Where does your money go? Compare your spending
Are you a spendthrift or a miser? Fill in the form below to compare your spending with the UK national average for people with a similar income to yours. (See the notes below for background information.)
(Note: you can just fill in the fields where you know the numbers, though this will give a limited picture of your spending.)
With financial gloom in the news, many people are looking to tighten their belts. Websites such as Money Saving Expert and Money Magpie, and newspaper guides such as the Guardian's money saving series are full of useful advice. But how can you tell whether you're a spendthrift or a miser compared to other people?
Above are a few questions on some of the main spending areas for consumers - enter your figures and you will be compared with the national average for your income. (Mortgages/rents have not been included, as they vary greatly and are currently subject to significant fluctuations.)
The data used to compile this comes from the UK Office for National Statistics, which published a report in 2007 called Family Spending, based on data from 2006. Food and fuel inflation will have had an impact since then (see notes on the calculator results page), but this is the most up-to-date data there is (at June 2008).
The ONS data divides the population into 10 'deciles' according to gross income, and this tool takes your income and works out which one of those you belong in. If your household's total annual income before tax is above around £66000, you are in the top 10% of the population by gross income.
Note that different questions use different timescales - this is not to be awkward, but to relate to the most likely way in which you think of your spending, to make this easier to fill out quickly.
No personal data is stored - your income is needed simply to determine which portion of the population you are comparing yourself with.
New research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published in July 2008 adds further useful background - see also the Minimum Income Standard project. 2011 UPDATE: for a rather slicker take on the MIS data, see minimumincome.org.uk, coded by my chums at Torchbox.