False economies: UK adults reveal the financial decisions they regret

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Brits are being urged to avoid “false economies” when it comes to spending on big ticket items or services.

A survey of over 3,000 people by Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards has revealed the top ways shoppers unintentionally spend more money when trying to save on big purchases.

According to the results, the financial decision Brits most regret is buying low-quality items instead of spending more on something that would last longer. Almost a third (32%) of survey respondents said they have made the mistake of buying something cheap, only to have to replace it far sooner.

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Almost as many people (29%) said the biggest mistake they have made is paying insurance in monthly instalments rather than a lump sum. Most insurers offer the option to pay on a month-to-month basis rather than in one upfront sum, making the cost more manageable by spreading it over a period of years. Unfortunately, this usually costs more overall.

Holidays are also often a source of financial regret for Brits, with 15% saying they wish they hadn’t bought cheap plane tickets, as they had to pay more for allocated seating anyway. Another 11% said they regret not buying enough baggage allowance for flights, as they had to spend money on additional allowance at the airport.

Paying to run an old car when a new car would have been cheaper in the long run is a mistake 14% of British adults said they regret making.

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Brits admitted they often pay for costly repairs to fix old or broken items, spending more money overall than if they bought a new item upfront. Nearly one in 10 (9%) said they unsuccessfully attempted to fix a broken item themselves, and then had to pay a tradesperson to finish the job.

As a result, people typically pay for fixing expensive items such as cars and boilers twice, before buying again, the survey found. With the average patch-up job for a car standing at £214 and boiler repairs costing on average £150, more than a third (37%) of people said they regret paying for these repairs.

Jerome Fernandez, head of credit cards at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “If you are considering significant outlays this year on items that need fixing, it is worthwhile weighing up the initial cost vs any ongoing costs. You could save more money in the long run by investing in a new item upfront.”

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Just under one in 10 (8%) Brits said they have lost money by taking out a cheap mobile phone contract, then regularly having to buy top-up data, and extra minutes or texts.

A small but significant number (7%) admitted to undervaluing the worth of items on insurance policies to get cheaper premiums, only to discover they were not covered after submitting a claim.