It is perhaps no secret that the cost of living can sometimes cause a substantial dent in our finances, depriving many households across the UK of lump sums of cash that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.
However, the true extent of expenditure is staggering, with recent analysis from uSwitch claiming that the average UK household will spend £713,232 on bills and living expenses over a lifetime.
Transport still an issue
Perhaps the most substantial source of expenditure has been transport, which demanded an average lifetime sum of £164,736, which is nearly as much as the average price for a UK house.
The second largest expense was found to be food and non-alcoholic drink, which came to £137,592, while communication costs added up to £33,930.
Energy is also proving to be a substantial cost over the lifetime of a British homeowner, with UK households on average spending over £60,000, which breaks down to around £26.50 a week, and £1,378 a year for the average household.
While this may seem more manageable compared to the top expenses, it is still the equivalent of nearly double the average pension pot (£36,600) or the average house deposit (£31,000).
Switching makes a difference
There is always a temptation among British consumers to simply 'grin and bear it' when it comes to high energy prices. However, it is always important to remember that switching is still a great way to save money.
The research from uSwitch found that consumers stood to reduce their average spend on energy by £228 a year by switching energy providers, which in turn could leave them £10,260 better off over the course of a lifetime.
However, these substantial savings often end up passing many households by, with figures suggesting that nearly two thirds of consumers (62 per cent) have never switched.
Number of possibilities
Of those that did switch, more than a third (37 per cent) said they would use the annual saving of £228 towards a rainy day fund, while another 23 per cent said they would pay off debts.
A further 21 per cent said they would put the cash towards a holiday, while another eight per cent would splash out on new clothes or a gadget.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, said: “These striking figures clearly show the massive pressures on household budgets to keep up with the cost of living. We are now spending double the amount of the average house deposit on our energy bills during a lifetime, yet consumers could easily save £10,000 by switching to a better deal.
“The New Year is a great opportunity to start afresh and make some resolutions to start saving precious pounds. The introduction of faster energy switching means that changing energy supplier is quicker and easier than ever before, so now is the ideal time to make sure you’re on the best deal.”