UK Living Costs: 20 Unexpectedly Expensive Items

Over the last couple of years we’ve heard about the cost of living crisis and rates of inflation. What does that actually look like in real life though? Here’s a list of 20 products and services that were once reasonably priced, but now are surprisingly expensive.

1. Takeaway Food

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Whilst they’ve never been cheap, prices for takeaway meals have increased significantly over the last couple of years. The rate of food inflation is around 7% at present, but the average increase in price at your favourite takeaway has been around 20% over the last 12 months.

2. Cinema Tickets

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One of the most surprising jumps in price has been found down at your local cinema. The average adult peak-time cinema ticket is now almost £15, with fees up to £25 not uncommon for IMAX. Throw in popcorn, drinks and sweets and a movie trip for a family could set you back £100.

3. Alcoholic Drinks

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The latest complete set of data (from 2023) shows that the average cost of a pint of beer in the UK was £4.21, with the average London pint costing £5.90. The average price for the rest of the world is £2.60. No wonder so many pubs are closing – wallets aren’t unlimited. 

4. Train Tickets

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Anyone who has spent any time in the UK will know that our trains are a source of national despair. Delays, strikes and capacity all cause problems. What makes these issues feel worse is the price we have to pay. Research shows we have some of the highest rail fares in Europe, yet some of the worst services.

5. Parking Prices

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Many commuters are faced with a dilemma. Do they pay a lot of money for unreliable train service, or drive to work and pay for parking? Not all offices have free parking, forcing workers to pay. In some cities, this can be between £8 and £40+ per day depending on where you park. 

6. Eating Out

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Faced with rising costs, restaurants have been forced to increase prices. Recent research shows that the average per-person cost of an independent restaurant meal (three courses) is now £53. This is up from £25 in 2021.

7. TV Packages

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Whilst there are deals to be had, there’s no denying that TV packages are increasing in price. The TV companies are increasing prices above the rate of inflation, so the average bill has increased by around £60 per year since 2024.

8. Gig Tickets

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Outside of the US, the UK has some of the highest gig ticket prices in the world. Richard Davies, founder of Twickets said average ticket price had gone from “around £50 before the pandemic, to £65 in 2023”. He added… “It’s quite possible it could go above £100.”

9. Fuel

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Whilst there are a few more expensive countries to fill up your car, the UK has some of the most expensive fuel in the world. According to research, UK fuel prices are around around 42% higher than the global average. 

10. Pay Per View Sports

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If you want to watch pay-per-view sports such as UFC or boxing, you’re going to have to dig deeper into your wallet than you might expect. The average PPV price is now around £25, with some events reaching nearly £30. This is on top of your usual subscription price.

11. Clothing

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UK clothing prices have risen dramatically – womenswear prices have increased 37% over the last five years, and menswear has gone up by 25%. Some of this is purely driven by retailers charging more, responding to demand. Price increases have mostly outstripped inflation. 

12. Hair Cut and Treatments

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The average price of a gents barber appointment is now £15, up from £10 before the pandemic. Women are paying an average of £45 – more if you add colour, blow drying and additional treatments. In London these prices can more than double. Looking good costs money!

13. Car Insurance

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Research from a price comparison website said that the average UK car insurance premium is now over £1000 per year. This has risen by around 50% over the last year, hitting a 40 year high. More pressure on motorist wallets.

14. Dogs

If you want to buy a purebred dog in the UK, you can now expect to pay up to £3000 (even more in exceptional circumstances). The cost of ownership doesn’t stop there though – insurances, grooming, feeding and vet bills add up to an average of £2000 per year.

15. Domestic Holidays

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If you prefer to holiday at home rather than abroad, be prepared to pay a premium. A week in a Cornish holiday cottage will cost you an average of £1500 in summer. This is before you’ve bought any food or drink, booked any excursions or even travelled down there!

16. Razor Blades

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One of the sharpest price increases over the last few years has been in razor blades. It will now cost you around £13 for 4 blades in most supermarkets. That’s a lot of money to keep unwanted hair at bay!

17. Taxi Rides

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If you want to get anywhere by taxi in the UK, you can expect to pay up to £5 per mile – more if it’s after midnight. There’s also a starting fare – the price you pay before you’ve even started your journey. 

18. University Education

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If you head to university in England, you’ll pay £9,250 per year in tuition fees. You’ll pay £9,000 if you study in Wales. Factor in study books, accommodation, fees and the like and it adds up to a lot of money. Research also shows the increased salary graduates benefit from is reducing.

19. Childcare

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The average cost to put your child into a nursery full-time is £55.39 a day. This equates to £1,106.52 a month – or around 50% of the take-home pay of a UK worker on an average salary. Some parents even give up work to save this cost. The 30 hours of free childcare per week only starts when the child reaches 3. 

20. Takeaway Coffee

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You’d think a drink containing 90% water would be pretty cheap, but the average price of a takeaway coffee in the UK is now £3.40. That price puts us in the top 10 of average takeaway coffee prices in the world. A takeaway coffee in the UK is around 40% more expensive on average than in the US.

Inflation Easing Might Help

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Life is expensive right now, but hopefully falling inflation and an improvement in global supply chains will reduce the costs we Brits face in future.

The post UK Living Costs: 20 Unexpectedly Expensive Items first appeared on LoveLists.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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