Half overspend on social life

Half of UK adults are in debt due to their social lives, a survey by the Money Advice Service has found.

The poll of 3,000 UK adults revealed that the average social overspend was £1,260, with 56% reporting they frequently spend more than they intend on social occasions.

Over half (58%) of respondents said they worry about appearing ungenerous and a third (32%) admit this contributes to overspending during social events.

Key findings:

  • over a third (36%) highlight a lack of self-control and ‘get carried away' with overspending
  • a fifth cut back on food expenditure due to social occasions
  • 1 in 10 have failed to pay utility bills after going out
  • a quarter go for meals they can't afford
  • 17% go on holidays they don't have money for.

The survey also found that when people control their spending:

  • 35% feel positive about being sensible
  • a third feel good about not wasting money 
  • a fifth feel proud of themselves.

Jane Symonds, financial expert at the Money Advice Service, said:

"Most of us a little more than planned every now and again, whether it is buying a few more drinks than we expected on a night out, or getting a taxi home at the end of the evening.

"I'd urge anyone in debt, due to their social spending, to take action now to avoid getting any further into the red and instead work at clearing it. You'd be surprised at how empowering saying ‘no' can feel when you see how healthy your bank balance looks, and you can spend the money on things you really value or need."

Jenni Trent Hughes, expert in social psychology, said:

"These days we often find ourselves pressured into spending money we don't really have and buying things we can't really afford. The more confident you are, the more in control you will feel, and the less likely you are to fall into the trap of spending money you don't have."