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How much do you spend on shortcuts?

How much do you spend on shortcuts?

Category: Money

Updated: 22/10/2015
First Published: 22/10/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The modern day Brit has a lot of demands on their time, so it's no wonder that more of us are splashing the cash on shortcuts that can help us to claw back a few precious minutes. However, all these treats and time-saving coping mechanisms can cost a pretty penny when it's all added up, so is it time for you to go back to basics?

The cost of chores

Everyday household chores can be a pain and take up time, so it seems that more of us are becoming willing to dip into our pockets to pass the job onto someone else. According to research by, respondents spend an average of £2,688.72 a year on basic jobs such as pet walking, laundry, cleaning and car washing.

Of this total, over £400 is spent on takeaways due to 76% of time-strapped Brits finding it tricky to find the time needed to plan, shop and prepare their own home-cooked meals. Pre-made lunches were another expense respondents admitted to falling back on due to time constraints: the research found that they spent an average of £36.66 a month on lunchtime meals, a total that adds up to a significant amount over the year.

Dealing with an overflowing laundry basket can also be an off-putting task when your time is limited, so it's no wonder that those questioned said that they spent around £24.28 a month in exchange for a laundry service. And, while only 9% said that they insist on putting their feet up when they get home, those who do cough up an average of £46.43 on private cleaners – clearly, staying clean costs!

Other traditionally do-it-yourself jobs, such as cleaning the car, are also absorbing more Brits' funds. Indeed, it was found that respondents shell out about £8.58 on car cleaning services every month.

The time has also passed when we would set up a 'spa' experience in our own bathrooms with a bit of bubble bath and some candles: the survey results revealed that respondents are currently spending over £300 a year on their beauty treatments, and while more women than men admit to splashing their cash on these expenses (30%), 5% of men confessed to spending £26.98 per month on beautifying therapies.

"Our research highlights the price tag for those who'd rather have the time instead," commented Natasha Rachel Smith of TopCashback. "Although services such as car washes, taxis and takeaways are a great help when we're short of time, it's important that consumers don't rely on these as a crutch as they can quickly turn into a financial strain rather than a convenience, easily going unnoticed in bank accounts."

So, if you've been short of time and begun to lose track of what you're spending on shortcuts, what can you do to cut the cost without losing more precious minutes?

Savvy shortcuts

Of course, the best way to cut your costs is to start doing all these chores and errands yourself, but that's not always possible all of the time. Instead, learning to be a savvy shopper can be the key. Using discounts or vouchers can ensure that when you buy a service or shortcut, you get a cost-effective deal. Cashback cards can also put some much-needed cash back into your pocket – every time you buy a takeaway or pay for some pampering, your card can give you something back. Check out our best buys to find the right card for you. And, if you are able to cut back on a few of these luxuries, consider putting your money in a savings account instead – watching your pot build could spur you on to make ever bigger savings!

So, remember to shop smarter and you may be able to enjoy the benefits of shortcuts without them taking too big a chunk out of your bank account.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.