The eye-watering cost of having friends

6th September 2018

By Kurt Wood

It’s said you can't put a price on friendship, which is ruddy good when you consider just how expensive friends are.

And how do we know this? Well, we surveyed the nation about their friend-spending to find out just how hard our social lives are hitting our pockets.

Well, when we say the nation, we mean we asked 2000 of you just what and when you buy pressies for friends. Does it stop at weddings and birthdays? Or are housewarming and baby-shower gifts a thing still?

Just how far did this go?  Were savings dipped into, overdrafts racked up, cards maxed out or money borrowed to fund this socialising?

And what were the consequences of not paying ball (see what we did there?). Were friendships lost, invites withdrawn, squad tattoos lasered?

Millennials: memories over mortgages

So, the big headline is you like to spend on friends. Group holidays, wedding presents, restaurant bills and festival nonsense, you Millennials are living it up on insta, at the cost of those oldie milestones – mortgages and kids.

So much so that you’ll go into debt to do it.

52% of you have dipped into savings to fund social occasions and present-buying. While 40% of you have borrowed money from the Bank of Mum & Dad. And then there’s those who slapped it onto credit cards, strayed into their overdraft, or even took out a personal loan.

And it’s tough.

All this pressure means you’re not only more likely to split the restaurant bill - when all you had was a starter and a single beer, while matey over there had the tasting menu and a pitcher of Aperol spritz – but also spent your hard-earned cash on people you’d rather not have. 

And perhaps this explains why you Millennials are most likely to have fallen out with a chum over money or been uninvited from a social event for refusing to cough up.

Where are the biggest-spending Brits?

We also found that some parts of the country are more generous than others.

Rather than looking at overall spend (because average salaries are so different across the country), we looked at which city’s residents were the most and least likely to say they would spend nothing on different social events.

And the biggest friend-spenders in Britain live in…

Drum roll please.

London, Birmingham and Manchester, along with Edinburgh and Glasgow (so that’s put an end to those lame old Scottish jokes, once and for all).

While those who, as my granny would say, know the price of a penny, live in Norwich, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Costly colleagues

On the scale of mates, you have your besties at the top, obviously, then your squad, followed by those who refuse to use the word squad and then, hovering somewhere just under siblings but above the guy in the corner shop who allows you a tab are those who go by the name of workmates (yes, we are talking about Lionel in accounts).

And yet, with leaving presents, birthday meals, karaoke team-building sessions, us Brits will spend £498 a year on this group alone.

Which, with the average salary in the UK at £27,271, means the average UK worker labours for six days just to cover the cost of socialising with Lionel in accounts.

What’s the strangest social event you’ve ever spent money on? Have you ever fallen out with a friend over money, or gone into debt to fund your friendships? Let us know - @giffgaffgameplan

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