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Freeview research reveals Brits planning to slash nearly £9bn from personal spending in next six months

Posted October 25, 2010 - Press Releases

Nearly three quarters of Brits (71%) are preparing a lifestyle change as age of austerity approaches

  • Brits plan cutbacks of nearly £200 each on average over next six months
  • 81% of people value best free things in life over money and possessions, with love (21%), laughter (15%) and friendship (15%) the most important amongst them
  • More than 6 out of 10 respondents (61%) are planning to cut back on Christmas costs with 40 per cent set to slash spending on presents
  • Out of all the regions in Britain, Londoners get most pleasure from earning money (20%) while Scots get least satisfaction from spending it (1%)

Freeview, the UK’s biggest digital TV provider, in conjunction with YouGov, today reveals that £8.68 billion (See note1) worth of personal cutbacks are being planned in the next six months alone, as the nation braces itself for tough financial times ahead.

The findings, part of Freeview’s study of over 2,000 people into the projected impact on the British public of the Government’s recent spending cut announcements, reveal that the average Brit will be looking to cut expenditure each by £183(See note 2) over the next six months. The comparative figure for Wales is £255(2), whilst for Scotland it is a whopping £319(2).

The research also shows that almost 3 out of 4 people (71 per cent) are preparing to make money saving lifestyle changes.

The most popular ways to save money selected are:

  1. Cook instead of eating out or getting a takeaway (47%)
  2. Make lunch instead of buying it (46%)
  3. Cut down on socialising by staying at home (32%)
  4. Watch free TV channels instead of paying for subscription TV (22%)
  5. Walk / cycle / instead of using public transport / driving (22%)

According to the research, Christmas will not escape the population’s own budget cuts. Nearly two thirds of the nation (61 per cent) plan to spend less on Christmas this year with nearly 40 per cent planning to spend less on Christmas presents this year compared to 2009. Men should brace themselves for disappointment since 47 per cent of women say they plan to spend less on presents, compared to only 32 per cent of men.

The good news is that eight out of ten Brits (84 per cent) believe that time spent with family is the most important ingredient for a perfect Christmas, with one in six people (17 per cent) saying Christmas telly will play a key part.

The research also demonstrates the importance of the things in life that are free. The research explored what people valued the most from a list of ten items – five of which were free (love, friends, compliments, free time, peace and quiet), the remainder have material value (holidays, clothes, money, eating out and mobile phone). From the list, over eight out of ten (81 per cent) of respondents chose the free items as being the most important.

As Brits prepare to tough it out through challenging times, nearly half the nation (45 per cent) believes that the best things in life are free, while more than half the nation say that money can’t buy you happiness (53 per cent). Love, laughter and friendship are the nation’s favourite free things in life, as Brits overwhelmingly look to simple pleasures and each other instead of materialistic distractions.

The nation’s favourite free things in life are listed below:

  1. Love (21%)
  2. Laughter (15%)
  3. Friendship (15%)
  4. Sex (9%)
  5. Peace and quiet (8%)
  6. Sunshine (7%)
  7. Fresh air (4%)
  8. Free time (4%)
  9. Hugs (4%)
  10. Sleep (4%)

While the nation is in agreement as a whole on life’s priorities, the sexes still display huge differences, with one in six men (16 per cent) claiming sex is the most important free thing in life to them, compared to only one in 50 women (2 per cent). Seven times as many women (7 per cent) compared to men (1 per cent) rank hugs as their favourite free thing, with a third more men (10 per cent) valuing simple peace and quiet than woman (7 per cent). Nearly twice as many women (19 per cent) enjoy laughter more than men (11 per cent) with twice as many men (6 per cent) to women (3 per cent) finding most contentment in sleep.

Across Britain Londoners (20 per cent) get more joy out of earning money than people in any other part of the country, while Scots get the least amount of satisfaction from spending it (1 per cent). And retired people (12 per cent) get more joy out of giving money than people in full time employment (3 per cent).

Ilse Howling, MD of Freeview, commented: “It’s encouraging to see that as personal finances come under pressure the nation believes that money isn’t everything and that the best things in life come without a price tag attached. With love, laughter and friendship key to people’s happiness, Freeview believes that everyone has the right to good times and good TV for free, without adding to your monthly bills.”


  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2106 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th – 18th October 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)
  1. Freeview calculations based on 47.4 million adults (18+) and percentage of people planning to save over a six month period. Monetary value taken as mid-point in specified range
    a. 13 % x £12.50 per month = £77.02 million
    b. 10% x £38 per month = £180.12 million
    c. 5% x £63 per month = £149.31 million
    d. 5 % x £88 per month = £291.98 million
    e. 4% x £125 per month = £237.95 million
    f. 2% x £175.50 per month = £166.37 million
    g. 2% x £225.50 per month = £213.77 million
    h. 1 % x £275.50 per month = £130.59 million
    i. Total = 1.44 billion
    j. X 6 months = 8.68 billion
  2. Average cutback per adult in Britain = 8.68bn / 47.4m = £183

Calculations of total amount to be saved for Scotland based on 4.1 million adults 18+ and percentage of those planning to save varying amounts over a six month period, following the above format.

Calculations of total amount to be saved for Wales based on 2.4 million adults 18+ and percentage of those planning to save varying amounts over a six month period, following the above format.

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