Curry house: average British home fritters away up to £1,350 on takeaways a year

12 October 2015

  • Two thirds can’t last a fortnight without takeout, despite feeling guilty about forking out
  • Average home spends up to £110,000 on curry over lifetime – the cost of an Aston Martin

British households are spending close to a month’s wages each year on takeaways, according to new research1 marking National Curry Week2. Research from Nationwide Current Accounts shows that the nation enjoys an average of three takeaways per month and that curry-lovers are the biggest spenders, splashing out an average of £9.41 per person each time they dine in.

Based on a typical family of four, this equates to around £113 each month or £1,355 a year – more than three quarters of the UK’s average monthly salary of £1,7593. Over the course of a lifetime, this would amount to a staggering £109,7554 – equivalent to the cost of an Aston Martin DB9.

However, two thirds of Brits (66%) can’t last a fortnight without ordering their favourite dish, despite over half (52%) saying they feel guilty about spending so much money on takeaways and nearly two thirds (63%) failing to budget for the costs of takeaways.

While the survey shows that Chinese is the favourite takeout for most Brits, curry is the clear leader when it comes to the amount spent, with people splashing out nearly twice as much as those opting for traditional fish and chips. Over the course of a year, the difference between the dishes adds up to £562.

The top five favourite takeaways and spend highlighted in the survey were:

Type of takeaway Ranked most favourite Spend per person Annual household spend per year5
Curry 2 – 23% £9.41 £1,355
Chinese 1 – 28% £9 £1,296
Pizza 4 – 15% £8.71 £1,254
Kebab 5 – 3% £6.21 £894
Fish and chips 3 – 20% £5.51 £793

While people order takeaways because of time pressures and convenience, the research shows that the top motive is because see it as a reward. The top five reasons given were:

  • To treat myself (70%)
  • Because I don’t want to cook (46%)
  • To save time (24%)
  • Because I haven’t done the food shop (17%)
  • Because I can’t cook (3%)

The poll also reveals marked differences between men and women about how they feel about takeaways. Despite the sexes spending similar amounts of money, more women (61%) than men (43%) feel guilty about how much they spend on takeaways, while seven in ten men (70%) of men say they can’t last more than two weeks without a takeaway, compared to just 42 per cent of women. Women are also more likely than men to take convenience into account, with a greater proportion ordering a take away because they haven’t done the food shopping (20% vs 13%) or because they don’t want to cook (52% vs 40%).

There are a number of ways people can budget more effectively. Nationwide, which offers a range of current accounts, offers an Impulse Saver feature on their Mobile Banking app. This enables customers to easily transfer money from their current account to their savings account, without the need to log in. By making small changes, such as forgoing a coffee or skipping one takeaway a month, savings can soon mount up.

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “Not only are we passionate about takeaways, but the speed of modern life means we’re often too busy to cook. Our research shows that takeaways are often an impulse treat and people aren’t necessarily budgeting for the extra spend. As a result, households can easily spend a substantial amount over the course of a year without realising.

“While we should always look forward to sitting down with our favourite dish, it’s worth considering how we can put some money aside to cover the costs. A great way to fund impulse buys such as takeaways is through easy-to-use services like Nationwide’s Impulse Saver, which allows people to pocket small savings without the need to log-in. This means that come takeaway day, you’ll have hopefully put enough aside to cover the costs”.

Notes to Editors

1 One Poll research: total sample size was 2,000 adults who buy takeaways. The survey ran from 02/10/15 to 05/10/15.

2 National Curry Week runs from 12th to 18th October.

3 Annual household spend on Indian takeaway per year - £1,355 x 81 (average life expectancy published in The Lancet).

4 According to Office for National Statistics the UK average yearly salary is £26,500. This equates to £1,759 take home pay using

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Please note: If you are a customer looking for information on our products and services, please visit the main website.