Although money can’t buy you friends, it certainly costs to keep them. O2 research released today totals the cost of friendship for the average Brit at £482.13 every year. So much for special rates for mates: O2 has discovered that friends’ birthdays, weddings, parties and get-togethers all contribute to making friendship a pricey business. When it comes to birthdays, while the average person spends £54.20 on presents for friends, those that celebrated in style by going to parties spent over £350 helping their friends mark another year. Not everyone’s friends live locally, with one in ten Brits forking out over £200 in travel before they’ve even seen them. If you want to see your friends tie the knot best to start saving now: wedding guests last year spent an average of £250 on their friends’ big day with nearly 5% shelling out in excess of £1,000. And if you want to go to the hen or stag party, be prepared to spend an average of £175. To help reduce the cost of friendship, O2 is launching Your O2 Numbers, which offers Pay&Go customers any mix of 1,000 minutes or texts a month to ten of your best O2 friends, all for just £5. Your O2 Numbers will allow you to choose ten O2 numbers to call at a friendly, flexible and affordable cost. O2 will even advise you on which numbers to choose, based on your recent call records, making life even easier. With the research revealing that one in five people (19%) spend between one and two hours on the phone to friends every week, and another one in five chatting for over two hours on a weekly basis, the new offer from O2 will be a welcome reward for the most loyal of friends. Further O2 findings include: · Dubliners are far more generous then Glaswegians: Glaswegians spend an average of £11 on friends at Christmas compared to £20 in Dublin · The Irish are more generous than the English, spending twice as much (£21.25) as those in Plymouth (£11.72) on friends’ birthdays · Teenagers are the most giving group, spending a staggering (£1,140.47) each year on friendship · Women spend considerably less than men on travelling to see their friends (£45.95 a year compared to £60.20), compensating with more time spent on the phone · 75% of men wouldn’t think twice about repeatedly spending over £100 on a pre-wedding booze cruise Sally Cowdry, O2 UK marketing director commented: “Far beyond the mounting cost of birthday and Christmas presents, people are having to dig deep as friends choose exotic locations for weddings and stag weekends. Increasing transport links across the country mean it is now easier, but not necessarily cheaper, to visit long-distance friends. With schedules becoming ever busier, people are forced to spend more time on the phone catching up. “O2 recognises the cost of friendship is spiralling. We want our customers to enjoy the benefits of calling their nearest and dearest on a regular basis, without having to worry about how much it will cost them. For just £5 a month, O2 pre-pay customers can benefit from up to £100 worth of savings, so they can spend more on their friends elsewhere or, heaven forbid, even on themselves!” With Your O2 Numbers, Pay&Go customers can set up their own social network of their chosen friends’ numbers to personally manage on the O2 website. From there they can see how many networks they have been added to and even update their own numbers on a monthly basis.