North East homeowners among UK’s flashiest after splashing out average of £102,000 to keep up with Joneses

Jasmine Birtles
Jasmine Birtles
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Homeowners in the North East spend up to £102,000 in a lifetime on products that may NEVER be used in a bid to keep up with the Joneses, new research reveals.

Nearly a quarter of average-earning adults in the region waste £2,550 each year on “totally unnecessary” items to impress potential partners, friends and neighbours.

They splash out £212.50-a-month on the latest clothes, beauty products, and must-have gadgets that are “openly flaunted” whenever possible.

Homes in the region are decked out with fashionable soft furnishings, DIY tools are showcased in the garage, and bookshelves are stocked with novels to demonstrate “cultural superiority”.

Trendy outdoor furniture, meanwhile, is exhibited in the garden in case a neighbour happens to peep “over the fence”.

On a nationwide scale, homeowners generally spend up to £1,000 per year on so-called ‘poser purchases’ that are rarely used and were never really needed.

After going on show for “just the right amount of time”, the majority of these goods are left to gather dust in the attic with only a fraction being sold or donated to charity.

But 18 per cent of residents in Newcastle and the North East will fork out two and a half times the national average to keep up appearances, according to a nationwide study by Moneymagpie.com.

In the course of a 40-year ‘spending lifetime’, between the ages of 25 and 65, this equates to £102,000 – the same price as a supercar, a luxury yacht, or a typical two bedroom apartment.

Homeowners in Bristol and the South West topped the list of ‘Britain’s Flashiest Homeowners’.

The study was conducted by Moneymagpie.com to mark the first National Clear Your Clutter Day next month, on March 19, when homeowners will be persuaded to rid their homes of excess stuff.

Jasmine Birtles, the founder of Moneymagpie.com, said the findings reveal the nation’s secret spending habits for the first time - and reflect an increasingly throwaway society.

The TV pundit and consumer journalist said: “The results of this study reflect a growing – and potentially worrying – trend among modern Britons to buy totally unnecessary goods just to look good.

“Most people will indulge themselves now and then, often with a motive of impressing one’s colleagues or potential partner. This is normal and to be expected.

“But it is astonishing that some people are spending so much money over the course of a lifetime on perfectly good and usable items that will simply rot in a spare room.

“It is even more difficult to understand why these people are not trying to claw back some of the money – and space – by selling old goods and decluttering their lives, particularly when they can do it so easily on trade-in sites like Ziffit.com.”

Moneymagpie carried out two surveys to examine the typical spending habits of modern Britons. One questioned 1,050 adults from across the UK and the other was split into regions.

The first found that the adage of ‘make do and mend’ is “largely on the decline” in modern society, with 93 per cent believing that our spending culture is on the rise.

Some 94 per cent of those questioned admitted that they buy more things than they actually need. Typical indulgent purchases include clothes and shoes, electrical goods, furniture and furnishings, beauty products, garden goods, DIY tools, and books.

A third of consumers (32 per cent) use each item they buy on a regular basis, but the majority admit that between a quarter and all of the new products they buy go “virtually unused”.

Nearly one-in-three (29 per cent) people keep unused items “in case they come in handy in the future”, while 37 per cent throw them away, 16 per cent donate to charity shops, and 18 sell them, presumably online.

Unused products are generally stored in the spare room (87 per cent), attic (63 per cent), garage (76 per cent), garden shed (59 per cent), or placed in storage (seven per cent).

The overwhelming majority of respondents (74 per cent) said having lots of clutter made them feel stressed, unfocused or guilty.

And nearly a quarter of those questioned (19 per cent) described themselves as “hoarders”. Despite this, 94 per cent of consumers spend an average of £1,000 each year on unnecessary new products.

The ease of internet shopping and the additional advertising they are exposed to online were found to be key factors in the rise of ‘poser purchasing’.

Some 11 per cent admitted they bought unnecessarily to “keep up with the Joneses” and to “show off and display their wealth with material objects”.

A second survey polled 1,200 residents in six locations – Bristol and the South West, Birmingham and the Midlands, London and the South East, Manchester and the North West, Newcastle and the North East, and Wales.

Researchers found that the typical adult in Newcastle and the North East also spends up to £1,000 per year on “unnecessary products”, but that this rises to £2,550 per year for 18 per cent of respondents.

Cash is splashed on DIY tools, clothing, jewellery, and furniture, a whopping 38 per cent of which items go “virtually unused”.

Some 10 per cent admitted they wasted money on these items to keep up appearances.

Birtles, of Moneymagpie.com, said: “National Clear Your Clutter Day is designed to help the hoarders, the extravagant buyers, the poser purchasers, and the everyday consumer.

“We all know that less is more, and that clutter-free spaces mean stress-free lives.”

Britain’s Flashiest Homeowners, who waste the most money keeping up with the Joneses’, are found in:

Bristol and the South West - £120,000pa

London and the South East – £118,000pa

Manchester and the North West – £110,000pa

Birmingham and the Midlands – £108,000pa

Newcastle and the North East - £102,000pa

Wales - £96,000pa