More than 8 million UK adults have already had to cancel outgoings amid the rising cost of living

  • Since January 2022, one in six (16%) adults have had to give up or cancel certain outgoings in order to counter the rising cost of living
  • Well over half (57%) say that whilst they haven’t had to give anything up yet, they will need to soon
  • Despite this, Brits say they would never give up their car (36%), phone contract (31%) or holidays/day trips (17%) to save money


More than eight million UK adults have already had to give up or cancel certain outgoings in order to counter the rising cost of living, according to new research from MetLife UK. A further 57% of Brits say that while they haven’t had to make difficult choices and cut back their outgoings yet, they suspect they will need to do so in the future. 

Wider factors have led to a cost-of-living crisis which is having a significant impact on Brits’ personal finances, forcing tough decisions to be made already and may lead to more. Two in five (40%) will give up everyday perks such as eating lunch out and buying coffees to prioritise paying for necessities. Luxury items such as clothing and home furnishings (37%) as well as holidays and day trips (34%) topped the list for consumers looking to cutback and cancel outgoings.  

We are also seeing a trend of outgoings that were popular during the Covid-19 pandemic falling out of favour where UK adults are looking to make cutbacks in order to make ends meet. For example, entertainment subscriptions (28%), and food subscription services (12%) are two services that Brits admit they would now put on the back burner in place of essentials. 

However, despite increasing pressure on our household finances there are still a number of goods and services that consumers will be holding on to. More than a third (36%) said they wouldn’t be willing to give up a car, 31% said they will be keeping their phone contracts and nearly one in five (17%) are refusing to cut back on holidays and day trips in order to save money – a mixed view amongst respondents. A further one in 10 (10%) said there isn’t anything they would be willing to give up. 

Moving away from everyday perks, private health insurance and income/individual protection policies were cited by one in 20 (5%) Brits as something they wouldn’t be willing to cut back on. Life insurance came out even higher on the list with 15% of adults stating that they had no plans to stop paying for their policy. 

Rich Horner, Head of Individual Protection at MetLife UK, comments: “It’s a particularly difficult time for consumers up and down the country, with many seeing their personal finances severely under pressure. Highest inflation in 30 years, rising energy prices, fuel bills and food costs are all stopping our money from going further each month. Finding the funds to pay for daily essentials has already pushed Brits to weigh up their outgoings and think about where they can cut back. While some have already cutback wherever they can, even more of us are braced to do so in the months ahead. 

“Daily perks such as coffees, self-care such as hair appointments and socialising were found to be some of the first things to go when trying to save money. While they shouldn’t be prioritised at a difficult time financially, small treats can have a positive impact on our wellbeing and give us all something to look forward to amidst what can feel like a very gloomy time.

“It’s positive to see that consumers remain committed to holding life insurance and income protection policies as this can reap much greater rewards with minimal upfront costs. Whilst not a tangible product, income protection gives you the peace of mind that should the worst happen your income is protected. Income protection is also crucial for workers, particularly those who are self-employed, who may need to take time off work due to an accident or illness. While paying monthly for these products may feel like a stretch at the time, policyholders can be comfortable in the knowledge that they have a back-up plan in place for when they need it most.”

Brits would give up if they had to make cutback to pay for necessities

Brits wouldn’t give up in order to save money

Everyday perks (e.g. eating lunch out, coffee, general treats) 40% A car 36%
Luxury items (e.g. household goods, home furnishings, clothing etc) 37% Phone Contract 31%
Holidays/day trips 34% Holidays/day trips 17%
Socialising 32% Life Insurance 15%
Entertainment Subscriptions 28% Entertainment Subscriptions (e.g. Netflix) 15%
Self-care (e.g. haircut, beauty treatments) 24% Socialising 12%
Gym Membership 17% Self-care (e.g. haircut, beauty treatments) 11%
Food subscription services 12% Everyday perks (e.g. eating lunch out, coffee, general treats) 10%
Season ticket to sports team 9% Luxury items (e.g. household goods, home furnishings, clothing etc) 9%
A Car 8% Gym Membership 7%
Phone Contract 7% Income/Individual Protection 5%
Travel Ticket (e.g. season pass) 6% Private Health Insurance 5%
Life Insurance 5% Food subscription services (e.g. HelloFresh) 5%
Private Health Insurance 5% Season ticket to sports team 5%
Private School Fee 4% Travel Ticket (e.g. season pass) 4%
Income/Individual Protection 4% Private school fees 3%

*UK population as of mid-2020 was 67,081,234 with an adult population of 52,890,044. 16% of 52,890,044 is equivalent to 8,426,407.04 UK adults. For the purpose of the headline this figure is referred to as 8.4 million. 

MetLife UK commissioned Censuswide to survey 3,000 UK consumers, to understand their current and expected financial situation. The research was carried out between 24th and 27th March 2022.