For the first time in almost a decade, family spending fell last year. In 2009 the average household spent less on everything from clothes to package holidays. But are you still watching the pennies?
Or are you splashing out with reckless abandon? We’re well into the Christmas shopping period, with Manic Monday just passing for online retailers, so isn’t it time to throw away our cares and get the wallet out?
Well, we may be shopping to our hearts’ content this Christmas, but our average weekly spend has dropped.
Last year UK families spent an average of £455 a week, down from £471 in 2008. According to the Office for National Statistics, which carried out the survey of over 5,000 households, this was the lowest weekly spend for almost 10 years.
Families continued to spend most of their cash on transport, recreation, energy and housing. But clothes, shoes and household goods all saw a cut – a suggestion that the recession really took a hold of our spending habits.
Sales of cinema, theatre, concert and sporting event tickets remained strong, but perhaps unsurprisingly, package holidays took a hit. Our wallet watching clearly meant that many of us preferred to entertain ourselves at home in the UK, rather than splashing out on trips abroad.
I wonder if the average family spend also dropped this year, and whether the VAT hike next year will have a similar effect? It certainly doesn’t look like the country will be comfortable to push the boat out any time soon. Dave Darwent reflected this mindset in a reply to our Conversation on whether you were buying now to avoid the VAT hike:
‘Frankly I was already tightening my belt,’ he said, ‘and the VAT rise announcement just made me tighten it even more! I shall be buying as little as I can of everything and only buying anything at all if it’s totally essential.’
Have you been holding your cash close to your chest for the past couple of years? Or maybe your spending hasn’t taken a hit at all?