Northern Ireland

ONS family spending: How NI people spend their money

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People in Northern Ireland spend the most money in the UK on looking good, according to a government survey of weekly spending habits.

The Office for National Statistics family spending report, published on Tuesday, analyses how households in 13 regions across the UK spent their money over a three-year period.

About 1,200 people in Northern Ireland were surveyed between 2011 and 2013.

While some of the figures might be expected, it also came up with some surprising details.

Here is a breakdown of some of the areas studied in its report.

Keeping up appearances

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Northern Ireland was the highest spending region on clothing and footwear, spending over 50% more than the UK average.

While the UK average weekly spend over the three-year period was £22.60, the Northern Ireland figure was £35.

Both men and women in Northern Ireland were the highest spenders out of any region.

Men spent £9 a week on outer garments - almost double the UK average of £4.60 - while women also topped the table by spending £10.90 a week, £3 above the UK average.

More money was spent on children's clothes in Northern Ireland than the other 12 regions as well.

When it comes to overall personal care including toiletries and hairdressing, people in Northern Ireland were the biggest spenders in the category - the £15.30 weekly spend was well above the UK average of £11.

Northern Ireland spent the most - £4.90 a week - on hairdressing and beauty treatments. The UK average was £3.40.

The £3.20 weekly average spend on toiletries and soap was well above the UK average of £2.40, while the £5.60 spend on hair products, cosmetics and electronic personal appliances was well above the overall average of £3.70.

Cigarettes and alcohol

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In the category of "alcohol, tobacco and narcotics", Northern Ireland people's £15.30 weekly spend was the overall highest and well above the £12.20 UK average.

The £6.60 average spend on cigarettes was well above the overall UK figure of £3.80, with only Scotland's £6 average coming close.

However, in terms of alcohol bought in off-licences, Northern Ireland's £7.90 figure was only slightly higher than the £7.60 UK average.

While Northern Ireland's £2.20 weekly spend on beer and cider was 20p higher than the UK average, the money spent on wines and fortified wines was 60p lower than the £4 UK figure.

Northern Ireland was second to Scotland on money spent on spirits, and the £2.10 weekly figure was well above the £1.50 UK average.

Eating out

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When it came to money spent on alcohol in bars and restaurants, Northern Ireland's £10 total was the highest in the UK and well above the £7.30 average.

Overall, the money spent eating and drinking in cafes, restaurants and hotels was well above the £40.20 UK average - Northern Ireland's £47.10 figure was second only to London.

Takeaway food to eat at home is also the most popular in Northern Ireland, with £7.20 a week going towards carryout meals - £3 higher than the average.

Eating at home

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Overall, Northern Ireland's weekly bill of £62.60 for food and drink at home was second only to the south east of England.

The £6.10 spend on bread, rice and cereals was the highest in the UK, while its sweet tooth was evident in the £4.30 weekly expenditure on buns, cakes and biscuits - also the biggest figure out of the 13 regions.

Northern Ireland spends the most on potatoes - £1.40 compared to the UK average of 90p - but its £3.60 spend on fresh vegetables was well below the £4.20 overall UK figure. Money spent on fruit was 10p above the £3.20 UK average.

When it comes to meat, Northern Ireland families spend well above the average on beef - £3.20 compared to £1.80.

Northern Ireland households also spend the most on poultry products - the £2.80 a week figure is 50p higher than the UK average - while the £1.50 spent on bacon and ham is 50p more than the overall average.

While the spend on pork is 10p higher than the 70p UK average, people spend 30p a week less on lamb in Northern Ireland than the overall average of 70p.

Fuel and transport

In the category 'housing, fuel and power', Northern Ireland families' £56.50 spend is well below the £68.50 UK average.

However, when it comes to fuel bills, the £34.40 figure for electricity, gas and other fuels is substantially higher than the £23.90 UK average.

Other spending

Northern Ireland households seem to have the greatest appetite for news - the £2.30 weekly spend is the highest out of any region, and well above the UK average of £1.70.

In contrast, the 90p average spent on books was the joint second lowest, and 30p below the overall UK figure.

It seems that Northern Ireland people are the most enthusiastic gamblers, spending £4.40 a week on bets compared to a UK average of £2.80.

However, they are not the most successful punters: a section called 'windfall receipts from gambling, etc' shows an average income of £1.70 a week, which is still 40p higher than the UK average.

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