A quarter of us spend up to £240 a year on "being nice"

The Momentum UK Team 08 July 2014

A new survey reveals the extent to which British adults are willing to splash the cash on friends and family, as well as give to charity.

Almost a quarter of people (24%) spend between £10-£20 a month on gifts and treats for friends and family, according to the survey from thinkmoney. This adds up to a potential spend of £240 a year on unreciprocated treats and gifts, excluding Christmas and birthday presents. This includes simple gestures like treating a loved one to a coffee, taking them out for lunch or drinks, and making their day with a bunch of flowers.

Feeling more generous, just over 1 in 10 of us (13%) spends between £31-£40 per month on treating family and friends, with a potential total of £480 per year – that’s over half of the UK’s average monthly rent (£815).

Most of us are willing to share our cash with our loved ones to some extent; just 18% say they spend nothing at all on gifts like these. In terms of age, it appears that younger people are the most generous; 91% of 18-24 year olds spend money on family and friends compared to 76% of over-55s. This could be because younger people are less likely to have children and other financial commitments.

However, it appears that most of us are more likely to share our wealth with loved ones than give to charity, with 82% treating the people we know compared to just 57% making regular donations. Half of people aged 45-54 admit that they don’t give regularly to charity, despite this age group being at the peak of their earning power.

A generous quarter of UK adults make regular donations to charity of between £10-£50 a month, with 25-34 year olds being the most likely to donate regularly. The research also found that, excluding regular donations and gifts to family and friends, 75% of us give away some of our money each month, whether it’s an office whip-round, giving change to a homeless person or dropping some money in a collection box.

Ian Williams of thinkmoney commented on the findings:

“Even when money is tight, it’s heartening to see how many people are happy to splash their cash on being kind, whether it’s giving to charity or treating their friends and family. And with nearly half of Brits spending up to £600 a year on treating their loved ones, many would say this is money well spent.

“Few things beat the feeling of making someone we know smile, and even if the person benefiting from our generosity is a stranger receiving a charity donation, the warm and fuzzy feeling it gives us is hard to match. However, it’s important people remember to budget for these acts of kindness, so they’re not caught short financially at the end of the month.”