Is Your Household Spend Near the National Average?

Overall household spending accounts for a wide variety of expenses. And each family approaches spending differently. Though there are sound budgeting and money management principles guiding prosperity and financial success, the “right” way to spend money is not the same from household to household. As a result, it can be hard to generalise personal spending trends among UK consumers. Without taking people’s many differences into account, one helpful figure provides an interesting reference point.

Comparing total household spending for each UK dwelling provides a baseline level to assess, which captures all the customary costs of maintaining a British household. From food and entertainment expense, to insurance, energy bills, communications costs, and other domestic spending, the catch-all figure shows how each home’s overall outlay stacks up against others, relative to the national average. Where does your household spending fall on the spectrum?

ONS Tracks Spending Trends With Annual Analysis

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) compiles annual figures, calculating household spending in the UK. The results of the spending study are then used to determine national averages for UK households. These annual spending averages serve as useful figures, when comparing how your own spending shakes out, relative to other British families.

The recent ONS data highlighted spending trends that showed UK consumers are indeed spending more money than they once did – even when taking inflation into account. And the study also took a close look at where money goes, breaking down household expenses into common categories.

Average Spending Across Top Categories

It is thought more than half of UK consumer spending falls into 4 primary categories, recreation, transport, food, and housing and fuel. Within these major spending areas, transport ranks at the top, representing Britons’ biggest weekly obligation. Average transport costs are nearly £80 per week for each UK household.

Recreational spending, which includes everything from holiday travel expense to the cost of pets, entertainment subscriptions, event tickets, and other leisure items, accounts for almost as much personal spending as transport, approaching an average weekly total near £75 per UK household.

Other notable spending features tracked by ONS include totals such as:

  • Housing closely followed recreation in terms of the total amount British households spend. The category does not include Council Tax payments or mortgage costs, but still came in above £73 per week for each average UK dwelling. The figure accounts for the cost of power and fuel.
  • Food spending falls near £60, on average, for each UK household, with fish and other proteins accounting for a sizable share of each week’s total shop. Meals out also topped £50 per week for average families.
  • Household goods and services ranked slightly lower than other top family spending categories, with an average weekly spend just under £40.

Facing household spending demands that occasionally overshadow cash flow, some households shore up their weekly finances using quickly funded short-term loans offered by popular UK lenders. Terms vary, but approved loans result in fast cash, often without waiting for deep credit checks. There’s a cost of living difference of more than £200 between the highest and lowest average household spending totals tracked by ONS, so these personal loans can help bridge financial demands, until payday arrives.

Londoners bear an expensive burden, topping the list of average household spenders. However, South East families also face steep costs, compared to other, less expensive regions. Both averages exceed £630 per week. Interestingly enough, as prominent an expense as housing is, once London and North of England are removed from the calculations, UK families actually spend more on transport than they do on housing.

Overall, Britons’ monthly spending obligations have an uncanny knack for soaking up household earnings. Although loans and other solutions can help keep your finances on track during cash flow slowdowns, it’s nice to know how your spending habits measure up against other UK households.

Recent ONS findings suggest UK families have their hands full, paying more than half their earnings toward a few essential lifestyle requirements. If you live outside London and other expensive regions, lower costs of living may provide some financial relief. Though your own expenses may not reflect national household spending averages, the ONS figures may provide clues for better personal money management.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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