A collage of millennial luxuries like takeaway coffee, Netflix and Easyjet flights
All photos: Nicoletta Belardinelli 

How Many ‘Luxuries’ Would You Have to Give Up to Buy a House?

We worked out that you'd have to sacrifice Netflix and Spotify for over a thousand years just to afford a deposit in London.

How many luxuries would you give up to buy a house in the UK? One? Two? A dozen? If right-wing commentators and wayward Location, Location, Location presenter Kirstie Allsopp is to be believed, all young people have to do is stop splurging on gym membership and flat whites in order to stump up the cash for your own place.

But it turns out the maths just doesn’t add up. VICE have taken a list of seven small, everyday pleasures – including Tesco Meal Deals, Spotify and Netflix subscriptions – and worked out how many years you’d have to give them up for to afford the average house deposit in your region. In many cases, you would have to give up decades – even a century or three – worth of these so-called luxuries to save enough money for your own place.


Home ownership in the UK has never felt so out of reach for so many. But it’s a problem that afflicts younger generations in particular, with new research from Halifax revealing that the average age of a house buyer is now above 30 in every single part of the country. In 1989, just over half of people aged 25 to 34 owned their own home. By 2019, it had almost halved to 28 percent. And though 2021 brought record growth in the number of first-time homeowners, it also delivered with it a staggering new average house price of £264,140.

London – where the housing crisis is particularly acute, thanks to a combination of soaring rent and a lack of affordable homes – is by far the most expensive place to put down a deposit. But, as these figures show, the problem isn’t just confined to the capital. The next time your smug homeowning relatives tell you that all you need to do to buy your own place is stop splashing out on little things, feel free to show them these graphs.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up Tesco Meal Deals to save for a house deposit

Tesco Meal Deal, £3.50

Is there anything more banal yet pleasurable than nipping out to Tesco at work and getting a Meal Deal? There’s just something about pondering over crisp choice and treating yourself to a fizzy drink that just screams: “Self-care, but make it frugal!”

In February, the supermarket announced that its popular lunch bundle was increasing from £3 to £3.50 – much to the fury of UK customers, who purchase this deal an average of twice a week.


Still, even if you’re going to boycott Tesco over the price hike, you would still save nowhere near enough to put money down on a deposit. With the exception of the north east and Northern Ireland, you’d have to give up meal deals for over 90 years to afford a place in the UK.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up Dominos takeaway to save for a house deposit

Domino’s 13.5” Cheese and Tomato Pizza, £18.99

Say you’re feeling hungry one night and there’s nothing in the fridge. But you’re feeling thrifty and virtuous, so rather than order off the boujee sourdough place on Deliveroo or UberEats, you and your housemates swap your weekly takeaway for a relatively cheap 13.5 inch cheese and tomato pizza from Domino’s.

Unfortunately, your thriftiness will not be rewarded by the UK housing market. In the north east, where the average house price is lowest, you’d still have to give this treat up for 26.9 years to get a deposit together. In London, you’d have to quit your weekly takeaway order for 125.5 years.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up Starbucks latte to save for a house deposit

Starbucks Caffe Latte, £2.85

How many takeaway coffees does a millennial have to give up to buy a house? If you’re calculating it based on a Starbucks venti latte purchased three times a week, the answer is: decades, even centuries. You could scrape together the deposit in the north east in just under 60 years, but it would take you 278.7 years of giving up Starbucks to even put money down on a place in London.

The south east, the south west and the east of England don’t fare much better, either – you would have to give up your thrice-weekly takeaway cup for 134 years minimum to get a place in those three regions.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up Easyjet flights to save for a house deposit

Easyjet Flights, £52.83 on average

As Kirstie Allsopp puts it: “When I bought my first property, going abroad, the EasyJet, coffee, gym, Netflix lifestyle didn't exist.” If only it were that simple, Kirstie!

The average Brit takes around two holidays abroad a year, but giving up Easyjet flights doesn’t make a dent in a house deposit anywhere in the UK. In London, you’d have to give up the budget air carrier – where tickets come in at an average of £52.83 – for over 1,200 years to get on the housing ladder.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up PureGym membership to save for a house deposit

PureGym Membership, £12.99/month

This chain of budget gyms is one of the more affordable and widely available places to work out in the UK, clocking in at £12.99 a month for membership. But even if you were to swap the bench press and treadmill for home workouts, you’d still be waiting 170.6 years – minimum – to be able to get your own place.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up Netflix to save for a house deposit

Netflix Subscription, £9.99/month

It’ll cost you just about £120 to sign up to Netflix for a year, which is still cheaper than the annual BBC licence fee of £159. Still, giving up Netflix will get you nowhere near a house deposit anywhere in the UK. In London, you’d actually have to give up Netflix for 1,033.6 years to save enough money for a place in the capital – which is more than enough time to watch every single thing on the streaming platform.

Map of UK showing how many years of giving up Spotify to save for a house deposit

Spotify Premium Subscription, £9.99/month

That’s Netflix done – what about Spotify? It costs the same amount to subscribe to its premium service, but unlike Netflix, you can use its services for free as long as you’re willing to put up with ads. But putting up with the annoyance of mattress ads interrupting your tenth listen of Kim Petras’s “Coconuts” won’t get you very far on the housing ladder. You’d have to give up ad-free audio for hundreds of years to save enough for a deposit for anywhere in the UK.

@nathanbickerton / @misszing