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Thursday 26 October is ‘Bill-Free Day’ – when the average UK household will have paid off £22,125 worth of bills in 2017

26 October 2017
  • The average UK household works 299 days – almost 10 months –  just to pay the bills*;
  • Over a third (35%) of people are ‘just about managing’ to cope with rising bills;
  • 19% say they’re already cutting back on non-essential spending;
  • Households can calculate their own personal ‘Bill-Free Day’ with a new online calculator.

Against a backdrop of mooted interest rate hikes, rising inflation and general economic uncertainty, GoCompare has scrutinised the UK’s household finances and people’s attitudes to today’s cost of living.

The comparison website analysed official household spending and disposable income data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)** and calculated that, on average, it takes UK households almost 10 months to earn enough money to pay their bills for the year – things like rent, groceries, utilities, mobile and landline phones, broadband, insurance premiums and everyday travel costs.

Rising costs are making people misera-bill

Complementary research*** commissioned by GoCompare into the rising cost of bills reveals that the overwhelming majority (96%) of UK adults say they have seen an increase in their bills.  Over a third (35%) admitted they’re only just managing to cope, while 19% said they are cutting back on their non-essential spending.

The rising cost of living will also adversely affect the nation’s Christmas festivities this year, with 60% of people intending to spend less than last year.

How can people bring their Bill Free Day forward?

Thursday 26 October 2017 is the average UK household’s ‘Bill Free Day’, and people can work out their personal ‘Bill-Free Day’ using GoCompare’s Bill-Free Day calculator.   By simply entering details of their household income and expenditure, people will be able to calculate the date when all their living costs will be paid.  The calculator will also show how, by saving on essential insurance and utility bills, people can bring their ‘Bill-Free Day’ forward.

Georgie Frost, head of consumer affairs at GoCompare, said:

“Bill-Free Day highlights just how much of what we earn goes towards paying the bills.  By getting people to think about their notional ‘Bill-Free Day’ we hope that they will look at where the majority of their money goes and think about how they can make small changes that could free up more cash for the things they really want to be doing.

“We all face bills that we have little control over, like council tax, water rates, income tax, fuel for our cars or tickets for our day-to-day commute, but there are many that we can, and should, tackle ourselves. Insurance policies, energy tariffs, mortgages, our weekly grocery shop, broadband packages, debt repayments– some of these are quick and easy to save money on, others take a bit more time, but it’s well worth your while to see if you can trim these back – who wants to spend more on these things than is necessary, after all?

“Our aim is to help move the nation’s Bill-Free Day closer to September next year by encouraging more people to confront their own personal ‘Monster Bills’.  If the average household reduced their bills by £25 a week they could bring their Bill-Free Day forward by more than a fortnight. That would be an extra two weeks of fun money next year, rather than bill money.”

People can calculate their own ‘Bill-Free Day’ using GoCompare’s Bill-Free Day calculator.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*‘Bill Free Day’ calculation - according to the most recent ONS household income figures, the average UK household disposable income in 2016 was £26,300. GoCompare added 2.1% to account for average wage growth to calculate a 2017 figure: £26,852. Calculations include wages, benefits and pensions received, minus tax and national insurance.  ONS data on household spending - GoCompare studied the 2016 figures and included spending only on items and services which would be readily classified as a bill.  The annual total came to £21,356. GoCompare added 3.6% for inflation (based on the RPI in July 2017) bringing the total to £22,125.

£22,125 is 82% of the average annual disposable income of £26,852.  82% of the year is day 299 (26 October).

Bills include: mortgage, rent, council tax, water rates, home maintenance, food, drink and groceries, energy (electricity, gas, oil and coal, etc.), phones, broadband and subscription services such as Netflix and Sky, credit cards and loans, transport costs including car/motorcycle expenses and commuting, insurance premiums and pension contributions.  They do not include: clothing, going out (pub, restaurant, cinema, etc.), holidays, flights and weekends away, cigarettes/vaping, Christmas or birthday presents and other gifts, treats.

**Office for National Statistics – Family Spending in the UK: financial year ending March 2016 - http://bit.ly/2yNJuN8

Office for National Statistics – Household disposable income and inequality in the UK: financial year ending 2016 – http://bit.ly/2jdaXNE

*** Online research carried out by Censuswide between 4 and 6 October 2017 amongst a panel of 2,013 UK adults. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.