The price of politeness is £7.1bn a year

Getting a round of drinks in is the most common example of Brits spending to be polite, survey finds. Photo: Marvin Meyer/Unsplash

Brits rack up a bill of almost £300 each year on items or activities they paid for just to be polite, with a huge 91% doing so, according to new research.

A study from leading savings site VoucherCodes investigated where people spend money just to avoid awkwardness, confrontation or appearing impolite, to establish the true “cost of being British”.

Brits admitted to spending an additional £23.27 each month – amounting to a national average total of £7.1bn per year.

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Getting a round of drinks in (46%), sticking around for an extra drink (42%), and splitting the bill despite having a cheaper meal than others (41%), are some of the most common examples of Brits forking out extra cash just to be polite.

Over a third (36%) of Brits lose money by not asking for it back when it’s owed, and a similar amount – 34% – donate to charities just to be polite.

The research also found 42% of Brits feel unable to say “no” to the extra spend in certain social situations, with 18 to 24 year-olds a quarter more likely than those over 55 to feel the need to pay more – 50% compared with 27%.

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People from Cardiff are the most likely to maintain the typically British behaviour of spending to avoid coming across as impolite, a habit which costs them about £423 a year.

Bristol (£402), Plymouth (£398), London (£379) and Liverpool (£275) follow closely behind.

Those in Cardiff drop almost three times the amount of cash Geordies do. Those in Newcastle spend the least extra out of politeness – just £147.

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Brits feel their friends often avoid paying their fair share in social situations, with tactics including not carrying cash (16%) or leaving social events before it is their turn to buy a round of drinks (24%).

But despite 63% people taking issue with friends or family not paying their fair share, the majority bite their tongue and just pay the extra. Just 6% have fallen out over money-related issues.

However, there is a limit to generosity when it comes to covering for a friend’s spending. The average Brit will happily forget about money owed to them until the debt reaches £14. It’s at this point they consider asking for their money back.