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How does your household spend compare to the UK average?

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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. 

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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.
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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.

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