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Small ‘swaprifices’ could save millennials in Scotland up to £831 million a year

Posted: 20th February 2019
  • Seven in 10 (69.5 per cent) of millennials in Scotland admit they don’t save enough – or at all
  • Average 20-37-year-old in Scotland spends nearly £3,200 a year on takeaways, eating out, daily coffees, socialising and buying new clothes
  • Simply swapping out every fifth takeaway, cafe-bought coffee and night out could net millennials in Scotland up to £831 million a year (£637 each)

Seven in 10 (69.5 per cent) of millennials in Scotland admit they don’t save enough – or anything at all – with new findings showing that the average 20-37-year-old in the region spends £3,186 a year on takeaways, eating out, daily treats, socialising and buying new clothes. This is slightly less than the UK average of £3,312.72.

According to Barclays’ research, millennials in Scotland spend, on average:

  • £766.32  a year on socialising
  • £739.92  a year on new clothes, shoes and accessories
  • £673.80  a year on eating out
  • £526.92  a year on takeaways
  • £478.92  a year on daily treats (coffees etc)

But rather than consigning themselves to a life of frugality, Barclays’ research shows that making small ‘swaprifices’, such as replacing every fifth takeaway, shop-bought coffee and night out with free alternatives or having a night in, could save Scottish millennials a hefty £637.17, each a year, on average.

Clare Francis, Director of Savings and Investments at Barclays, says: “There’s a common myth that you have to become a hermit if you want to save money. But that’s not the case. Think swap, not sacrifice. That could mean making yourself a coffee in the office once a week, or inviting friends over every now and then instead of going out. The beauty of these small swaps is that by simply tweaking your lifestyle, the savings you make can be huge.”

Making these small savings would build up over the course of a year to pay for bigger goals such as a four-night stay in New York and flights**, or a Glastonbury ticket*** and £384 to spend while at the festival.

Of those millennials that said they do save regularly, the average amount was £146.82 a month. If you added these savings to the cash accumulated by making ‘swaprifices’ on takeaways, socialising and other treats, they would be left with a whopping £2,398.97 after just one year – enough for a seven-stop, round the world travel ticket and £949.97 left over to cover hotels and spending money.

The research also found big differences in the average monthly spending priorities of millennials across the country.

  • Scottish millennials had the highest monthly spend on memberships, such as gyms, sports clubs and cinema (£64.78), while those in the South West spend the least – just £21.53 per month.
  • Londoners spend the highest amount on takeaways (£57.48) and eating out (£78.11). Millennials in Yorkshire spend the least on takeaways (£34.77) and those in the North East spend the least on eating out (£48.60).
  • Millennials in the North East of England spend the most on new clothes, shoes and accessories each month (£92.04) while those in the East of England spend the least (£45.23). Those in the North East are also spending the most money on daily treats such as coffees (£75.83), while millennials in Yorkshire & Humber spend the least (£28.92).
  • Those in the South West spend the highest amount each month on socialising (£103.81), while millennials in the East Midlands spend the least (£48.91).

Clare Francis continues, “We tend to spend when we feel like we are missing out, such as a night out with friends, or because something is convenient, like buying a morning coffee instead of making one in the office. These might seem like great choices in the moment, but we need to ask ourselves whether it’s worth the short-lived buzz, or storing the money up for a longer term goal in an ISA where it can also benefit from the extra interest.”

Over three-quarters of those surveyed in Scotland (79 per cent) said they would be willing to make short-term compromises on their spending to fund their long-term life goals such as buying a home, going on a luxury holiday or purchasing a car.

When asked what they would do with more disposable income, 44 per cent of those surveyed in the region said they would save it, while just 12 per cent said they would spend. Over four in 10 (44 per cent) said they would balance it between spending and saving.

To help millennials find the balance between every day spending and future saving, Dr Pete Brooks, Head of Behavioural Finance at Barclays, offers his top tips:

  1. The easiest way to get saving is to have a goal in mind – do you want to go on a holiday, buy a car, maybe even buy a home? If you know what you are working towards, it’s much simpler to make the swaprifices that will help you get there. And, as you see your savings pot grow, so will your excitement for the goal ahead.
  2. If you need the extra boost to stick to your savings plan, why not make your goal public? Tell your friends, family, even post it on social media – not only will this help your resolve, if your willpower wanes, you will have plenty of people around you to put you back on track.
  1. Work out what triggers you to spend on the things you can do without so you can avoid the situation. This could be changing your daily route to work so you don’t go past that café that always tempts you to splurge, or saying no to situations where you know you will spend more than you are comfortable with.
  1. Don’t look to revolutionise your life overnight. Start by making one or two changes and slowly add to this as you find more swaprifices you can make.  As the changes become ‘norm’, it will become easier and easy to get into the swing of a lifestyle that allows you to spend on the things you really enjoy, and save for the things you want in the future.
  2. Remember, just because you want to save money doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you enjoy. For example, individual gym classes can add up to a huge amount so why not mix them up with free activities like a local running club. This will help keep you fit without causing a heart attack over your spending.
  3. When you get your pay cheque, why not set a standing order so some of this instantly goes into a separate savings pot? This will take it straight out of temptations way and keep it safely set aside for your future goals.
  4. If you are building towards a longer-term goal, make the most of your available tax-free allowance and put your money into an ISA. If your goal is your first home, you can also think about opening a Help to Buy: ISA which could offer you an extra boost towards your dream. You can start saving into an ISA with as little as £1, but you can build it up to as much as £20,000 in the first tax year[1].
  5. Consider cash. If you have to physically hand over money, you will become a lot more aware of how much you are spending and much more likely to question whether you really need the item by the till.
  6. Before you make a purchase, step away and give yourself time to think. In the moment, it can be so easy to give into temptation and buy the thing in front of you. But if you are able to step away, better yet, sleep it on, you will have a much clearer idea whether you really need that item or whether you’d actually put the money towards your future plans.
  7. Be patient. Saving for your goals can be a slow process, particularly if you are aiming for something like your first home. However, lots of little changes will add up over time and make a big difference to helping you get there.

[1]ISA subject to status, Terms and Conditions apply – some ISAs do not allow regular contributions. Please see https://www.barclays.co.uk/savings/isas/ for more information.

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