The Family Spending Report: are you average?

The Office For National Statistics (ONS) has released its annual Family Spending Report - how did household spending change in 2012, and how does your family compare to the national average?

It might sound like old news, but the data released this week about family spending habits in 2012 could help you to work out how your spending habits compare with the rest of the UK.

So what changed in 2012? Here are the headlines:

  • When inflation is taken into account, overall household spending has decreased since 2006 - from an average of £526.40 per week to £489
  • Households spent the most on Housing, Fuel and Power, followed by Transport, and Recreation and Culture
  • This is the first time that Housing, Fuel and Power has overtaken Transport as the biggest spending category in recent years

There were also some - perhaps unsurprising - regional differences in household spending:

  • Londoners spent the most over the years 2010-12, with an average household spend of £571.60 per week
  • The North East was the region that spent the least, with an average of £408.70 per week
  • London spent the most on Housing, Fuel and Power (excluding mortgages) by £97.50 a week over the three year period
  • Overall household expenditure in rural areas remains higher than in urban areas

Of course, household spending varied depending on income. The highest earning 10% of people spent an average of £1065.60 per week, with the lowest earning 10% spending £189.30 - about £300 less than the national average.

What does it all mean?

The data seems to indicate that the cost of basic essentials (housing, fuel and power) was a growing concern for household budgets in 2012. The increase in this category goes against the general trend, since most spending categories remained stable or showed small decreases in spending. The ONS puts this down to increasing energy bills, and a greater proportion of people renting rather than owning a home.

Where do you fit in?

When was the last time you checked how much you spend on housing, fuel and power? How does your household spending compare in the other categories like clothing and transport? Keeping track of your day to day spending is an essential part of keeping your finances healthy - but it can be time consuming. With the Money Hub from Your Wealth, you can keep track of your income and outgoings, set a budget and see if you’re meeting it. You can find out exactly how much you spend in each area of your life and see clearly where you can make changes. Why not try it for free today and tell us how your spending compares with the national average?