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Brits spending up to two thirds of monthly income on bills and expenses

Press release 1st September 2015

  • Four in 10 people believe they are unable to save money on their monthly outgoings
  • 74 per cent of people say they do seek out ways to save money on essential costs, with women more likely to do so than men
  • Londoners most likely to pay over the national average on bills

New data unveiled today shows that Britons are spending an average of 66 per cent of their monthly income on essential bills and expenses.(1) The research commissioned by ISA and savings provider Scottish Friendly also reveals that four in 10 (42 per cent) people believe they are not able to save any money on their monthly expenditures.

Rent and mortgage repayments were found to be the biggest drain on budgets with an average across the UK of £438 spent per month. However, those in London shell out 32 per cent more than the national average spending £579 per month on accommodation. Nevertheless, only seven per cent of people surveyed believe they can save money on this expenditure.

Things are further compounded for people living in the capital, where they spend 27 per cent more on commuting to work, 40 per cent more on home insurance, 86 per cent more on car insurance and 13 per cent more on food than the national monthly averages.

However, despite so many thinking they may not be able to save on bills, it’s not for want of trying. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of people do regularly seek ways to save money on their essentials. Women are more likely than men to search out a better deal, with 77 per cent saying they do so, compared to 70 per cent of men.  

The research also looked at how people would spend any extra savings made through shopping around on their bills. The findings revealed that 35 per cent of people would add any extra money into their savings, with this being a particularly strong sentiment in over 55s, where 40 per cent would put cash aside for a rainy day.

Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, said:

Not surprisingly, most of our income is spent on essentials like the mortgage or rent, commuting, food and utility bills.  But it is concerning that even though people say they’d like to save money on their bills, so many feel they can’t.  By just taking a little bit of time out of the day, simple things like renegotiating with utility or media suppliers can save families’ considerable sums of money on household bills.

Every penny counts. Both interest rates and inflation are expected to rise in the near future which will have a further impact on disposable incomes and our ability to save. Any extra money made through thrift and savvy shopping around now to help offset rising costs in future could really benefit families in the coming months.

We want to see people increase the amount they have in disposable income and savings. Many households are probably overpaying for their services. However, it’s a two-way street and companies must look at where they can legitimately pass savings on to customers.


Table of average monthly spends on bills and expenses in UK:*:

Bills and Expenses

National average spend per month

Rent/Mortgage payments




Monthly finance repayment


Other expenses


School fees




Day care


Commuting to work


Car insurance


Health Insurance


Phone bills


TV Licence/Subscriptions


Other insurance


Travel insurance


Home insurance


Car tax





Scottish Friendly’s top tips on how to cut back on ‘necessary’ expenses:

  • Is your current provider offering the best deal on the market? If not, shop around and be prepared to switch companies.
  • If you have loyalty to your provider, call them and haggle on your current package. You may be more successful than you think.
  • When buying food, shop at more than one supermarket in order to get the best deals.
  • Join free loyalty schemes that shops and supermarkets offer. These often provide money off vouchers for items you buy regularly.
  • Earn money from your bills. Cashback sites will give you money for using their website to pay for your services from your usual providers.

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