if you're spending more than you're earning then you have a problem. The good thing is once you've worked this out you can do something about it.

It's really important to keep track of where your money is going because little treats here and there really can add up. In uncertain financial times these are the things you can give up if you need to, but you've got to be completely honest with yourself about how much you're actually spending each and every month.

Source: Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief at money.co.uk

Notes to editors:
1. Research carried out on behalf of money.co.uk with OnePoll amongst 1,000 UK residents between 10th December 2016 and 22nd December 2016.
2. ONS