From Punting to Prostitutes

The UK & Ireland’s Cost Obsessions Revealed

If ‘you are what you Google’, what do popular searches reveal about the things people really want to spend their money on in the UK and Ireland?

Forget the price of a loaf of bread or how much you have to pay for a pint of milk, we’ve uncovered the real cost-of-living concerns of people from Exeter to Edinburgh.

The method was simple. By typing ‘how much does * cost’, ‘how much do * cost’ or a similar price enquiry for each location, we put together a list of the predictions that filled the blank. Google’s autocomplete feature is based on an algorithm reflecting, among other factors, the number of times a term has been searched for in the past.

Google search autocomplete

Consuming passions: Uncovering cost obsessions in the North

Alongside typical outgoings like ‘parking’ and ‘council tax’, the results provided an amusing and somewhat surprising overview of the UK’s cost obsessions.

Cosmetic procedures are a common Google trend across the UK, with liposuction popular in Perthshire and Botox in Essex, Norwich, Nottingham and Glasgow. In Liverpool, locals appear to have swapped over-plucked Scouse Brows for self-help with Hypnotherapy ranking high.

UK cost obsessions map

Mapping our mores: There’s more to life in the UK than house prices and the cost of milk

Elsewhere, beer in Edinburgh and Cardiff and the cost of a night out in Newcastle are a firm priority. Some of the results come as no surprise, like punting in Oxford and food in London. Yet, others break their clichés entirely. Tobogganing in Ipswich, anyone?

Northern frights

More sinister prompts include weed in Manchester, prostitutes in Sheffield and funerals in Galway. But perhaps most controversial was the result of abortion in Belfast, where the procedure is currently illegal.

Luckily, not every result read like a checklist for a CSI script. Love is in the air with the cost of a marriage licence skyrocketing in multiple locations. Plus, there are plenty of light-hearted searches, such as a dropped kerb in Birmingham and ice skating in Grimsby.

After all, who would have thought that Britain was a nation of bowling enthusiasts?

What are people searching for near you?

Explore the full list of the UK’s cost obsessions – click the table headers to sort the columns.

City / Town Obsession
Aberdeen Personal trainer
Aylesbury Swimming
Ayr Skip hire
Bangor Cinema
Bangor Swimming
Basingstoke Rent a shop
Belfast Abortion
Beverley Council tax
Birmingham Dropped kerb
Bournemouth Beach hut
Bridgend To get married
Brighton Season ticket
Caerphilly Castle entry
Cambridge Punting
Canterbury Get married
Cardiff Pint of beer
Carlisle Speed awareness course
Chelmsford Ice skating
Chester Zoo
Chichester Bus ticket
Colwyn Bay Swimming
Cork Crèche
Cupar Council rent
Deeside Go Karting
Derry Bus to Belfast
Donegal Diesel
Dublin Balayage Hair
Dundee Childminder
Durham Marriage
Edinburgh Pint of beer
Elgin Water
Exeter Bowling
Galway Funeral
Glasgow Botox
Gloucester Planning permission
Grimsby Ice skating
Haddington Petrol to Edinburgh
Hereford Bus ticket
Holyhead Ferry
Hull IVF
Inverness Rollerbowl
Ipswich Tobogganing
Isle of Wight Ferry
Kilkenny Alcohol
Leicester Skip hire
Limerick Driving lessons
Lisburn Laser quest
Liverpool Hypnotherapy
London Food
Manchester Weed
Margate Dreamland
Middlesbrough Season Ticket
Morpeth Parking
Newcastle Night out
Newport Council tax
Northampton Bowling
Norwich Botox
Nottingham Botox
Oakham School
Orkney Kirkwall
Oxford Punting
Perth Liposuction
Plymouth IVF
Renfrew Gym membership
Rothesay Ferry ticket
Salisbury To get married
Scunthorpe CBT Test
Sheffield Prostitute
Skegness Laser Quest
St Albans Land
St David’s Parking
Stirling To get married
Stonehaven Petrol to Aberdeen
Swansea Bowling
Taunton Council tax
Torquay Quasar
Truro Cinema
Warwick Castle
Woking Rent
York Waterworld

How does your hometown match up? Let us know. Tweet us @TotallyMoney with #UKCostObsessions

Embed </>