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How much do you spend a month on being kind to others? Perhaps you like to treat your friends to a cup of coffee every now and again, or offer family members a lift without expecting them to contribute to the petrol. Or maybe you regularly give to charity.

These are all acts of kindness we don’t expect to be reciprocated, and yet many of us fork out hundreds of pounds every year on them.

The cost of kindness

New research* compiled on behalf of thinkmoney reveals that nearly half of UK adults spend between £10 and £50 every month on treats and gifts – not including birthday and Christmas presents – for their family and friends. This includes surprising them with a bunch of flowers, treating them to a drink at the bar or even to a meal out.

Over the course of a year this generosity adds up to as much as £600, which is three-quarters of the average monthly rent in the UK – although many would argue that it’s a price worth paying.

Generous strangers

These kind acts are not always directed towards loved ones though; many people in the UK also regularly give to charity. Nearly a quarter of Brits donate between £10 and £50 a month to charitable causes – although this is half the number of people who splash out on treating their family and friends.

And of course, charity and gifts for people they know are not the only ways in which people spend their hard-earned cash on being kind. Three out of four respondents revealed they give away money every month to things like whip-rounds in the office, putting spare change in a collection box or giving money to someone who’s homeless.

Money well spent

However much their generosity ends up costing them each month, many may argue that it’s worth it to put a smile on someone’s face. Knowing that we’ve made someone’s day better – even if it’s a total stranger as a result of a charity donation – can be a feeling that’s hard to beat.

If you have an account with thinkmoney, you can ask for any direct debits you have set up to donate to charity to be included in the commitments that are always budgeted for. This means that the cash you need to cover these – along with your bills and rent or mortgage – will be ring-fenced each month from your income so you know it will be sorted.

Meanwhile, if you’re the type of person who regularly splashes the cash on your friends and family, you can keep track of what you’re spending using your Online Banking. That way, you know that an act of generosity isn’t going to leave you out of pocket.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 6th June and 16th June 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.

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