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Scots Struggle With Little To No Disposable Income

7th March 2019

People living in Scotland have just £250.94 of disposable income each month, less than £10 a day, a study has found.

The recent poll, commissioned by Salary Finance, found that after paying out for their rent and mortgage, utility bills, food and other living expenses, just a small amount of ‘spare' cash is left over for the lighter things in life.

In comparison to the nation this means people in Scotland are worse off than the national average, which sees people left with £276 of disposable income each month.

Of those surveyed living in Scotland, over 46 per cent even claim to often have months with absolutely no disposable income whatsoever.

And four in 10 feel like they are never going to be earning enough money to give them a decent amount of disposable income.

It also emerged that for those who do have some more left at the end of their month, eating out is the most popular way to spend it, along with by putting some away towards a holiday and new clothes.

Asesh Sarkar, CEO and co-founder at Salary Finance, the salary linked benefits provider which commissioned the research, said: "For many, the main reason for going to work is to earn a living.

"But while we want to be able to pay the bills, it would be nice to have at least a little bit left over to spend on some of the lighter things in life.

"Unfortunately, it seems for many, there is just not enough money to go around and they are left with very little spare cash after paying out for all the essentials.

"This can lead to feelings of stress and even depression concerning financial wellbeing, which can impact people both personally and professionally."

Researchers found that despite having an average monthly income of £1,716.54, the average person from Scotland is left with just £250.94 for luxuries after covering their essential bills.

The rent or mortgage takes up the biggest chunk of cash, while food and drink accounts for £213.44 per person each month.

Utility bills take another £178.23 a month, while TV, internet and phone costs add another £63.12 to the total monthly expenditure.

Other direct debits, credit card and loan repayments and even the cost of travelling to work also adds up over the course of a month.

As a result, the average adult in Scotland estimates they spend just £196.70 a month on items they would describe as luxuries - less than the national average of £201 a month.

Eating out accounts for £54.07 a month, with another £68.74 is spent on going out with friends and socialising.

Almost £33.40 a month is also splashed out on sports and hobbies.

For parents, they have even less spare cash with the average mum and dad saying their monthly disposable income dropped by £196.79 after having children.

It also emerged nearly 5 per cent would describe their financial situation as poor, while another 29 per cent say they just about make ends meet.

And 44 per cent admit to feeling envious of friends, relatives and colleagues who seemingly have more disposable income than they do.

But while 48 per cent of people in Scotland set a budget to try and make their money last the month, 19 per cent usually fail to stay within their limits, going an average of £152.07 over budget each month.

More than 27 per cent of those polled via OnePoll in Scotland also admit they would have more money and disposable income if they were better at budgeting and managing their money.

Asesh added: “Money worries affect 40 per cent of UK employees, and our extensive research within this sector shows that this is not linked to salary amount as you may expect. In fact, financial wellbeing is related more to saving, spending and borrowing habits, meaning those that do manage to save some money each month feel happier and are less stressed by their financial situation.

“Of course, we know a lack of disposable income, amongst other things, can make saving hard to spend, including barriers such as time. That is why salary linked saving can be beneficial to many, as money is directed straight into a savings account meaning it is not ‘missed' and there is no time spent popping this money into a savings account.

“This helps people feel happier knowing that they have this money for any emergencies - or treat themselves on a rainy day."

Top 10 things Brits are most likely to spend their disposable income on:

1. Eating out

2. Holidays

3. Clothes

4. Entertainment trips, such as to the cinema

5. A hobby

6. Books

7. Nights out in the pub/ clubbing

8. Pets

9. Tech or gadgets

10. Music or gig tickets

Each month, the average Brit pays out:

Rent or Mortgage: £270.13

Food shopping: £222.59

Utility bills: £187.80

TV/ Internet bills: £61.01

Other direct debits: £54.69

Loan/ credit card repayments: £84.17

Travel to work/ commuting: £55.71

Put into savings: £171.51

Car payment: £46.37

Going out/ socialising: £71.99

Sports/ hobbies: £37.74

Eating out: £61.30

Childcare: £45.68

Kids school fees/ activities: £50.70

Each year, the average Brit pays out:

New clothes/ shoes/ accessories for yourself: £180.80

New clothes/ shoes/ accessories for your children: £94.21

New clothes/ shoes/ accessories for your partner: £100.03

Holidays/ trips away: £632.05

Day trips: £171.77

Tickets to events: £107.79

New gadgets/ tech: £142.83


Co-founded by the former Head of Google UK & Ireland, a former banking consultant and a social impact entrepreneur, Salary Finance brings together expertise in financial technology with a desire to do good. The award-winning, fast-growing company is on a mission to improve the lives of working people in the UK and US. Their mission is to change the lives of working people by helping them become debt-free and save towards their financial goals.

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