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Brits reveal their top financial regrets: here are five ways to avoid them

Written by: Danielle Levy
Have you ever tried to save money but unintentionally ended up spending more in the process? Here are five ways to avoid this situation from occurring…

Close to a third of UK adults have bought a lower quality item and then regretted not paying more for a product that would have lasted longer, a study by Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards has revealed.

This featured as the top financial regret of a sample of 2,018 adults who were polled by Opinium Research on behalf of Sainsbury’s.

Paying for insurance in monthly instalments rather than paying in a lump sum – a decision that  involves more cost – was the second most commonly cited financial regret by 29% of the sample.

This was followed by buying cheap plane ticket but then paying more for allocated seating – another false economy that was cited by 15% of the sample.

Here’s a table outlining Brits’ top five financial regrets:

False Economies % of UK adults
Buying a lower quality item and later regretting not paying
extra for one that would last longer
Paying for insurance in monthly instalments rather than
paying in a lump sum, despite it being more expensive
Buying cheap plane tickets but then paying
more for allocated seating
Spending money on running an old car,
when a new car would have been cheaper in the long run
Not buying enough baggage allowance for a flight
and then paying for additional allowance at the airport

Source: Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards

Paying for repairs

UK adults also admitted to paying for costly repairs to fix old or broken items, ultimately spending more money in the long run than if they had simply bought a new item upfront.

For example, the average Brit typically pays a professional to fix an expensive item, such as a car or boiler, twice before replacing it. What’s more, around 37% of the sample regretted fixing the item. Research also found that the average patch-up job for a car totalled £214 and £150 for a boiler.

Jerome Fernandez, head of credit cards at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “If you are considering significant outlays this year on items that need fixing, it is worthwhile weighing up the initial cost versus any ongoing costs. You could save more money in the long run by investing in a new item upfront.”

Five ways to save money

Editor and founder of Moneymagpie Jasmine Birtles says it is important to take a step back and try to learn from any previous mistakes.

“We can’t get it right all the time but if we’re able to take a breath, step back for long enough to think it through – often learning from former mistakes – we can usually work out if it could be better value in the long-run to buy something new,” she explained.

Here are her top financial hacks:

  1. Think about future purchases – Make a list of what big items you may need to buy this year. Are you planning to go on holiday? Do you suspect that your boiler will need to be replaced? Having a future plan for big purchases can help you map out your year’s finances.
  2. Save money elsewhere – If you’re looking to make a big purchase in one area, can you cut down on costs elsewhere? For example a gym membership could be replaced by joining a free fitness boot camp in your local park.
  3. Shop around – If you’re planning to spend money on a large purchase, spend a bit of time shopping around so you can get the best deal.
  4. Factor in the cost of insurance – If you’re going on holiday, don’t forget travel insurance. It doesn’t have to cost a lot but will add to the total price you pay. A new car should come with a warranty but you still have to pay for vehicle insurance and the sportier the model, the more you’re likely to have to add on.
  5. De-junk your life to bring in the cash – Do you have other items you could sell to bring in the money to pay for this new item? Bring the whole family into it – the kids could sell toys they no longer want and put that towards spending money for the holiday, for example.

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