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Once in a lifetime: the £76,000 cost of treats and snacks

We all love the odd treat. From a takeaway to a bar of chocolate, the small cost probably doesn’t register as making much of a dent to your finances – but in truth the average spend in your lifetime of all these could easily hit £76,000!

That’s a huge amount of money you could be putting towards your retirement, or from next April, investing in the new Lifetime ISA. Even in the short term, it represents a saving of more than £1,200 per person each year – no doubt a handy bit of extra to help cover unexpected costs or fund a holiday.

We’ve looked at the figures for average consumption of favourites such as takeaways, shop coffees, fizzy drinks, bottled water and chocolate bars to work out just how much we spend on them in our lifetime.

Plus, we’ve added in simple tips to help you reduce how much you spend each year. Of course, you could go even further if you want to save even more.

Take away the takeaways

Lifetime cost: £28,420

With the average takeaway costing just £7.60 per person, you might not think it’s a big deal to splash out now and then. But with Young’s Seafood finding we order one five times a month, that’s an annual cost of £458, and a huge £28,420 in our lifetime.

Top way to spend less

The easiest way is to limit yourself to just two takeaways a month, saving you £182 a year. This way you still get to treat yourself to a Thai. But don’t substitute it for eating out – that’ll cost you even more!

Cut back the coffees

Working life cost: £25,662

We drink on average 12 coffees a week. Now, some of those are probably made at home or in the office, but if we say five are bought on the high street each week, at around £2.10, the annual cost would be £546. If you did this just for your working life, you’re spending another £25,662.

Top way to spend less

If you love your daily coffee, you’ll know an instant coffee just won’t do. So instead buy a smaller size. You’ll get your caffeine fix and save £50 a year.

Bin the bottled water

Lifetime cost: £2,480

In a year, we buy 40.6 litres of bottled water, roughly 80 small bottles each. With these costing around 50p in most supermarkets, it’s only £40 a year. But over 62 years it’s £2,480.

Top way to spend less

It’s not always a good idea to reuse the disposable bottles, but you can buy bottles designed for regular use and just fill them up from the tap. You’ll easily save £30 in the first year.

Chuck out the choc

Lifetime cost: £9,093

The average UK adult eats 11kg of chocolate each year, according to data from Statista. With an average bar of Dairy Milk weighing 45 grams and costing 60p, that’s 244 bars of choc (roughly one every working day) a year at a cost of £147.

Top way to spend less

Every other day, substitute your chocolate bar for a piece of fruit, which should save you £37 a year.

Throw out the fizzy drinks

Lifetime cost: £9,920

We drink even more carbonated drinks, with the average Brit consuming 100 litres every year at a cost of £1.60 per litre (source: British Soft Drinks Association). Added together that’s £160 a year, and £12,960 in a lifetime.

With the new sugar tax likely to see prices rise, it'll probably be even more.

Top way to spend less

If you know you’ll buy a drink daily, why not get a multipack from the supermarket and bring the can or bottle with you. This could easily half how much you pay.

How we worked it out

The average lifetime expectancy in the UK is 81 years, which means we’ve 62 years as an adult – and you’re “working” for 47 of those. It’s these figures we’ve used to calculate the total costs.

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