Why our ‘want it now’ attitude is getting the UK’s spending out of control

Brits’ need for instant gratification is starting to affect their finances and long-term planning. Diana Bocco explores ways to beat the urge to spend.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Woman looking sideways at credit card

Source: Getty images

A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults between the ages of 18 and 55 shows Brits are short in patience for a lot of things. This includes everything from being put on hold to waiting for an online delivery.

According to the research by HSBC UK, 49% of Brits confess to living with a ‘want it now’ attitude. Two in five also admit to regularly feeling impatient in life because of it.

5 Stocks For Trying To Build Wealth After 50

One notable billionaire made 99% of his current wealth after his 50th birthday. And here at The Motley Fool, we believe it is NEVER too late to start trying to build your fortune in the stock market. Our expert Motley Fool analyst team have shortlisted 5 companies that they believe could be a great fit for investors aged 50+ trying to build long-term, diversified portfolios.

Click here to claim your free copy now!

And while some of the top reasons for impatience are everyday occurrences, it turns out that Brits are also missing out financially because of it. This is partly a result of the need for instant gratification, which is affecting not only saving but also investing possibilities.

Spending for convenience impacts long-term finances

Perhaps the clearest indicator of an ‘I want it now’ attitude is Brits’ willingness to spend more money to get what they want quicker. In fact, four in 10 people pay more for faster shipping, same-day delivery or express services. If they were willing to wait – sometimes just a day longer – they could end up making significant savings each year.

The need for instant gratification is affecting Brits’ ability to save for big-ticket items such as a house or car purchase. For many, it’s also having an impact on saving for retirement.

According to online lender Aldermore, half of Brits don’t have enough money saved up to get them through an emergency and are less than one month away from serious financial trouble. 

Brits are choosing instant gratification over investing

Brits turned their focus to savings during lockdowns. While those savings could’ve been a good starting point for an emergency fund, many are spending those savings now that things are reopening.

According to the survey, 38% of those asked never considered investing their savings. And 19% wouldn’t bother because it takes too long to see a return. Of the Brits turning to investing, 32% chose options that they thought would produce a faster return. These included classic cars, memorabilia, instruments and even vintage stamps.

How to focus on your financial future instead

It’s harder to focus on long-term goals because there’s no instant gratification attached. In an ‘I want it now’ culture, saving for retirement falls way down the list of rewarding things to do with your money. Retraining your brain is key to helping you make better money choices, especially when they require self-control.

  • Go over your bank and credit card statements to see how much money you spent on satisfying your need for instant gratification over the past month. Add up the numbers.
  • Split that amount in two. Going forward, allow yourself half of that money for ‘want it now’ rewards – whether that means ordering a takeaway, paying for express shipping or buying that book you’re likely not going to read anytime soon. Then find a better financial purpose for the other half. That could be investing the money, putting it into an ISA or paying off debt.
  • Find ways to resist temptation. You could keep a list of activities or places to visit locally instead of shopping to beat boredom. Having a plan in place will make it easier to fight the urge to spend.
  • Make a list of your goals and review them often. Do you want to take an expensive vacation overseas in a couple of years? Or buy a home five years down the line? Reminding yourself of those goals can help curb meaningless instant gratification expenses.

Is this little-known company the next ‘Monster’ IPO?

Right now, this ‘screaming BUY’ stock is trading at a steep discount from its IPO price, but it looks like the sky is the limit in the years ahead.

Because this North American company is the clear leader in its field which is estimated to be worth US$261 BILLION by 2025.

The Motley Fool UK analyst team has just published a comprehensive report that shows you exactly why we believe it has so much upside potential.

But I warn you, you’ll need to act quickly, given how fast this ‘Monster IPO’ is already moving.

Click here to see how you can get a copy of this report for yourself today

More on Personal Finance

Note paper with question mark on orange background
Personal Finance

Should you invest your ISA in a model portfolio?

Which model ISA portfolios offer both high performance and low fees? Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and AJ Bell go under…

Read more »

Economic Uncertainty Ahead Sign With Stormy Background
Personal Finance

Is it time to exit emerging markets investments?

Investors may well be sitting on losses from emerging markets funds. Is it worth keeping the faith for a sustained…

Read more »

Personal Finance

Share trading? Three shares with turnaround potential

Share trading has been difficult in 2022, but which companies have turnaround potential? Jo Groves takes a closer look at…

Read more »

Man using credit card and smartphone for purchasing goods online.
Personal Finance

Revealed! Why Gen Z may be the savviest generation when it comes to credit cards

New research reveals that Gen Z may be the most astute when it comes to credit cards. But why? And…

Read more »

Environmental technology concept.
Personal Finance

The 10 best-performing sectors for ISA investors

The best-performing sectors over the past year invested in real assets such as infrastructure, but is this trend set to…

Read more »

Road sign warning of a risk ahead
Personal Finance

Recession risk ‘on the rise’: is it time for investors to worry?

A major global bank has suggested the risk of a recession in the UK is 'on the rise'. So, should…

Read more »

pensive bearded business man sitting on chair looking out of the window
Personal Finance

1 in 4 cutting back on investments amid cost of living crisis

New research shows one in four investors have cut back on their investing contributions to cope with the rising cost…

Read more »

Image of person checking their shares portfolio on mobile phone and computer
Personal Finance

The 10 most popular stocks among UK investors so far this year

As the new tax year kicks off, here's a look at some of the most popular stocks among UK investors…

Read more »