It’s no big secret that it costs a lot of money to keep life ticking over. Across the UK, households are spending thousands a month on all of modern life’s essentials, plus a few luxuries to enjoy as well.
But how much do we differ in our spending across different regions? Thanks to a detailed analysis of regional outgoings by the Office for National Statistics, you can find out where your area sits when it comes to some of the key areas of everyday spending and how where you live affects your monthly budget and managing your finances.
Food and drink
Grocery shopping (excluding alcohol) sets the average UK household back over £3,600 a year, with items like fresh fruit and vegetables, chicken, milk and even biscuits leading our outgoings.
The south-east beats out Northern Ireland and London to the top spot for food and soft drinks, spending around £278 a month to stock the house, with the north-east bringing up the rear on £225.
As for alcohol, the north-west is a surprising winner, pipping the south-east, London and Yorkshire with nearly £74 a month spent on drinking both in and out of the home. If you’re looking for a quieter time, head over to Wales, where they spend nearly £16 a month less than their leading counterparts.
Utilities represent one of life’s bigger costs, with every house in the UK spending comfortably over £1,000 a year.
Northern Ireland and Scotland boast the most expensive monthly tariffs at £114 and £104 respectively. In England, the north-west spends the most at £101, with the north-east enjoying the cheapest energy at £93 a month.
As for our cars, petrol expenditure in Northern Ireland is the highest by far at £130, with the east of England in second on £104 a month. Public transport-friendly London spends under half that of Northern Ireland, averaging £59 a month.
At £134 a month spent, Northern Ireland devotes over £1,600 a year to clothing and footwear, making it the UK leader. Meanwhile, Bristol and rest of the south-west spend nearly £500 less over a 12-month period (£1,112).
The south-east is far and away Britain’s biggest spender on general transport, committing over £5,150 a year (£429 a month) to getting around. Unsurprisingly, London leads public transport spending with a whopping £1,700 (£142 a month) a year, which makes up nearly half of its total transport expenditure.
When it comes to recreational items (anything from newspapers to package holidays), the south-east once again takes a big lead with over £400 a month spent. At the other end of the table sit the West Midlands and Wales, who both spend around £275.
So, after all these numbers, where are the biggest spending households in the UK?
It will come as little shock to know that London and the south-east take the trophy for the most expensive regions, both sitting around the £2,850 a month mark. For reference, that’s £658 of spending a week, and £34,200 a year.
The title of smallest spenders goes to the north-east at just under £2,000 of outgoings a month. That means those in the north-east are spending over £10,000 less a year than those in the south-east.
Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Midlands also fall into the category of cheaper places to live, with weekly spends totalling under £500.
So, as you probably already knew, it’s more expensive to live in the south, particularly in the London areas, but it’s interesting to see the breakdown of costs elsewhere. What the numbers from the ONS show is that each area has its own niches for higher and lower household spending.