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When starting to save money, it’s worth making a list of the things you can cut back on, or cut out completely. Discovering how to save money in new ways can be very satisfying, especially when it means you can afford to treat yourself or even more importantly, reduce your overall debt.

To tackle this subject, we put together a survey on what the UK public would be willing to give up to save money. This meant we could see what the most popular thing would be and encourage you to start taking a look at what you could cut out. Whether it’s alcohol, smoking, chocolate, gambling or takeaways, there’s always something you can give up to save money. What would you choose?

Find out the results of our survey below and what the Great British public voted as the number one thing they would give up. We’ve also broken down our results to see how each gender, each age group and even each region voted.

What would you give up to save money?

Our survey was broken down into 5 answers to find out what the UK public would consider to be the number one expense that they would give up to save money:

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Gambling
  • Takeaways

The results would allow us to draw conclusions over what people would give up first, and also what people would give up last, in order to cut back and save money in 2020. We managed to accumulate responses from over 1500 people, giving us enough data to notice certain trends in amongst the answers we received.

Overall results

We found that across the board Takeaways was the most popular response when considering what would be given up to save money.

What makes this response interesting is that it is a convenient service that is obviously becoming more engrained into our society, but people still consider it as ‘the first one to give up’ when compared to the likes of Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling and even Chocolate! You can read the full results below:

  • Chocolate – 16.9%
  • Alcohol – 17.4%
  • Smoking – 16.4%
  • Gambling – 9.6%
  • Takeaways – 39.8%

There are also other intriguing details, such as Alcohol, Smoking and Chocolate all being incredibly close in the vote. These three are almost level-pegging for second place, revealing that the public is unsure, if given the choice, which one would be best to give up over the others. This indicates that many people see chocolate as just as bad as Alcohol or Smoking, when it comes to being a monthly expense.

In addition, the placing of Gambling in last shows that majority of people would pick the other options over Gambling and would perhaps view it as less of a problem when it comes to their finances.


Breaking the results down by gender reveals some interesting facts about the responses we received. Firstly, both genders opted for Takeaways as their number one choice, but when you list their top responses in order, you can see the difference clearly:


  1. Takeaways – 36.5%
  2. Alcohol – 20.0%
  3. Smoking – 19.1%
  4. Chocolate – 14.7%
  5. Gambling – 9.6%


  1. Takeaways – 43.1%
  2. Chocolate – 19.2%
  3. Alcohol – 14.7%
  4. Smoking – 13.6%
  5. Gambling – 9.5%

Women choosing Chocolate as the second thing to give up in order to save money is very interesting, as it indicates that women are more interested in giving up things to do with eating and weight loss. Men on the other hand, would be more inclined to give up Alcohol and Smoking over chocolate, which they would see as more of an expense.


When it comes to age, there are also a few details that we can pick out when looking at separate age brackets individually. For the most part, like the other segments we’ve looked at, Takeaways is obviously still in first place, but as you look at the results by age, you can see that second-place changes:

  • 18-24 – Chocolate
  • 25-34 – Smoking
  • 35-44 – Smoking
  • 45-54 – Alcohol
  • 55-64 – Alcohol
  • 65+ – Alcohol

All these second-place expenses show quite clearly a generational importance in what should be given up over other things you spend your money on. It’s quite interesting to note that the youngest bracket would give up Chocolate but from ages 25-44 the choice was most definitely smoking, with the remaining age brackets opting for Alcohol.


If we look at our results by country, the consensus is still Takeaways, but once again you can see other differences when it comes to second place:

  • England – Alcohol
  • Scotland – Chocolate
  • Wales – Chocolate
  • Northern Ireland - Smoking

While Scotland and Wales were united in giving up Chocolate after Takeaways, again revealing a trend of giving up food-related expenses, England stuck with Alcohol and Northern Ireland was firm in giving up Smoking.

We can also look at regions in England to reveal further second-place results:

  • North West England – Alcohol
  • North East England – Smoking
  • West Midlands – Alcohol
  • East Midlands – Alcohol
  • East of England – Smoking
  • London – Smoking
  • South West England – Chocolate/Alcohol (tied in second place)
  • South East England - Alcohol

Looking at these results gives us a glimpse into cultural and social feelings towards certain expenses or some would even refer to as bad habits. When it comes to regions, Alcohol and Smoking are definitely the most popular after Takeaways across England.


With Takeaways being the outright winner, this means that despite many more convenient delivery services being set up, giving the public easy-access to fast food and takeaway meals, they would still give this expense up first, in order to save money.

The fact that female respondents chose both Takeaways and Chocolate seems like a key detail, indicating that women would prefer to give up expenses related to weight loss and body image. The impact of beauty magazines on women as a whole has been well-documented and it seems appropriate that these two would be the thing that women would consider to be the first ones to go.

The generational trend was also intriguing, as you can see quite clearly that although the most popular answer was Takeaways, that there was always a strong contender for second place, showing a clear ranking of importance for what different age groups would give up to save money.

Do you agree with our respondents? Have your say over on our social channels using links at the bottom of the page!