£240 is the average disposable income – how does yours compare?

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 12th Aug 2015

£240 is the average amount of money that most of us have left over at the end of every month after bills and essentials, according to a new survey.

Does this sound like a lot to you? How does it compare to what you have? What do you do with your leftover income, if you have any, that is?

This average has gone down by 0.2 percentage points in the last 3 months, but is up 1.5 per cent over the last 12 months.

Scottish Friendly says that this has led to an increase in the number of people putting money aside into savings, by 6.6 per cent over the last quarter.

So clearly, some people are feeling the benefits – there are now 27.3 million people saving in the UK every month.

But £240 does not go far if the car breaks down, or the oven packs up, or you want to go to a wedding in Devon.

It’s not an amount you can guarantee to enjoy every month, which might be why the general rise in disposable income has not led to a bigger increase in the number of people saving.

Because the fact is, it is not difficult for £240 to disappear in a few weekend trips to town – a couple of lunches for a family of four, filling up the car, a coffee, a new book, a birthday present for your mum, some plants at the garden centre, a babysitter.

And what if interest rates rise at the end of the year, taking a chunk out of disposable income in the form of higher mortgage repayments?

Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, said: “A wider concern over the coming months will be whether inflation continues to rise and if the Bank of England decides to increase interest rates. If this does happen, we can expect the amount people have left over each month to fall dramatically, especially among homeowners, who will see the cost of borrowing rise significantly.”

£240 is not really a big margin to play with. But if you are interested in looking after it in a GOOD way, you can take a look at some of our ideas for how to be good with money in every way, without compromising financially.

What do you have left at the end of the month? Is it enough? What would be “enough”? Tell us @goodmoneygirl.

Quarterly change in levels of disposable income by region, according to Scottish Friendly:

Region of the UK Per cent of salary attributed to disposable income – Q2 2015 Per cent of salary attributed to disposable income – Q3 2015 Percentage point difference Average disposable income Q2 2015
NATIONAL 9.9 per cent 9.7 per cent -0.2 £240
East Midlands 10.3 per cent 11.8 per cent 1.5 £273
Yorkshire & Humberside 8.5 per cent 9.8 per cent 1.3 £208
Wales 8.7 per cent 9.6 per cent 0.9 £232
South West 10.5 per cent 11.3 per cent 0.8 £255
North East 9.2 per cent 9.2 per cent £195
South East 9.6 per cent 9.6 per cent £232
North West 9.3 per cent 9 per cent -0.3 £225
Scotland 11.1 per cent 10.8 per cent -0.3 £252
London 10 per cent 9.5 per cent -0.5 £300
West Midlands 10 per cent 9.2 per cent -0.8 £234
Northern Ireland 8.0 per cent 6.6 per cent -1.4 £136

 

Annual change in levels of disposable income by region:

 

Region of the UK Per cent of salary attributed to disposable income – Q3 2014 Per cent of salary attributed to disposable income – Q3 2015 Percentage point difference
NATIONAL 8.2 per cent 9.7 per cent  1.5
East Midlands 8.3 per cent 11.8 per cent 3.5
Scotland 8 per cent 10.8 per cent 2.8
London 6.9 per cent 9.5 per cent 2.6
South West 11.3 per cent 11.3 per cent 2.1
South East 7.7 per cent 9.6 per cent 1.9
Yorkshire & Humberside 8.7 per cent 9.8 per cent 1.1
North East 8.7 per cent 9.2 per cent 0.5
West Midlands 8.8 per cent 9.2 per cent 0.4
Wales 9.2 per cent 9.6 per cent 0.4
Northern Ireland 6.5 per cent 6.6 per cent 0.1
North West 9.1 per cent 9 per cent -0.1