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Is ‘invisible’ spending stopping you from saving?

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With the increasing choice of payment devices, such as contactless cards, phone apps, or credit cards it’s become very easy to lose track of outgoings. So much so that we might not even be registering that we’re spending money, making it difficult for us to keep an eye on our budgeting and even harder for us to budget and save.

Rodney Prezeau confirmed this after the results of Aviva’s recent research ‘found that 26% of people don’t really keep track of their spending at all’, says Rodney Prezeau, consumer platform managing director for Aviva.

This study also uncovered that ‘invisible’ spends, such as coffees during the day, running out to grab a shop bought lunch and being persuaded to go for a post-work drink, can accumulate £948 a year for the average adult. This is equivalent to 387 takeaway cappuccinos, 287 pints or 112 packs of cigarettes. Which could alternatively buy you 42 three course meals or a return flight to the Caribbean in peak season**.

We broke this research down further to reveal how much different age groups could be saving:


Average yearly amount UK adults could be saving

Aged 18-24:


Aged 25-34:


Aged 35-44:


Aged 45-54:


Aged 55-64:



Budgeting smarter for your future

According to research almost half of UK adults put money into their savings on a monthly basis. However, most of us are focussing on saving for short-term rewards. Our research showed that 38% of people who were able to save will either put money aside for a holiday or for a rainy day. Only 24% of UK adults are putting anything towards our pension. This isn’t surprising with only one in three 25-64 year olds worrying about or even considering saving for retirement.

Investing could be the ideal solution if you’re looking to make bigger changes, but investing in the right places will make sure you can make the most of your savings in the future. Rodney Prezeau is worried that ‘many who are investing for the long term seem to be putting their cash into vehicles which are generally more suited to shorter term savings’. Like 46% of the population, you could invest in a Cash ISA account but for long term saving you could make the most of the tax advantages of a Stocks and Shares ISA.

Top 5 places where people are currently saving for retirement in the UK

1. Employer pension (29%)

2. Cash ISA (20%)

3. Bank / building society account (18%)

4. Private pension (15%)

5. Cash savings (8%)

Increasing your employer pension contributions could be an easy solution as the money will be taken directly from your salary. Approximatively 3 in 10 UK adults chose to increase their employer pension from the minimum 0.8% to a higher amount in 2015.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. Small changes such as making a list of items you need for the week when going to the supermarket can go a long way. Preparing food in advance and freezing it could also help you avoid indulging in takeaways or shop-bought lunches.

The ‘cut back and save’ calculator could help you understand how much leeway you have every month to save or treat yourself.

Tools & calculators

Use our handy tools and calculators to help you plan for your future.

Pensions explained

Puzzled by pensions? Get the lowdown on everything you need to know.


Already have a pension with Aviva? Monitor it online at the touch of a button with MyAviva.

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