Would you swap your takeaway habit for an iPad?

The cost of takeaways
The cost of takeaways

A new study has revealed that Chinese cuisine is our favourite type of takeaway - followed by curries and pizzas. It's not surprising, after-all, each cuisine offers an enormous number of crowd-pleasers. However, Paymentsense, who were behind the study, also revealed just how much we spend per order, and our takeaway habit is alarmingly expensive.

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The top ten takeaways:
1. Chinese
2. Indian
3. Pizza
4. Fish and chips
5. English
6. Italian
7. Kebabs or burgers
8. Thai
9. Mexican
10. Turkish

The priciest takeaways are Mexican dishes - costing an average of £11.90 per person. This was followed by Turkish at £10.79 and Thai at £10.61. In total, six of the top ten takeaways cost more than £10 per person.

Most expensive takeaways
Mexican £11.90
Turkish £10.79
Thai £10.62
Pizza £10.38
Indian £10.30
Italian £10.26

The amount we spend is rising across most of the UK. Between January last year and the same time this year, it was up an average of 9%. The biggest rises were in Northern Ireland, where people spent 40% more, the North East where they spent 36% more and Scotland where they spent 20% more. Only in the South West did the takeaway spend fall.

The average amount spent on a takeaway is £9.75. A study a few years ago for the National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health found that one in five people have a takeaway at least once a week. Meanwhile, a separate study for Vouchercodes.co.uk found that young men living in cities eat an average of 151 takeaways a year, while young women eat 126.

What a waste

The sheer calorific content of most takeaways means this level of intake is going to cost you dear in health terms. However, the monetary cost is pretty eye-watering too.

If you were to eat one takeaway a week (and pay the average for it), that's £507 each a year on takeaways. If you were to eat 126 a year, that would come to £1,228.50. And saving this cash is not hard.

Take a Chinese takeaway - which costs an average of £9.86 per person, per takeaway. If you had one a week, it would cost £513.

Even if you were to swap the takeaway for a ready meal, you could save substantially. Waitrose, for example, has a takeaway meal bag for two - including egg fried rice, chicken chow mein, beef in black bean sauce and sweet and sour chicken with 6 vegetable spring rolls for £10. One a week would set you back £260 each.

If you can chuck a few things in a wok, you could get ready-to-eat noodles, pre-prepared stir fry veg, a sweet chilli sauce, and chicken for £4.50 a head (from Waitrose), or £234 a year. If you were prepared to cook from scratch, shop around, and buy basics ranges, you can easily bring this down to £2 a head - costing £104 a year. That's a saving of £403 a year - without cutting back on the amount of Chinese food you eat.

For a family, the savings mount quickly and impressively. A family of four hungry people can therefore save more than £1,500 a year - which could mean new iPads every year or a family holiday every couple of years. Alternatively you could save up for a decade and splash out on a brand new Fiat 500 - or a Mini.

But what do you think? Is the temptation of £1,500 a year enough to wean you off takeaways - or would it take much more than that?