22 days for the average household to reach “Income Independence Day”

27 May 2015

According to the latest research from Halifax, today is the day in the month of May when the average UK household has worked enough days to pay off their main living costs1. Based on the average UK household monthly living cost of £2,043 and the average gross monthly household income of £2,956, Halifax has calculated that, looking across the calendar month of May, today would be ‘Income Independence Day’. This is the day that living costs have been covered and an average households’ monthly income becomes their own to use as they wish for the remainder of the calendar month.

North versus South
Households in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West had a shorter wait this month for the money they earn to be their own to spend on whatever they wanted, having, on average, paid off their living costs two days ago on 20th May. Unsurprisingly, those in London must wait another four days for their Income Independence Day to arrive on the 26th May, before they can enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Across each of the nations, Scotland had the shortest wait (20th), followed by Wales and Northern Ireland (21st). There is little difference for households that rent rather than pay a mortgage, with the day where they have paid off all of their living costs falling on the 23rd, just one day later than the overall national average.

Keeping the lights on
The research also shows that if just income tax and the cost of housing** is taken into consideration, there is still at least a two week (14 days) wait until these have been paid off, and this stretches to three weeks (21 days) in London. On average, across the UK, households waited until 15 May to have worked to pay off these costs alone.

Nick Young, Head of Halifax Current Accounts said: “Managing income versus expenditure over the course of a month can be a juggling act for some families. Halifax’s research shines a light on just how many days of the month the average household must work in order to cover their living costs and have money left to do with as they wish. It offers a fresh perspective on the reality of the cost of living for the average UK household.”