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household spend

How does your household spend compare to the UK average?

The ‘cost of living’ is a phrase that’s rarely out of the news, and increasing bills and prices in the shops appeared to back up the claims that our household spending is on the rise. 

The Office of National Statistics report on the nation’s household spending for 2019/20 shows how things have changed compared to the year before. This data was for the financial year ending in March 2020 so the true effect of the pandemic on household spending will not be seen until the next report. 

The average amount spent by each family was £587.90 per week – down slightly than in 2018/19 (£603.10) after inflation is taken into account. 

The figures are calculated by the ONS every year by analysing the expenditure of households across the country to produce the averages. 

Biggest costs – housing, fuel and power

More than 50% of our spending goes on four main categories: Food, housing & fuel, transport and recreation. For the first two we spent more than the previous year.

  • Housing (though not mortgage payments or Council Tax), fuel and power is the top spend at £83.
  • Transport was the second biggest spend at £81.60 - a 4% drop from the previous year.
  • We spent a total of £74.80 on holidays, tickets, subscriptions, pets and other recreational purchases, a decrease from the previous year. 
  • Meat and fish make up over a quarter of our £58.40 spend on food.


Who spends the most?

Londoners spend the most overall, with average weekly outgoings of £703.10. Those in the South East aren't far behind, spending an average total of £698.60 a week. 

But there's a £216.70 weekly difference between the most expensive and least. Northern Ireland has the lowest average weekly spend at £486.40, with the North East not too far behind at £499.40.

People actually spend more on getting from A to B (£81.50) than renting and heating their home per week (£75.72).

‘Recreation and culture’ – which includes money spent on TVs, computers, books, pets and leisure activities - is below the average of £73.86 in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North, West Midlands and London, whilst the Welsh and West Midlanders spend the least on eating and drinking out and hotels.

Families in the South East and London spend the most on a food shop at £69 a week. That’s £7 more than the UK average and £14 more than people in Yorkshire.

Those in the Northern Ireland spend the most on clothing and footwear, £6 more than the national average of £24.

Originally published: February 2015

Updated with latest figures: June 2021

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  • Dave L / 24 May 2018

    Not sure about some of these comments - I do the food shopping for 3 adults (me, my wife, our eldest son aged 19) & our other 2 boys...16 & 14 yrs old.
    Aldi, Tesco ,Morrisons, Farm Foods, Home Bargains & some small local shops are all on the shopping run, we eat well, either my wife or I cook most days - when we're fed up of cooking or can't think what to make the kids get something out of the freezer & my wife & I cook for ourselves. I struggle to spend £50 a week - & that includes the kids pack lunches, toiletries & cleaning stuff etc....I say struggle because I don't often get to use the £2.50 of £25 spend at Farm Foods, or the coupons Tesco /Morrisons give me, usually £3-£4 of a £20 spend...When I'm feeling really organised I buy a big box of washing powder, booze, too many loo rolls just to reach the target....our eldest treats his brothers to a take away maybe once a month - other that that, what is everyone spending the £££ on ?

  • Charlie / 29 April 2018

    Sadly Google keeps bringing me here but it's unhelpful as every figure I come across refers to 'a family' or 'people'. Presumably that means it's not 'per person' - unless maybe it means that the figure is 'per person' in a family? So, what then is a 'family' and how does it relate to a couple? What is the definition not on or linked to on each page? It's disappointing for an official site.

  • Hannah / 6 February 2017

    I wanted to see how I'm spending compared to the national average as it states above, spent a long time filling out the budget form etc only to find out that no comparison was made and I was told what I already know that I'm overspending....please don't advertise something that you're not going to deliver!

  • Hannah / 6 February 2017

    I wanted to see how I'm spending compared to the national average as it states above, spent a long time filling out the budget form etc only to find out that no comparison was made and I was told what I already know that I'm overspending....please don't advertise something that you're not going to deliver!

  • Chris / 22 January 2017

    £400+ a week average wage in Yorkshire? What are these people smoking? I live in the Midlands and my weekly wage is less than £300. I work in a specialist field. Also as of ~5 years ago the supermarket is taking more of my my monthly income than my landlord. Everything is £1-2. A weekly shop accounts for a third of my weekly income.

  • teresascott / 17 October 2016

    i totaly disagree you wouldnt get rent in the north east for £74 a week try £125. Food is not cheap with an average family spending £80 and more. The £125 rent will get you a one bed if your lucky add £100 to that for council tax then theres the heating .Most people struggle.

  • Deane / 10 June 2016

    Hi. After bills, I have £14 a week for food, cleaning products , toiletries and clothing. . Out of that.I the local authority wants to take £5 a week to say back the £15 overpayment of housing benefit they currently paid in 201j5. I have visceral fat and have and know I have to get rid, for health reasons. How can I do this on so little none

  • Rufus McDufus / 26 April 2016

    74 pounds a week for housing, fuel and power is a GROSS underestimate. 74 pounds a week for HOUSING ALONE won't even get you a shed in most parts of the UK

  • Gonzalo Tomás Borra / 2 April 2016

    Great investigation research. Thank you for you job
    It could be a good idea to use the real wage spenditure rather that the wage by itself in order to know what are the consumption patterns of the society
    Thank you again for your job

  • Robert M Bellis / 27 March 2016

    I think it is redicales how mutch we get weekley i am on benefits by time we pay for gas & electric & car fuil plus car insurance & tv licanse we are strugeling for food we have me & my wife & two children by time we pay for everry thing we only got £43 left for food so where is the gutherment when we need them i carnt work becaus my condition i have plauke hart dacice also relux dacise & high blood precher & high clestrol also pains in my feet legs & bacck i have bean turn doune from pip & i think it is all wrong i have proof of all this i think yur own gp should considear or not becaus your gp noes abouat me than a straing docktor even the labour thinks this to becaus i spoke to the labure in shoton so please do some thing a bouat this asap its not only me its other peopel to what are strugeling to thank you

  • Roger Charlesworth / 5 March 2016

    Why do you EXCLUDE mortgages from housing? Is this not a legitimate data item?

  • Surinder Singh / 27 February 2016

    U.K. Is the best n blessed country in the world , God has gifted many things to this beautiful country n the countrymens but due to some financial imbalance
    time n some change in global polices of govt making countrymen to think it is very expensive ,by now the uk population would have been so rich n comfortable to have business globally . U.K. Is one of the old rich heritage cultural n tourist place it is not marketed properly my humble submission to understand today time n make polices which suits now not latter uk needs come back huge incentive to invester to start heavy n digital , auto , electronic industries back in uk
    Trading can make u live day to day but industries will give long time employment n business
    Being bless central conecting route with Asia n America uk must start industries n become economic power of the world
    Like China n India is heading towards with their polices
    Hope you will like n get back to me

  • John lennie / 6 February 2016


  • Cosy Mole / 28 January 2016

    We have our own online small business and it brings average earnings 17000 pa. One third of that pays for the business costs. The rest we have to live on. Thats not enough to rent a property so we exist living from house to house with relatives. We are 60 years old.

  • Dave / 9 November 2015

    Just spent £120 on a Tesco shop, food and toiletries for 2 weeks, single person. Can't afford to buy too much cheap fresh fruit and veg as it goes off. Luckily there are plenty of offers on the bad stuff that lasts a lifetime in the fridge or even the cupboard. No wonder I'm obese.

  • Pete Williams / 26 October 2015

    As usual there was no mention of the South West area of the country. And NO that does not mean Bristol !! Try to include Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Dorset.

  • Jamie Brace / 4 October 2015

    A good job round here(south wales) would mean gross income of £17000 for a 40 hour week.That is about £1200 a month,take off travel to work costs,and you may have£1100 left if you're lucky.If rent or mortgage is say £550 a month,food and drink £200,council tax £120,insurance,water,gas,electric,car costs,phone,maybe broadband and tv licence,there's little if any left is there?

  • Dave is 65 / 28 September 2015

    £63 a week on food doesn't sound very much to me, is this the price of an average supermarket shop, which would include detergents, cleaning products etc? Does EVERYONE shop at Aldi now then? And is this anecdotal or pulled from from data by the ONS?

  • Clare / 6 September 2015

    We are a retired couple planning to return to our house in the uk, somerset. We own the house so no mortgage. But are wondering whether we will be able to manage on £2,000 a month. My wife gets her basic pension in 3 years of about 6,000 - it will then be easier......

  • Anthony Whittle / 12 July 2015

    My wife and I have around £250 per week to live on and run a car with our son who is unemployed .It does not leave much left but we are happy and don't go for things we cant afford.

  • John Smith / 7 July 2015

    Currently spending between £1200 and £1600 per month on groceries for a family of 4, excluding dog food and stuff bought from the pharmacy, just Sainsburys, Tesco and Costco. Not saying we cannot afford it, but it never makes sense to waste money and it looks like we could save a lot. Wish me good luck in taking this up with the wife !!

  • Patti / 22 June 2015

    I believe that anyone who lives on £63 pounds per week with a family, must be living on bread and water. So, immediately that puts the kibosh on the above article. Council tax and water rates do not even appear in the outgoings in the article.

  • Pip / 21 June 2015

    Wife, retired £125 pension per wk. Me, retired £125 pension + £100 per wk private pension. Total £350 per wk income.
    Outgoings. income tax on me, council tax, petrol, food, utilities etc.
    Remainder approximately £120 per wk to squander. No probs.

  • Ms Angela C McMahon Solicitor Phd / 9 June 2015

    Proof Of Ownership and Proof Of Id and Taking Out Loans and the High Importance of Income Tax Files...
    LOANS and Wild Stories about the documents which prove you're who you say you are and those that prove your ownership of everything of yours.I can prove my Id easily with a valid British Passport.I can prove I own 3 houses and rent 1 flat.I can prove my salary,pensions and benefits are mine,by my income tax files and by my Insurances.
    In Contrast
    WILD STORIES....EG:"I lived near you when you were only 12 ,I've known you all my life ,somebodys telling lies,if that had been true,we'd have known, it you can prove it ,to me,through NsandI..."messed up my using references to documents I 'd been waiting for,to get loans through"....(now I haven't said much here,but in fact I've said everything)Hearsay can mess up finances and online chat mixed with textmessages can be a nuisance,when those who are not so clever,try to be.You obviously just thought you knew everything about me,but really you never had any legal right to know anything at all.This is happened to me quite a few times and I had to use small claims procedures to correct it...Speech and Written documents have separate legal definitions.There is no such thing as an Oral Contract...Therefore there is no point in criminals using the Text to try and alter documents.The Mobile Phone is a listening device! But,
    R V Morris wins again!! (altering amounts to appropriation The Theft Act 1968 and Theft ,Deception Robbery Burglary and other Inchoate Offences Act 1978)This may be of particular relevance to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the FSCS and the Inland Revenue and Banks...


    What a load of tosh...............where are the sums for the other £250 and what are people doing spending more on none essentials than on meat and fish......I hate articles like this where the detail is not complete and I try to fill in the gaps.......if you cant give us a clear picture then don't bother.

  • Jasia / 1 June 2015

    The figures presented in this article are false and unrealistic:-
    • '2013 - Housing (though not mortgage payments), fuel and power are our biggest costs, coming in at £74.40 a week.'
    No. These are unrealistically low, untrue figures.
    To view actual UK Housing Costs, which are substantially higher, please read >
    > 'Home Let Rental Index'. (p5 gives Regional Breakdowns)

  • Fohat / 31 May 2015

    budgeting is something you can only do if you have money to spend even at the lowest rate you show?

  • Cinderella / 30 May 2015

    I must be living on a different planet to everyone else. I live in N.Ireland and my weekly payout including my rent is £200. I only have £220 pw to live off in total so there are those who are far far better off. No wonder I struggle.

  • Lizzy / 28 May 2015

    Badly written and no mention of normal household expenses like Council tax. Frankly living anywhere the cost for single householders who have to pay all their bills is way over the amount quoted. Spend is not the same as costs of living. South West is more affluent than London if people can afford to "Spend" more.

  • Meaghan / 25 May 2015

    I have used the money planner before and it's basically a fancy calculator. If it could actually compare what I spend with averages or market means, or sync to comparing websites, then it would be fantastically useful. I would love for it to give a goal of how much a house my size should spend on energy, to see if I should go with another provider or lower my expectations of the temperature. I would love to see an average weekly shop bill to see how much I could save by spending a few extra hours on going between supermarkets and buying own brand, or if I am in a comfy enough bracket to enjoy the taste of my food. As it is, it's no more useful than a calculator to tell me that I barely have enough money to get by, which I am already reminded of regularly thank you.

  • G. Kingsnorth / 24 May 2015

    Council Tax swallows £222 a Month Gas and Electric Swallow another £167 a month. Pensioners.

  • Roger / 20 May 2015

    Poorly written and proofed article when it reads, 'we hit (sic) a total of £3.90' on recreational items, only to provide a figure ten times that, £63.10, in a later paragraph.

  • A No Knee Mouse / 20 May 2015

    It would be nice to see this data in the form of a distribution curve, along with some info (or splitting of data) on the size of the household. The figures seem quite low to me, especially if they represent a family of four. School dinner money alone is around £10 per child per week, and what about those people who spend £5 on a sandwich, drink etc. for lunch every day or a Starbucks / Costa Coffee every morning?

  • J Davis / 19 May 2015

    I decided my intrinsic desires shouldn't be a reason to work myself to an early grave. I used to do so much to impress others or to be the person I thought I wanted to be seen as. I just snapped out of it. Turned it all off. No more junk food or entertainment any-more. My firewall has gone up. My wages and imagined responsibility have gone down.

  • J Davis / 19 May 2015

    I think this is a bit outdated. Average spend per household, per week is currently at £100

  • Emma A / 19 May 2015

    People are very jealous of the people who do well in life. You should live within your means, if you “can’t afford” necessities then cut back on the things you don’t need – internet, phones, alcohol etc. Or maybe work harder and get a better job, or do an additional job, work more hours, etc. I personally am over the moon we have a conservative government to fix issues & reward the hard working.

  • Terry potts / 19 May 2015

    I think it is were you shop I shop alde and asda and spend £30 a week on food. Good food right price.

  • Will / 18 May 2015

    Really? People think David is being serious?

  • colin dickinson / 17 May 2015

    my wife and myself are pensioners struggling like hell to feed our selves and heat our house we even use candles for heat.
    the next big thing is the evil tory council tax which is putting a hell of a strain on our finances we have no spare money to pay this evil tax so we will be charged even more on this till we have no food or heating thanks to the evil Tories hitting the lower end of our society and giving the rich more money..

  • Clare / 15 May 2015

    I think David is having a joke and taking the piss, right David?

  • SarahJane / 14 May 2015

    No one (outside of La La land ) could seriously claim to ' only earn about £7000 per month '??
    either David Thornton lives in an elitist bubble of the top 1% of country wide earners far away from the hoi polloi ....... or alternatively he is trying to wind up the likes of me silly enough to comment !! (take home pay £1100 a month)... I'm with Clare (March 18th).... since when was an expensive Iphone mobile contract an essential?? we all make our own choices... sure, but i think 'essentials' have been caught up in an insane 'keep up with the Jones' outlook that demands we have it all and have it now (and pity the parent who buys into that outlook - they will surely reap the ongoing demands......)

  • MRS NITA GURUNG / 14 May 2015

    Council tax £110 month
    Estimates £ 500 for food per month
    £40 a week for gas and electricity
    £42 a month water
    Around £140 for mob bills contract
    Sky £56-60 a month for the package
    Around £600 for tax
    TV licence £37 every 4 months
    £200-250 for clothing and household

  • Rika Chan / 14 May 2015

    Well we spend
    At least 80£ every week for food 3 adults a child
    In winter we spend 30£ a week TOP up for gas mostly goes down on heating
    Summer like 100£
    Around £72 a month for sky package including unlimited broadband including anytime on home rental it's really a saver :)
    5 contract around £28 - £38 each
    So least we spend like around 800£ total this and that. Well we don't spend like 500 a week that's too much it's nearly the price of my monthly rent.

  • Daniel / 14 May 2015

    Incredible, If I were to spend £500 per week I'd be bust by the end of week 3. Where do you guys get your data? I have a decent wage and if you count per week that is nowhere near that average that you provide

  • James / 9 May 2015

    David on only £7000 a month. What an ass!!

  • Matt / 8 May 2015

    CT £100 a month
    No mortgage, I bought property for cash.
    Gas/electricity £50 a month
    Food + personal higiene stuff £200 a month, no junk food or eating out, just fresh vegetables, meat and stuff like rice/pasta bought in bulk and cooking at home.
    No wasting money on transport or car, I have 10min walk to work, 10min to downtown and 15min to Asda/Sainsbury.
    Two Mobiles £23 a month
    I share 4G internet from my mobile, so no broadband
    TV licence £13
    We don't drink alkohol

    So, roughly £400 a month for two, plus £100 for irregular expenses like clothing and stuff. Net income for two of us £3000+. Rest of money goes to savings and traveling 3-4 times a year, mostly Asia/Australia/Americas. No idea how people struggle to survive on £2000+

  • Paul / 5 May 2015

    I guess we save most on gas, electricity and transport. We both work, one walks to work the other uses the bicycle. Gas is £30/month in Winter for heating, bath and cooking, and electricity about £50 per quarter for light, TV, shower, heating (circulation pump), computer, washing/drying. We switch off the heater after 9pm, when we go to bed; switch it on shortly before 6am when we get up, and switch it to 15 degrees at daytime when we are not in. And we never heat the bedrooms upstairs. Kitchen and bathroom only to prevent frost damage.

  • Paul / 5 May 2015

    The budget planner tool needs some working on. I input £50 electricity per quarter and it set the weekly usage to £50. If you really want to calculate your budget, better use paper and pencil.

  • roy allen / 30 April 2015

    David Thornton ,is a very lucky man on £7000 a month and if he spends his money on a food that should be banned foie gras he deserves to be taxed heavier .He should be like a pensioner on £500 a month then he would stop eating the expensive rubbish that he consumes.

  • David Thornton / 28 April 2015

    These figures don't make sense. I only earn about £7000 per month after all the tax I pay which is absolutely horrendous. How can anyone eat decently on £58 a week? It must be the most hideous junk food. Even one half lobster from the local deli costs about £23. Foie Gras is £16.95 for a 125g jar. The quail used to come with aspic but now I have to buy them separately the price varies and can be quite high when quail is out of season. Not to mention the wine.

  • Gerald Deutsch / 16 April 2015

    Crazy figures. We are reasonably well off but would not spend anything near that

  • Paul Aarden / 31 March 2015

    We'd be ever so pleased if we earned enough to afford such a weekly spend, tighten that belt another notch then love...

  • lee summers / 31 March 2015

    ridiculous unrealistic figures

  • Jamie / 27 March 2015

    Tax credits can be claimed and received by people on low incomes even if actually well off in savings terms,with hundreds of thousands of pounds possibly.So if you think you qualify make a claim.

  • Raymond Craig / 27 March 2015

    What about council tax, that's almost as much per week as food

  • Christopher Munro / 26 March 2015

    Now I know why politicians are out of touch if this survey is anything to go by. If I even had a total income 'averaging of £517 a week' (around £26,000 pa.), I would consider myself very well off. I would say £18,000 is nearer the mark where I live. Now I know why people rely on Tax Credits in order to live.

  • Jamie / 22 March 2015

    I hope Edward who says he gets £198 a week to keep the family claims working tax credits,and child tax credits,as there would be about £130 a week available! Wonder how many people don't claim or know they can.You get exactly the same awarded whether you pay rent or have a mortgage,or have your house paid for.Over a few years I got thousands!Don't qualify any more though.

  • x / 20 March 2015

    What is the point of including rent and fuel as housing costs but not mortgage payments? Unrealistic.

  • Alison Jarvis / 20 March 2015

    Why on earth are you doing rubbish like this rather than something meaningful?

  • Mary Archer / 20 March 2015

    My job pays the minimum wage and the average family weekly spend is more than I earn in a month. I cannot afford to heat my home except for 2 hours every evening and I plan my weekly menus so that I have a healthy diet, but not a varied one. I have worked out what the cheapest meals are and stick to that. I certainly cannot afford to stay in hotels and/or eat out. Admittedly, I only work 16 hours a week, but I have a mental health problem and my psychiatrist has asked me not to work at all. However, the quality of life I would have on benefits is not the one I need or want.

  • edward / 19 March 2015

    i know 3 people in the south that earn more than £25k a year that also means 97% of the rest earn a lot less than 20k a year . we pay 58 a week rent, 28 a week council tax , gas and electricity is £60 a month, i earn £198 a week for a family of 3 to live on

  • Ian Duck / 18 March 2015

    Seriously where do you people get your stupid figures from
    South East £585.40 a week. North East £424.60 a week.
    Yorkshire £431.10 a week. Wales £438.80 a week.

    Per week they say!!! that is £1698.40 per 4 weeks for North East.

    Most people I know who work in retail don't even take home that much money every 4 weeks for full time. If you work this out on an average all I can think is that you must interview some seriously rich people.

  • Maureen Guthrie / 18 March 2015

    N. Ireland also pays more for fuel. Both oil and electricity are more expensive than in other parts of the UK.

  • Carol Simpson / 18 March 2015

    This is the first time I have ever tried to put something on the internet, I don't even know how to use face book? The point is, do you really not think it is time the idea of average wage was done away with. 85 if not 95% do not even earn £585.40p. let alone spend this in a week. £74.40 on housing and fuel heating cost? My rent on council is £97.54 each week then I have rates. My gas and elect is paid monthly at £122 and just about balances out each year. I am very lucky, I am able to keep within my budget, but very very many can't and this idea of the average cost or wage very much not only upsets people, but is an insult to the average person. Whatever party gets in should be looking to improve jobs, cut living costs and provide a wage that gives people their self respect back. My first and last public comment in over 60 years, but I know many would agree with these comments.

  • Ademola Adebayo / 18 March 2015

    I am very content with my situation. I worrk full time and we home school our children apart from our 7 year old who goes to special school. Our household income is just under £4000 a month. We live a very comfortable life style and we aim to live simply. I drive a 1999 honda civic which I converted to LPG last year. That almost halved me travel cost, which is very good, considering the fact that I drive about 50 miles round trip to work every day. I am very thankful for being British and living in one of the wealthiest countries in living memory.

  • Clare / 18 March 2015

    I am amazed that people keep questioning all these statistics. Obviously they have been pulled from somewhere, but they are not going to reflect the majority of people. It only takes a small amount of effort to think of dozens of different types of households from single people, poor pensioners, wealthy pensioners, small young family's, older larger families, house sharers.... To name a few. Each type of household is going to come with their own set of unique circumstances. I don't think it is helpful to keep bashing the 'rich' either and 'spreading the wealth' yes of course the rich (especially the big corporate Giants like amazon) should pay their fair share, but if the individual rich are taxed too heavily like they were in the late seventies/early eighties (correct me on the timeline if need be) they just move out of the country and pay no tax at all even now - look at the likes of Lewis Hamilton hugely rich formula one driver lives in Switzerland to avoid paying tax. I would not describe my family situation as particularly wealthy, we probably take home about £2,700 between us, hubby works full time and I work part time. £1400 per month goes on mortgage, utilities, council tax and maintenance for his child. Petrol prob counts for another £250, things like mots, repairs tax and insurance for cars and house get paid as and when but I expect that would work out about another £150-200 per month. we have 2 old second hand cars 2 small children at home and We live in essex. On the food issue I try and spend as little as possible between £50-£60 per week I tend to shop with asda or tesco. Currently have a delivery saver with tesco which means they deliver for something like 75p a week. Doing the shopping online massively helps with budgeting, no kids bugging me to get stuff for a start and no impulse buying. I make 95% of dinners from scratch that includes pizzas, pies, desserts even stuff like chicken kievs. Admittedly I have started buying more 'value' food but not for meat. Like another commenter I will use any free fruit/veg also. Personally I don't know how 2 or 3 people can spend up to £100 per week or £70 for 2 vegetarians! But at the end of the day people make their own choices and I think it is disingenuous to moan about those said choices. would it be great to have more money to spend as we liked - yeah sure but I'd rather be around for the kids to be honest, and that's our choice. One final comment about house buying. I don't think it is helpful of fair to go on about kids/grandkids not being able to afford their own home, yes they are expensive and yes it is difficult, and I'm sure it is impossible to save for a deposit in a couple of months. However when my parents were saving for a deposit 40 odd years ago, it took them 2 years to do it and during that time they rarely went out/never went on holiday/bought new clothes etc etc This might be a bit extreme to some but if you really want something and that's the only way to do it that's what you have to do, the problem is today everyone thinks they can have/or deserve everything they want. Some of those same people who can't afford to buy somewhere have phone contracts that cost £50 per month, go out every fri/sat night, get takeaways, buy lunch and coffees At work instead of making things for themselves, have car loans etc etc the list is endless. When I was younger I got a loan for a new car and almost immediately regretted it, to get it paid off quicker I got a second job, I had that second job for about 12 years. think the concept of a second job would seem alien to most young people today and yet with tax rates so low and personal allowance high it is the perfect time to do it!

  • Edwin / 16 March 2015

    its my opinion that most people these days spend more on shopping daily rather than once a week . i believe this has come about by the use of cars and in some cases community t by bus trains etc. in my days as a boy are parents did not have the means to shop more than once a week money earned was dived out each week for rent 28 shillings per month=1.25 of monthly earnings food for 2 adults & ten children born with 2 yearly stages between each remaining cash on clothes etc. i pair of shoes for the oldest child which was then passed down to next child and so on ex. recycling . so we were never able to save but we were never hungry and mostly happy and healthy all down to good parents. father had full time job with agricultural contractor mainly driving steam traction engine mother worked seasonally any where work was available again mainly agricultural 8 till three all weathers then home to look after us all this + paying for child minders for the youngest doing all household work quite a full time job father died at 54 mother died at 73 and believe me or not we all help one another right up till we had all had families to keep and even today at 85 with poor health i still try to maintain the methods i learned from them so far with out much help from some from my adopted boys& family. and unfortunately very little from todays government. the all ready rich must be helped first why? they need it because they have no idea how the really hard workers live. perhaps our top heavy aristocrats would consider help out as part of their larger family instead of waving flags showing off their and bragging of we have never had it so good.sorry this more of a story than a comment but it is true. i have now managed4 yrs on my own having lost my wife aged 80 in 2011. with cancer i also have lived with cancer/ CKD kidneys /diabetes/= the unusual complaints of age.allthough has you see most of my problems are classed as critical -illness Cambridgeshire NHS have only just decided to possible provide a little help via direct payments a total of around 7 years since first diagnosis . i think someone should ring the bells and bring out the buntings. maybe it will be you. remember the fat cats motto work them hard and keep them poor but most pf all keep them ignorant.

  • Marc / 15 March 2015

    These figures are clearly incorrect as they do not exactly match those of my household!! I don't know what people are moaning about either, my wife and I take home about £5000 a month after tax between us. Life is great and we have loads of disposable income to go on holidays, eat in expensive restaurants whenever we want, get brand new cars every year and still save over a grand a month.

  • Sue / 13 March 2015

    life is really expensive these days, and I'm a retired widow, but savings can be made; I find the moneysaving expert site very helpful.
    re food bills; I love my food and keep down the cost by not wasting, cooking from scratch, (even make my own stock from left over chicken carcass etc) shopping in discount supermarkets, Asda, local open air markets... and Waitrose at the end of the day for their very excellent reductions! I also forage for free food; blackberries, wild apples, nuts, etc.If you cannot cook it is worth learning the basics from family, friends, TV progs, courses, where ever.

  • Rory Graham / 12 March 2015

    What is a family? This is essential information to making sense of the figures. I live as a single person as do many many others nowadays.

  • Steve Palmer / 11 March 2015

    Very strange article. The two of us do most of our shopping in Aldi, and buy very little convenience food and no alcohol. Food and household goods costs me at least £100/week!

  • D Russell / 11 March 2015

    cant believe the figures quoted, we live on £80 per month for food, cleaning and hygiene products for the two of us. the rest goes on energy, tv licence and rates, leaving us £10 per week each for phone calls, travel, footwear and clothing. It is difficult, as it is, someone want to throw some of that spare cash our way.

  • lez thornett / 10 March 2015

    what are you saying its a joke my husband and i live on 1.500 a month like to see you all live on that we cant

  • Hedra Hornby / 10 March 2015

    £49 on food shopping? I spend approximately £67 per week for two people.

  • glen tucker / 10 March 2015

    The figure for housing seems rediculously low? How on earth can someone only pay £74 on housing? what about the Council Tax, fuel, repairs, insurance etc
    I have a serious doubts about the accuracy of this.

  • James Brace / 9 March 2015

    Of my nett pay of about £1200 a month,I pay £90 council tax,£13 tv licence,£80 petrol,£28 car tax&insurance,£8 house insurance,£60 water,gas,and electric.£35 phones,£100 food etc:Nothing for rent or mortgage-as I have finished 25 year mortgage.This leaves me with £786 to pay for other things as necessary,or to save.

  • graham / 9 March 2015

    we have a family income of around 3000 a month.
    after paying off rent ( 1100 ) CTax ( 145 ) elec, water and gas ( 212 ) , food (300 ) dog insurance ( 54 ) house insur ( 23 ) car insurance ( 2 Cars, 33 and 47 ) 2 mobiles ( 30) Petrol ( 300 ) tv lic ( 12 ) , virgin tv ( 114 ) school meals ( 100 ) after school activities ( 112 ) and 250 quid into savings. we have no money left to enjoy ourselves at the pub or parks...
    Please tell me how do people live on 280 a week. unless you are living in a bucket I don't honestly understand how you function or what we are doing wrong.
    Virgin is essential as 1 day a week my lady works at home and requires ultra fast broadband for server work.

  • James Brace / 7 March 2015

    In this area my take home weekly pay of £280 for 40 hours is considered very good,don't know who gets £400-£500+! However I manage well,pay all household bills,and run a car,yet still save about £120 a week.How do people spend or waste? so much.

  • George Watkin / 7 March 2015

    No mention has been made about Council Tax! Why do people living on the state pension have to pay FULL Council TAX?
    I am led to believe that about 20% of this is used to pay the Pensions of ex council workers at A rate exceeding the State Pension.
    We are robbing Peter to pay Paul.Would some one like to correct me if I have got my facts wrong.

  • david greenwood / 7 March 2015

    pity us poor pensioners our total income is 205 pounds per week for my wife and me i think we are due for a increase of about 1.75 pounds in april so we are very much looking foward to that

  • Chris / 6 March 2015

    If this includes the top earners how can this be average? anyone earning above £1000,000 should not be included in any average earnings lets get real this just looks good for the government.

  • GrahamCB / 5 March 2015

    I do wish this type of survey would ask how much is spent on non-alcoholic drinks and on TV/phone connectivity: these are spending desirables rather than essentials.

  • Jon / 5 March 2015

    Unfortunately it would appear that the use of average figures based on statistics from a large sample is lost on many people posting on here as their mesages clearly indicate that they do not understand the information provided - most notably the term AVERAGE.

  • Peter Mattinson / 5 March 2015

    I cannot understand why there is not one mention in your article about anywhere in the South West. This tends to show that once again we are considered to be a nebulous area which in any form of statistics is deemed unnecessary.

  • Adam / 5 March 2015

    housing fuel and power £74 pw? is 'housing' not rent? so he £500 pw excludes mortgage or rent does it? I don't find this very clear

  • margaret moor / 4 March 2015

    my husband and i live on 2 pensions around £300 per week .and we are not in debt ,own our home and are happy with what we can anyone have that much and not manage

  • Toby Hoch / 4 March 2015

    They don't pay me even the average amount where I live, which is quite mad when you think about it.

  • Tingle / 3 March 2015

    This person is deluded.

  • DAVID MAHONEY / 3 March 2015

    Of course the London and S East shopping and living costs(housing,,fuel) are higher than elsewhere.That is why "national" pay rates are unfair and cost the country unnecessarily.The Trades Unions rooked the country with that public service pay scam from the 60s onwards so that pay levels ceased to reflect "same standard of living" costs.

  • Erik Retallick / 3 March 2015

    I'd be worried sick if I spent this amount in a week!! I'd be living way, way beyond my means and would have been in severe debt a long time ago. I agree that it is research by someone living in cloud-cuckoo land, a banker, politician or MP perhaps!?

  • Barbara Arndt / 2 March 2015

    I can't relate to these findings. "• Housing (though not mortgage payments), fuel and power are our biggest costs, coming in at £74.40 a week."
    Wouldn't this be wonderful? Cloud Cuckoo Land! Who did this research??????

  • S.Cooke / 2 March 2015

    £517.30 a wk to spend ??? How much has wages risen in past 2 yrs ??? When I was being paid the National Minimum wage that was 2 wks pay. Now I get enough to pay my rent and council tax. There is 3 to feed+ a cat which is £100 give or take a tenner and all the other bills, all of which comes out of my redundancy money which is going fast. When it is gone I fear the worse......

  • p douglas / 1 March 2015

    our pension is £166 per week that has to pay every thing we need so dont know how you work out the cost of a week money to live on my friend gets £59 a week and her rent paid she spends her day walking aroud the shopping mall to keep warm

  • David Hill. / 1 March 2015

    Your figures bear absolutely no relevance to the actual cost of living. I suggest that you appoint a new think tank !

  • bernard mason / 1 March 2015

    How people spend so little on house costs when the evil council costs £50 per week I do not know. plus heating plus insurance etc. etc.etc.

  • Iain Clark / 28 February 2015

    I live in Durham and this is pretty much spot on. The disappointing thing here is that austerity has made me Mr. Average!

  • Jemmy Hanson / 27 February 2015

    I think it's a pile of rubbish!
    Nobody asked me, or people like me. Clearly so. Because I spend nothing like £500 a week, and my food bill is well over £63 a week.

  • Linda Davies / 27 February 2015

    As a pensioner I have to take one and half weeks pension out of a months pension for my food and entertainment ...the other two and a half weeks money is to pay for the utilities services....
    And I have spoken to a lot of pensioners in the same boat .....My home have got to be sold ...... what is the point in paying a mortgage for 30yrs and still cant afford to live in the home you love savings for house repairs ..or modernization ...just pay out high prices for community tax and utility bills.

  • Dianne WILLIAMS / 27 February 2015

    Just had my state pension forecast, under old system £113 per week plus top up from my late husbands stamps. Under new system starting in April 2016 - £87 and no top up from my late husbands 40 years of contributions. How is this fair?

  • barry / 27 February 2015

    we in cornwall spend over 450.oop each week and it is geting more deer each year to stay in cornwall so soon it will be like staying in london ..................end of message.......................

  • anthony godwin / 26 February 2015

    This is not so as far as pensioners are concerned.Thanks to this government pensioners have never been so treated.

  • Craig D. / 25 February 2015

    These figures don't make any sense. The average weekly spend quoted of £507 per week in 2013 is actually what the ONS states is the average weekly WAGE. Housing rental comes out at an average of £322 per month. Really? The average family is paying £322 per month for their housing? Doesn't seem realistic. Neither too, does the £3.90 per week on recreation, which includes buying a TV, movie rental, cinema, etc. A colour TV licence comes in at around £3 per week, leaving £0.90 per week for everything else!

    The article claimed that we pay out more than 50% of our income on the big four categories. However, adding up their own figures comes in at £10,790 annually. But with the ONS average wage coming in at just under £27k, that's only 40% of average income.

    All ONS statistics are median values, by the way. However, would argue with such a non-Guassian distribution curve, the modal value would be a better representation.

  • L Steels / 25 February 2015

    How did these poor Pensioners exist during the 13 years of those evil Labour Politicians, Blair , Brown, Prescott, Mandelson, etc., who just about ruined not only the pensioners but the whole Country.

  • John Phillips / 25 February 2015

    The average figures are meaningless if they are skewed upwards by the top earning 10% or 1% of society. The Median figures would be more representative, that show figures where half of respondents are above the figure and half below.

  • Angela Ralling / 25 February 2015

    You don't appear to take into account at all the East of England. I know we are on a road to nowhere, but we stilll exist in a very beautiful area of the country. We still pay to live. We are a bit fed up of being overlooked!

  • Colin Dickinson / 24 February 2015

    My wife and myself are pensioners worked all our lives now living of scraps of food, either heat or food thanks to the evil Tories.
    And my council wants £115 a month of us, if I pay that we will have even less food to live on.

  • Webster / 24 February 2015

    completely unrealistic - I live in East Anglia and my rent (which is considered low for the area I live in) is over £100 a week.We are also vegetarian so don't buy expensive meat or fish but our grocery bill for two adults still comes in at over £70 and I am pretty frugal.

  • chewbacca / 24 February 2015

    What is a 'family' or 'household' - how many people?

  • sue lomas / 24 February 2015

    £63.00 per week for a food shop is totally unrealistic. I shop carefully for three people and I can rarely manage to get the shop below £100.00 pw however hard I try. I don't buy any convenience foods either. I would like to see you shop for a family on £63.00 a week, and analyse what you have bought!

  • Valda Postlethwaite / 24 February 2015

    Try paying out that on a pension its a disgrace what they us after working all my life from 15 till 70 its a laugh

  • Laurence Hallewell / 23 February 2015

    I am 86 in April and have been retired in NE Essex, 18 years. I had an international career (as a librarian). About half my pension income is in Sterling, half in US dollars: the proportion varies a little with exchange rate fluctuation. I spend my dollar income by using a credit card on a US bank. Both US and UK credit cards are paid in full by standing order. I am too lazy to budget: I just watch the cash flow. Any month spending goes above income, I cut down. Any month spending is less than income I treat as a temporary abberation. I have a modest Individual Retirement Account in the US, from which tax rules require me to take out about 10% each year, but that goes straight back into US mutual funds: I regard it exclusively as something to help my grandchildren with their education and mortgage deposits. I envy my grandparents whose retirement cottage had a quarter of an acre on which they could grow all their fruit and vegetables. My own two bedroom terrace house is well insulated but fuel bills are my main concern. I have no car but live within a block of the town center of a medium-sized market town. My doctor has moved and a vist takes me 20 minutes each way if I make the effort of a fast pace (no convenient bus link). I find I can just afford a yearly visit to my son in Ohio and monthly rail visits to my elder daughter in Gloucestershire. My bus pass takes me weekly the 5 miles to my younger daughter. The western worlds' decision to prop up a failed banking system at the cost of social destruction through "austerity" I regard as the world's worst disaster since developing the atom bomb. Just as Weimar's austerity produced Hitler, so our austerity will give us a UKIP government by 2020, with a similar result.

  • Ashamed Guardian reader / 22 February 2015

    Why even bother printing this article, because it's such nonsense. Where did the writer glean his statistics? As a 'Guardian reader' I've never understood - until now - why the term is sometimes used in a derogatory sense.
    Andy tells us that nationally, "Families in the South East and Northern Ireland spend the most on a food shop at £63 a week". Has Andy ever made a trip to the supermarket himself, or does his mum, spouse or housekeeper shop for him, and he dreams on, oblivious to the realities of existence in this increasingly unequal and poverty stricken society?
    Trust me Andy, you'd be hard pushed to supply a family with gruel for breakfast and bread and lard for supper on the £9 per day you'd have us believe is the norm.
    In your rush to nip out and pick up your daily grande mocha frappaccino (there goes the average persons daily food expenditure) could you have possibly misread the stats, and are you quoting a single persons expenditure and not that of a family?

  • Rob Dingwall / 22 February 2015

    hen how are pensioners meant to survive on the pittance they receive?

  • Anthony Whittle / 22 February 2015

    Speaking as a pensioner,thank God for Charity shops.

  • Dave Shore / 20 February 2015

    'Office for National Statistics' should be the the 'Office for Fictitious Nonsense'. Take your report...."More than 50 % of our spending goes on four main categories: Food, housing & fuel, transport and recreation.". When I was at school that's FIVE not FOUR categories. In our case 40% goes on the mortgage (as housing rented or mortgaged is ever increasing 10 times faster than wages, my kids will never be able to afford a house,. Council tax (10%) more money every year for less services ??? What's that all about ??? Food is 40% for two parents and to kids in their early 20s (4 Adults + one dog). 10% for petrol, utilities (wholesale going down, retail going up), insurance (always increases faster than wages), leave Jack S..t for 'recreational purchases' ??? sit at home as working does not pay, that,s why the UK is in overall general decline and has been for 50 years, contrary to the Tory pre election propaganda Bollyox. Most people in the UK can not make ends meet with one two or three jobs and on the 7th May the Tories are very much sacked, if not if we get them in in any form I will be exercising my right to move to a different European country I have had enough !!! The UK is screwed........discuss.

  • marion carter / 20 February 2015

    who e ver was spending 517.30 per week must think their selves extremely fortunate. Pity then the old age pensioners on a government pension. If the average spend is 74.40 on gas and electric doesnt leave much to do a lot with. now does it

  • Dave Smith / 18 February 2015

    Meaningless without a comparison of the average wages in an area, Should belooking at the proportions of income. In the South West average wages are low comapred to most parts of the UK but house prices are inflated by second home owners.

  • William Faricy / 18 February 2015

    How about a detailed breakdown covering costs that not all families have such as smoking, alcohol, TV packages and dishwashers.

  • george greenwood / 17 February 2015

    if this is the correct figure can anyone tell me how we survive on disability I had a motor cycle accident and lost my left leg above the knee now retired I have to live on middle rate disability and pension which comes to with private pension 290 pounds a week and because I worked 43 years and paid in to private pension I can claim nothing so if there is anyone out there can tell me how I can survive I would be grateful

  • Raymond DeVere / 16 February 2015

    What happened to the West Country? Not disappeared off the electoral roll just before the general election surely!!!

  • Eddie Storey / 3 February 2015

    Dig for England
    If you have a garden food bills need not be too expensive, use neglected areas to grow vegetables or among garden flowers etc.
    My wife and I both managed to acquire 300 scare yd allotments; they may be hard work at times but the benefits and satisfaction we get is well worth the effort.

  • Eddie Storey / 3 February 2015

    Dig for England
    If you have a garden food bills need not be too expensive, use neglected areas to grow vegetables or among garden flowers etc.
    My wife and I both managed to acquire 300 scare yd allotments; they may be hard work at times but the benefits and satisfaction we get is well worth the effort.