Income and Expenditure Guidelines

This page can be useful for anyone wanting details on income and expenditure guidelines. These are used by StepChange as well as other debt solution providers in the UK. 

I am spending more money than I make

If this is the case then you need to review what you are spending. Check if what you’re spending is essential and how you could make savings so you’re not faced with potential problems later down the line.

empty-pocketsAre you spending more than average for your household?

There are various pieces of information which has been researched by organisations in relation to household spending. Money advice charity StepChange have income and expenditure guidelines that are used to determine minimum and maximum spending amounts for households in the UK.

If you are seeking financial advice which reviews your income and expenditure, the chances are they will be using StepChange guidelines as a guide.

For common household spending, which will be factored in to a review, there will be analysis on these items such as dentist trips and hairdressing spend to establish if you are paying too much or too little for your monthly outgoings based on these guidelines.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

StepChange and the Standard Financial Statement figures act as a guide. When undergoing any financial review you need to report accurately and honestly on your household spending amounts in order to get the right advice for your needs. There may be reasons behind your monthly spending which may fall outside of these averages.

While things like your main household bills (mortgage, rent, utilities and council tax) vary from each household there isn’t a common figure that can be used to judge if what you are paying is either excessive or too little.

The Office for National Statistics produce research on the spending habits of UK households each year. In 2017 they released results based on research of spending habits in the 2016 financial year. It’s worth remembering that these could change based on interest rate rises or other changes for 2017 or 2018.

The below shows the average weekly household expenditure, by percentage spend, in the UK. While this is an average it may not be reflective of your financial situation.

Average weekly household spending UK financial year ending 2016
% of total spending
Housing (net)1, fuel and power 14
Transport 14
Recreation and culture 13
Food and non-alcoholic drinks 11
Restaurants and hotels 9
Miscellaneous goods and services 7
Household goods and services 7
Clothing and footwear 4
Communication 3
Alcoholic drinks, tobacco and narcotics 2
Education 1
Health 1
Total expenditure based on the above 86
Other expenditure items 14
Total expenditure 100

[1] Excluding mortgage interest payments, council tax for GB households and domestic rates for Northern Ireland households.

Source: ONS