How Many Hours You Need to Work to Pay for Life’s Little Luxuries Revealed

We all look forward to the little luxuries in life, whether that’s enjoying a meal out, paying someone to clean your car or treating yourself to a manicure. However, these ‘little’ costs can soon add up and before long your monthly indulgences can cost you hours’ worth of your hard-earned cash.

To highlight the value of our little luxuries, pensions advice specialist Portafina, asked the nation how they spend their disposable income and can reveal how much our occasional treats are costing us – both financially and in the number of hours we work.

The ten most popular luxuries Brits treat themselves to monthly are (and average cost per purchase):

  1. Buying a new outfit – £29.05 (37%)
  2. Eating a meal out – £25.11 (36%)
  3. Going to the cinema – £18.39 (30%)
  4. Getting a takeaway meal – £18.27 (28%)
  5. Buying perfume or aftershave – £26.17 (28%)
  6. Coffee and cake in a café – £11.31 (26%)
  7. A trip to the pub – £20.34 (24%)
  8. Buying a new mascara – £18.82 (22%)
  9. Netflix/Amazon Prime/Now TV subscription – £18.44 (21%)
  10. Taking a taxi instead of public transport – £17.21 (17%)

After identifying how much Brits spend on their favourite luxuries, Portafina looked at some of the most common occupations across the country, comparing their hourly rate and the average amount people spend on their indulgences.

Overall, the occupations that have to work the longest to afford all of life’s little luxuries are those in consumer-facing roles such as retail assistants and bar staff.

The five occupations which have to work the longest to pay for the top three most popular little luxuries are (based on hourly take-home pay):

  1. Bar staff – 10 hours 12 minutes – 29% of the working week
  2. Sales assistants and retail cashiers – 9 hours 4 minutes – 26% of the working week
  3. Caring personal service occupations – 8 hours 37 minutes -25% of the working week
  4. Administrative occupations – 6 hours 58 minutes – 20% of the working week
  5. Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades – 6 hours 14 minutes – 18% of the working week

The most expensive and popular luxury that over a third (37%) of Brits buy monthly is a new outfit, costing on average £29.05. To afford this, sales/retail and bar workers would have to work 3 hours and 23 minutes and 4 hours 7 minutes respectively, compared to solicitors and managers/directors who would have to work only 1 hour and 22 minutes or 1 hours 25 minutes respectively.

The cheapest luxury that over a quarter (26%) of British workers buy monthly is a coffee and cake at a café, amounting on average, to £11.31 each time they indulge. Those in teaching and educational professions and business, media and public services both have to work for 38 minutes and 40 minutes respectively to afford this luxury.

For a bit of fun, Portafina also looked at how long some of the biggest house-hold names in the UK would need to work to afford the top three most popular luxuries. Comedian and TV host, James Corden, on his annual £3 million salary would only have to work for 2 minutes and 38 seconds to afford the top three most popular luxuries. Champion tennis player, Andy Murray, earns a cool £17.3 million yearly meaning that to afford these popular extras, he would only have to work for about 27 seconds!

Commenting on the research, Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina said: “So, buying a new outfit is the number one little luxury we treat ourselves to each month. I clearly need to go shopping more!

“While there are no great surprises on the rest of the list, getting an idea of how much we are spending on non-essentials is a valuable exercise, especially when we are faced with the cold reality of how many hours we’ve had to work to get them

“And when essential outgoings eat a big chunk of our take-home pay each month before we even get a chance to see it, the money that’s left becomes even more valuable.

“That’s why taking a few minutes to work out your disposable income and what you spend this money on can make you even smarter when it comes to managing your finances. And if you can cut back on a few of those luxuries now, it should mean you have more money to keep treating yourself, and your family, in the future. Life should be for living, after all.”

(Source: Portafina)

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