Workaholic Britain is turning into the `grab and go' society

FAMILIES ARE spending more than ever before on "convenience living" to cope with the demands of modern life, according to a survey published yesterday.

Three-quarters of working parents said that lack of time forced them to pay somebody else to do their cleaning, ironing, cooking or DIY, and nearly half were too busy to spend quality time with family or friends.

Experts believe that the nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by NOP, the polling organisation, confirms that the "Grab and Go" society is here to stay with families paying financially and emotionally to balance the pressures of work and home.

"Today's working families are richer in material terms then their counterparts of just 30 years ago but are becoming increasingly time poor. It seems that we're all working a lot harder just to stand still and we have become so busy that we have to spend more and more money to try to keep our households running smoothly," said Bridget Walsh, the group marketing manager of Abbey National, who commissioned the research.

Nearly three-quarters of the families said they bought take-away food at least once a week because they could not find the time to cook.

People in London, with or without children, were the most likely to buy take-aways, 49 per cent overall, followed by those in Yorkshire at 45 per cent and Scotland at 43 per cent. Nearly two-thirds of people who worked full-time, 63 per cent, found it difficult to find time to visit the supermarket and shopped instead at local convenience stores, adding more than pounds 20 a week to their food bill.

The increasing pace of life has made it more difficult for nearly 70 per cent of the population to manage their time. The survey showed that 37 per cent of those questioned had forgotten an important anniversary or birthday in the last 12 months. People with children found that they were too busy to go to the cinema, 49 per cent, to organise holidays, 36 per cent, or do the gardening, 37 per cent.

However, it is not just household chores that can be farmed out to other people. For an annual fee of pounds 500 organisations such as TEN, Time Energy Network, will do just about anything for you.

"Time is a luxury," said Alex Cheatle, founder of TEN. "We do lots of birthdays, buying cards and presents and reminding people of anniversaries."

When it came to planning their finances, a third of families with children said they did not have sufficient time to manage their day-to-day finances, compared with 23 per cent of households without children.

"Friends, hobbies and relaxation are all increasingly sidelined in the relentless pursuit of wealth and the need to be super-parents," the report concluded.

`I see so little of them'

RUTH AND Hugh Deans live with their two children, Alice, three, and Harry, seven months, in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Beckenham, Kent. They have a combined annual salary of between pounds 45,000 and pounds 50,000.

Hugh, a landscape gardener, works part-time.

Ruth, 34, is a marketing consultant in London. She works 12-hour days, getting up at 6.45am and commuting for an hour each way to work. "Time is so precious," she said. "At the weekends we always do something special together as a family because I see so little of them in the week."

The couple eat take-outs at least twice a week. "We must spend about pounds 30 a week on take-aways," she said. They pay a cleaner and someone to do the ironing. The family's clothes are bought by mail order.

`We see them all the time'

ANDREW JAMES and Sophie Chalmers live in a six- bedroom converted mill in Wales, with 20 acres, with their three children. They have a combined income of pounds 30,000. Eight years ago the couple left their well- paid jobs, and moved out of London.

They now run a magazine called Better Business working at home. They still have a nanny but overall spend much less on maintaining a high-octane lifestyle. "We spend much less on clothes, eating out and new cars. We no longer have to spend money to compensate for having a stressful life," said Andrew.

The couple have two holidays a year, one somewhere warm without the children. "We don't have to spend every minute with the children because we see them all the time," said Andrew.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas