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A family with 2 adults and 2 children need to earn £40k to meet basic needs

(163 Posts)
kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 08:44:04

I posted something similar last year when the Joseph Rowntree Foundation posted a similar report on the idea of the income to meet basic needs.

Lots of people picked it apart - apart from the obvious differences in mortgage / rent around the country, people also questioned the basic needs idea.

It gets worse for single parents

The £20,300 that each person in a couple with children needs to earn before tax to afford a minimum acceptable standard of living is below the average UK gross salary. But for lone parents, the income deemed necessary by the JRF report, at £27,073, is more than average earnings . Median pre-tax annual pay was £26,884 in the UK April 2013, according to official figures for full-time employees.

Still - have a look here and decide if you meet their minimum income standard.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:01:13

I earn far less than the £27K needed to support me and DS. But we seem to do ok.

If I earnt £27K and it was just me and him, we'd be laughing.

sillymillyb Mon 30-Jun-14 09:03:01

God I'd consider myself rich on £27k! We get by on just over £1k a month at moment - for me and ds. It's depressing!

Preciousbane Mon 30-Jun-14 09:04:35

I think people will still comment on what they consider is an acceptable standard of living and it varies a lot. I remember the child poverty action group used to and probably still do write a list of what was deemed acceptable for a minimum standard. It was really quite basic with stuff like having a decent winter coat.

Interesting to see that Nestlé are the good guys for once paying the living wage.

We met the standard for our family arrangements on the test but I did know we would.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Mon 30-Jun-14 09:09:27

Their minimum standard for us is a bit less than we earn, but it up our childcare costs as 0. <bitter laugh> And included £30 a week for clothes, which I'm not sure is the average really.

WooWooOwl Mon 30-Jun-14 09:09:51

I just did the ridiculously basic quiz to find out how much my family is supposed to bring in to have the minimum acceptable standard of living, and it came out that our income needs to be slightly more than what it is.

We defiantly have a way better standard of living than the minimum acceptable standard though. We have two weeks abroad each year and plenty of days out, meals out regularly, I don't even budget that well when it comes to food shopping. There is LOADS we could cut back on before getting anywhere even close to an unacceptable standard of living.

The research is bollocks if you ask me. Either that, or people's expectations of an acceptable standard of living are incredibly high and they believe we should all be living a life of luxury.

VeryPunny Mon 30-Jun-14 09:10:52

Do they take into account that you can make savings by buying second hand? Loads of people I know get really good quality winter coats (for example) through E bay, or what have you.

However if that figure includes rent/mortage, then I'm surprised it's not higher in the SE.

ElizabethMedora Mon 30-Jun-14 09:21:19

Makes me feel better, realised when completing out tax credit statement last year that we earnt £40k, couldn't work out why it hadn't been an amazing year - that will be why! Expecting to be down to around £30k this year, sadly.

TulipOHare Mon 30-Jun-14 09:31:38

We are a family of 2 + 2 and live comfortably on far, far less than that. But then we don't run a car or have any debts or live down south, so I guess that's why.

Reminds me of the headlines that roll around every so often about "the cost of raising a child to age 18" and it is always some astronomical figure made up of things that are not necessary or relevant for much of the population.

Xcountry Mon 30-Jun-14 09:36:45

We are a family of 6, Myself, DH and 4 DCs and we live on just over 30 grand a year, comfortably. We own our own home, have a car each and many many animals. we don't have ipods, Ipads, iphones, games consoles, we have 1 household laptop and we don't have abroad holidays - we go to MiLs caravan but we make it work again quite comfortably.

WhoMovedMyVuvuzela Mon 30-Jun-14 09:37:25

I always find these studies odd. How can you generalise for a whole country with housing/travel costs that vary so much?

I have cousins who live 400 miles or so north of me who have always had lower salaries but a much better standard of living.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 09:38:41

It makes for a great soundbite - but in reality, when you analyse the reality, it falls apart.

Xcountry Mon 30-Jun-14 09:38:56

apparently we need 48 grand. haha well no - not in Scotland you dont

That's with rent at £82 a week. I don't know where you can live to pay £328 a month rent, or buy a house get a mortgage that would be the same. Having just quit my job for one with less stress and reasonable hours (ie not hours of unpaid overtime), but with a big pay cut, I'm very interested in how it will affect my/our standard of living. I've done the sums and we will have enough to live on, but whether I will be able to save anything, or afford the same holidays, will depend on very careful budgeting.

sleepyhead Mon 30-Jun-14 09:48:11

Ours came out at c£36k for four of us. But it has childcare costs as zero so it's assuming one higher earner. I'm the higher earner in our family (on a lot less than £36k) but half my salary goes on childcare.

Mind you, we still do OK.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 30-Jun-14 09:51:50

Honestly, the folks at the JRF should realise that people are going to look at a 'minimum income standard' that includes £7.11 a week for alcohol (as mine does) and think that all the figures are full of equally non-essential things.

This is what my required spending is, allegedly, for a family of 4:

Weekly outgoings(?)
Food. 120.77
Alcohol. 7.11
Clothing. 46.23
Water rates. 9.62
Council Tax. 22.71
Household Insurances. 2.30
Gas, electricity, etc. 24.74
Other housing costs. 9.58
Household goods. 28.71
Household services. 10.73
Personal goods and services. 47.05
Travel costs and motoring. 79.44
Social and cultural activities. 103.81
Rent. 91.33
Mortgage. 0.00

WooWooOwl Mon 30-Jun-14 10:00:18

Sadly stuff like this discredits the JRF and just leads people to believe they can't be taken seriously. Which is a shame, because they do have important stuff to highlight. But this isn't the first time they have published something that has made me go hmm so I'm afraid I'll be paying even less attention to what they have to say from now on.

VitoCorleone Mon 30-Jun-14 10:01:51

Apparently we need £37K. We live quite comfortably on £24K

£103.81 for social activities per week ???

sleepyhead Mon 30-Jun-14 10:05:04

Presumably this is averaged out over the year though so that 1.2k would cover all social activities for the whole year for the whole family (eg birthday parties/presents, work Christmas night out, week's summer holiday.)

sleepyhead Mon 30-Jun-14 10:06:37

Arithmetic failblush

£5.3k per year for all social activities, Inc Christmas etc.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 30-Jun-14 10:07:28

I agree WooWoo. There will be a lot of people with family incomes well below £40k thinking 'but we're more than meeting our basic needs confused'. It makes it difficult not to write the whole thing off as ridiculous.

It is fairly nonsensical to try to specify a 'minimum income' for the entire country in the first place.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 30-Jun-14 10:10:29

£5.3k a year is quite a lot for social activities though, given this is supposed to be the minimum to meet 'basic needs'.

Needadvice5 Mon 30-Jun-14 10:13:09

Hmmm interesting reading!

Needadvice5 Mon 30-Jun-14 10:13:29

Hmmm interesting reading!

MTWTFSS Mon 30-Jun-14 10:13:51

£96.68 for food per week shock I wish!!! We spend about £40 a week!

BeatriceBean Mon 30-Jun-14 10:15:08

No wonder we're struggling then sad

VitoCorleone Mon 30-Jun-14 10:16:14

Us too MTW

LadySybilLikesCake Mon 30-Jun-14 10:22:27

It doesn't take into account tax credits though. Without these, I'd be well below.

ILoveCoreyHaim Mon 30-Jun-14 10:26:11

I do ok considering im a lone parent working part time.

The only reason i do om is because i live in a council house in Gateshead

put me in London in a private house and a would be ducked

Me and 3dc i spend about £130pw on shopping, we have contract phone, sky and internet

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Mon 30-Jun-14 12:24:10

Do they mean salary or income? Because anyone working part-time with DCs could get quite a substantial amount of tax credits, so while their salary looks quite low, their total income will be much higher, so comparing average salaries with required incomes doesn't really stack up.

The figures quoted in Calamitously's example look a bit off though.

These all look quite generous to be considered basic and adequate.
Food. 120.77.
Alcohol. 7.11
Clothing. 46.23
Personal goods and services. 47.05
Social and cultural activities. 103.81

Whereas rent and insurance look quite low.

Household Insurances. 2.30
Rent. 91.33

Although I suppose that the insurance is basic contents only insurance as renting. I live in a cheap area and in the whole city there are only a few small flats or two bedroom terraced houses available to rent at that price.

BeatriceBean Mon 30-Jun-14 12:44:39

Ha couldn't rent for that around here and we're 2 hours out of london!

cakesonatrain Mon 30-Jun-14 12:46:31

Why do I need to spend �7.11 a week on alcohol to meet a basic standard of living??
And �86.14 a week on "social and cultural activities"?!

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 13:10:33

Apparently I should earn £26000 to have the standard of living. Meanwhile, in benefit land, I receive £11000 which we just about survive on. I think these calculations are based on a heck of a lot of luxury rather than a minimum standard! Social and cultural activities, travel and clothes are but a dream that I wouldn't waste much money on even if I was earning.

Is this like a yuppie minimum standard of living? Or has living on the breadline warped me? Who knows.

normalishdude Mon 30-Jun-14 15:55:12

depends where you live. In centre of London- no chance. Centre of Scotland- easy.

fielsted Mon 30-Jun-14 16:09:12

Many alluded to this already but putting a price on the income required to achieve a basic standard of living is a nonsense without the massive variation in the amount being spent on rent/ mortgage being taken into account. That seems to vary according to location and age. There are many 45 year olds I know who have practically paid off their mortgages whilst there are others who are still paying market prices for rents in shortage areas which increase on an annual basis. So difficult to make comparisons there.

However, I definitely feel the difference in required income that the report identifies ie that we need to earn almost 50% more now to have 'an acceptable standard of living' than before the recession.

specialsubject Mon 30-Jun-14 16:26:51

I ran it for two people. Some very odd figures.

'modest' rent of £325 a month. Where's that? Even in my lovely out of London area, that doesn't cut it.

insurance for £50 a year - tight even for a rental.

£78 a week for food seems very high - and yes, I am assuming decent food, fresh veg, no crap.

and then they reckon £73 a week on socialising???? Party on...

So I call 'nonsense'.

ha ha ha. £85.18 a week in rent - the only way that would be possible in Edinburgh is council/HA which the majority aren't. £22 a week council tax is lower than band A here.

It doesn't look sophisticated enough to me- for example a pensioner couple with no child has the same rent expectation as a non pensioner couple with a child. But realistically, it's far more likely that the pensioner couple will either own outright or have council/HA accommodation (at least around here it is) which will have a lower cost. The couple with a child are more likely to be privately renting or have a mortgage which would cost more.

Minesril Mon 30-Jun-14 16:59:03

I agree that these 'rent' figures are ludicrous. In what alternate universe is it under £100 a week?? We pay around a grand a month living in the south. Even when we lived in York it was £500!

melissa83 Mon 30-Jun-14 17:15:00

My mortgage is under a 100 a week in the south and Im only young. All depends on where you live.

netty7070 Mon 30-Jun-14 17:20:19

Wow, our income if 25k above what they reckon we need! Why don't I feel rich?
because we live in Oxford

manicinsomniac Mon 30-Jun-14 17:24:44

Haha, that's hilarious.

I'm a single mum of 3 and earn just shy of £40K. I consider us to be affluent.

MissHC Mon 30-Jun-14 17:28:50

What we need is a lot less than what we actually earn, however I don't think we could do it on that amount (£31k). Even just adding up our basic monthly costs:
£1200: rent (on the low side around here)
£1100: nursery DD (pretty average)
£600: travel (Oyster travelcards)
£600: DP student loan
£125: council tax
£100: gas + electric
£20: water

Those things alone are £3745 a month. I don't understand how people around here can save up for a deposit, though they must do as average house price is £400k and they get sold within weeks.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 17:30:25

As someone said - this makes the Joseph Rowntree Foundation look out of touch.

Which is a shame because Rowntree had a great legacy of looking after his workers and in making poverty an issue.

sanfairyanne Mon 30-Jun-14 17:33:45

earn or have an income (ie including all tax credits etc?)

sanfairyanne Mon 30-Jun-14 17:36:30

this is not their views - they have just added up the costs that members of the public have suggested makes a reasonable standard of living

blame the public

tb Mon 30-Jun-14 17:38:08

I think the biggest problem with all these sort of calculations, however well-meaning they are, is that they neglect 1 very basic fact.

That is the lower a person's income or a family's income is, the much greater percentage must be spent on keeping body and soul together.

So, if you have £150K a year, £250 for a school trip may make you wince, but not as much as someone who only has £11K a year.

It's why all these comparisons are really quite barmy.

If you're on a lower income, you spend 99.99% of it on necessities, and if it's a bloody cold winter, even more. Trading down from cashmere to mohair isn't going to be a very helpful suggestion.

I can remember DH saying that he came across a very helpful chap when he was a student who told him he knew just what the working class wanted, because he'd read books about it.

For what it's worth, DH grew up in a house in the NW of England with no inside toilet, bed bugs in the plaster, and no running hot water. He wouldn't vote for Labour or Liberal if you threatened to poke his eyes out with a red hot poker, and he can remember Orange day parades in England, and people being expected to vote either Labour or Protestant.

GarlicJunoWho Mon 30-Jun-14 17:39:44

I did it and adjusted my rent, fuel costs & council tax. I came out £115 a week short, which is no surprise. It said I need £44 a week for social & cultural activities. This seems to be the sticking point for many - also, I spend less on food than it says.

Both of these are part of the JRF's message, though. I eat food I wouldn't have eaten when I was well off, because I've had to reduce my standards significantly and use a lot of cheap fillers. I don't go out, have subscription TV, go to arts events or any of the cultural & social 'extras' I used to enjoy. The page on their website talks about a "socially acceptable lifestyle". Mine is not socially acceptable, tbh. There's a link in the Guardian sidebar to another article about the widening wealth gap. I think this is the JRF's concern, and it is a very valid one.

GarlicJunoWho Mon 30-Jun-14 17:41:56

Adding to my post above - people are confusing relative poverty with the more desperate kinds. This is always happening! Relative poverty does matter. It matters a lot.

JaneParker Mon 30-Jun-14 17:42:32

I think £40 a week on clothes is steep - we tend to wear ours until they wear out and also no one drinks alcohol on this house. I don't think alcohol should be classed as some kid of essential.

Varya Mon 30-Jun-14 17:45:42

We don't have that sort of money coming in, but we manage even so,

GarlicJunoWho Mon 30-Jun-14 17:49:03

They're not saying you couldn't manage, Varya. They're saying it compromises your enjoyment of things that most people take for granted. Long term penny-pinching erodes social engagement, education and even health. It limits your options and alters your priorities. The longer this goes on, the worse your prospects become compared to people in the 'okay' majority.

sewinghomey Mon 30-Jun-14 17:59:03

It states I need just over £43k <hollow laugh>

Our income is half that.

DoAndroidsDream Mon 30-Jun-14 18:09:33

JRF research has also used it to explore how far Universal Credit will help people reach an adequate income.

Tax credits have contributed to the problem.

The government needs to address fair wage issues and stop subsidising employers.

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Jun-14 18:10:40

I would think that income is about right for the majority of the UK. For those who earn less, do you include the value of services such as childcare, free school meals, subsidized uniform, housing benefit etc? I know it isn't income but for these calculations it should be considered as such.

I think if you start to add up all of the benefits the income amounts of most families should be close to an average 40k, more if in the SE and less elsewhere.

GarlicJunoWho Mon 30-Jun-14 18:13:39

They took benefits & tax credits into account, Want2.

Oh, these annoy me, they are absolute bollocks. £85 rent a week, utter tosh. Since when was the UK one-size-fits-all?

GarlicJunoWho Mon 30-Jun-14 18:16:32

The government needs to address fair wage issues and stop subsidising employers.

I agree, Android. The current artificial situation puts the government in charge of how poor the low-paid get to be, while pumping taxpayers' money into corporations that don't even pay tax, ffs.

AgaPanthers Mon 30-Jun-14 18:17:58

This is their shopping list for a couple with a toddler + a primary aged child

15 yogurts
12 pints of milk
2 cheestrings
190g cheddar
11 free range eggs (free range is a minimum?)
525g stewing steak
680g steak mince
3 rashers bacon
100g ham
25g corned beef
12 sausages
675g chicken thighs
1kg whole chicken
2 cans tuna
2 frozen haddock fillets
5 fish fingers
400g olive spread (who the fuck eats that much margarine???)
192g butter
45g sugar
3kg potatoes
540g oven chips
80g hash browns
9 packets crisps
300g cabbage
300g broccoli
520g carrots
820g onions
10g garlic
640g mushrooms
595g vine tomatoes
375g cherry tomatoes
1 bag mixed salad
whole cucumber
2 peppers
1 can tomatoes (at 69p/can! I earn a lot more than this, and I would not pay 69p for a can of tomatoes)
1 can baked beans (at 42p/can!)
1/2kg frozen peas
120g frozen sweetcorn
365g frozen mixed veg
2 frozen yorkshire puddings
10 satsumas @ 34p/each
11 apples for £2.50
3 kiwis
12 bananas
7 pears
160g grapes
120g sultanas
4 mini boxes of raisins
1 can pear halves
1 can fruit medley
3 litres orange juice
1 litre apple juice
90g strawberry jam
2 loaves wholemeal bread
6 wholemeal rolls
1 baguette
2 loaves half and half bread
1 chilled apple pie
40g muesli
1 sponge pudding
1 pack chilled crepes (really????)
2 cans tinned rice pudding
14 weetabix
1 shredded wheat
2 granola bars
70g rice crispies
41g porridge
200g dried spaghetti
200g dried rice
30 teabags
286g instant coffee
4 cans soup
400g korma cooking sauce
60g mayonnaise
30g marmite
1 jar salmon paste
1 stock cube
24g gravy granules
15g branston pickle
1kg ready to serve custard
450g vanilla ice cream
10g salt
40ml oil
1 bottle blackcurrant squash
9 cans diet coke at full price
5 250ml cartons fruit juice
4 custard creams
18 malted milk biscuits
1 mr men smoothie
1 twix
2 penguins
2 packs Cadburys buttons
1 kitkat
98g drinking chocolate
4 cans Fosters
1 bottle red wine

Clothing does go on and on, but it includes, among other things, for the mother:

6 bras per year
20 pairs of knickers per year
7 pairs of tights per year
2 pairs of jeans per year
4 pairs of trousers per year
2 jumpers per year
2 pairs of leggings per year
4 skirts per year
2 pairs shorts per year
4 tops per peyar
6 dresses per year
3 coats per year
2 pairs pyjamas per year
1 pair slippers
1 pair flipflops
1 pair boots
1 pair trainers
2 pairs heels
1 pair flats

Apparently house maintenance/decorating in a rented house comes to £500/year?

And then flooring + carpet + curtains and so on on top of that.

A secondary child apparently needs £375/year pocket money, plus another £350 for birthday/Christmas presents/activities.

MrsMaturin Mon 30-Jun-14 18:18:17

I don't think this makes the JRF look out of touch. It's an illustration and it's looking at more than what we need to survive on. It's looking at what we need to be able to afford those things that people modestly aspire to. It's not that helpful as a personal illustration which is why it says don't use it as a tool! What is useful though is the increasing demand on incomes it has shown since 2008.

Anybody reading the budgeting threads here will have read posters complaining that they earn what they used to think of as a good wage and they still can't make ends meet. This study is telling you why. Rather than carping about what's included or not we should be horrified at the headline figures. A single parent earning less than average wage with one child cannot assume they can make ends meet. That's really worrying.

Regarding Rowntree himself - the Rowntree legacy is very complex. It was not simply out benefiting those who worked for the Rowntree family although yes they were conscientious employers and their philanthropy started there. JR himself made his major endowment expecting the Social Service Trust (which has later become the JRF) to last no more than 35 years. His intention expressed in the founding memorandum he prepared was
' I feel that much of the current philanthropic effort is directed to remedying the more superficial manifestations of weakness or evil, while little thought or effort is directed to search out their underlying causes. Obvious distress or evil generally evokes so much feeling that the necessary agencies for alleviating it are pretty adequately supported. For example, it is much easier to obtain funds for the famine-stricken people in India than to originate and carry through a searching enquiry into the causes and recurrence of these famines. The Soup Kitchen in York never has difficulty in obtaining adequate financial aid, but an enquiry into the extent and causes of poverty would enlist little support. Every Social writer knows the supreme importance of questions connected with the holding and taxation of land, but for one person who attempts to master this question there are probably thousands who devote their time and strength to relieving poverty and its accompanying evils.'

With such intentions the JRF has to look outside mainstream measures and does amazing work investigating root issues in our society. You have to be able to see the bigger picture with this.

Incidentally York benefited hugely from the Rowntree legacy of giving things which the city did not NEED but which convey huge benefit and quality of life - a swimming pool, two parks and a theatre for example.

AgaPanthers Mon 30-Jun-14 18:19:34

It doesn't help to call it a minimum.

MrsMaturin Mon 30-Jun-14 18:22:30

What's wrong with 'minimum'? It means the least acceptable not the least survivable level.

WooWooOwl Mon 30-Jun-14 18:24:21


Fucking hell! I'm supposed to be getting, on top of the rest of an entire new wardrobe, 3 coats, 6 dresses, and two pairs of heels?? Every year?? Just to have a minimum acceptable standard of living??

And we are supposed to take this crap seriously?

DoAndroidsDream Mon 30-Jun-14 18:27:16


A few months ago I read a post on the benefits board on MSE. I think the person was a wind up merchant trying to get a reaction from the benefit bashers. However, their calculations were income for a full time job vs income from a part time job with top ups. The real difference was negligible.

Subsidised uniform isn't available nation wide.
Housing benefit & free school meals are available nationwide. Housing benefit is dependent on the LHA rates.
Some school trips are free if they are part of the curriculum.
Up to 70% of childcare is covered by tax credits. I don't know if there's a freebie for people out of work.
Travel costs to schools appears to vary from council to council.
Secondary school children in London all have access to free bus travel and reduced tube.
Other councils offer this for out of work parents only.

GarlicJunoWho Mon 30-Jun-14 18:27:51

I wish people would STOP confusing minimum ACCEPTABLE with survival.

This is the sixth richest country in the world, for fuck's sake. When did we start agreeing that our lowest-paid should live like people in a developing nation?

AgaPanthers Mon 30-Jun-14 18:33:10

Actually we are not even in the top 20.

Behind Ireland, Singapore, Australia, and many others.

No country has universally high living standards.

WooWooOwl Mon 30-Jun-14 18:33:48

It's perfectly acceptable to not have all the stuff on that list. You can actually be very comfortable without having all the stuff on that list, way way above the level where you are just surviving.

DoAndroidsDream Mon 30-Jun-14 18:39:45

7 pairs of tights per year

Whoever came up with that doesn't wear tights.

beccajoh Mon 30-Jun-14 18:59:25

In how many areas does weekly rent for a family sized house (let's say here bedrooms) cost under £100 a week?

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 19:05:51

Very few, that's for sure. And they are usually the damp gross houses that nobody would want children in. Private renting I mean.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 30-Jun-14 19:11:45

I think these things are always stupid.
Basic needs are food to eat, water and a roof over your head.
Anything more is a luxury and a want, not a need.
Unless you are unfortunate enough to need food banks and are homeless then you will be managing fine in terms of basic needs.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 19:15:13

There are more basic needs than food, water and shelter.

manicinsomniac Mon 30-Jun-14 19:30:37

How long is that shop supposed to last aga ? If it's a monthly shop I can believe it. A weekly - no way, that's an insane amount of food!

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Jun-14 19:31:48


My point is that a family with two children and an income of 25k/year might feel they are doing just fine but that is because their true income is closer to GBP40k than they realize. By the time you add back the cost of benefits, especially housing benefit and childcare, I would expect the average to come close to 40k per year. That might mean someone in London with 2 DC needs 60k while someone in North Wales or Stoke on Trent needs 20k.

I do think it is sad that the cost of living in the UK is so high. I live in the US, a 25min train ride from Manhattan. My monthly rail pass is $250/month. My taxes equate to about 15% of my income and about 19% if you include property taxes. I work with two people who have more than two children and do it. Both own their own homes, cars paid off in full and one guy has 4 kids at private school thanks to federal aid.

Chunderella Mon 30-Jun-14 19:36:42

There are indeed, which is why it's a good idea to include something for spending necessary to have some kind of social life. That said, some of the numbers on here don't sound very accurate. £325 in rent would be very low: that's what we were paying on a 2 bed HA property until recently, but how many people are in those? I wondered if that's because it's the average figure, including a substantial number of people who don't have any housing costs at all.

Grumpyoldblonde Mon 30-Jun-14 19:39:21

oooh I have £258 per week more than I need, so they say!!

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 19:43:05


Does a family with 2 children on £25K get a lot of benefits? Housing benefits, child tax credits equivalent to £15k.

I honestly don't know - as I have never claimed or received any benefits.

cakesonatrain Mon 30-Jun-14 19:47:52

That shopping list is a hell of a lot of stuff.
And I'm speaking from a household that has significantly more money than the "acceptable minimum".

DH, DD & I manage on just over a third of what that site says we should. No car, no holidays, & we live up north. But we do just fine.

cakesonatrain Mon 30-Jun-14 19:52:59

Although, I like the clothes shopping list being an acceptable minimum - I can buy loads of clothes and say to DH "but this is the minimum I need to buy to have an acceptable standard of living!" grin

Grumpyoldblonde Mon 30-Jun-14 19:54:41

How I would love to pay £85 p/w rent - instead of over a grand mortgage.

AgaPanthers Mon 30-Jun-14 19:55:01

manicinsomniac that's weekly. So like the 90g of jam is a pot every 3.7 weeks or something like that.

sanfairyanne Mon 30-Jun-14 20:17:39

max working tax credit with 2 children is 300 a week according to hmrc
so about 1300 a month
or the equivelent of about 20 000 salary i think

williaminajetfighter Mon 30-Jun-14 20:52:38

sanfairy - does that mean that the 300/week tax credit is ABOVE one's salary? So you could be making, say, 20k and get the equivalent of a 20k p.a. raise from HMRC?

Chunderella Mon 30-Jun-14 20:54:31

A couple with 2 children earning 25k will get £3170 a year in tax credits.

Also child benefit. Housing benefit would depend on the area. They might also get some childcare tax credits but that's more complicated.

sanfairyanne Mon 30-Jun-14 20:56:58

i just looked on hmrc so i dont know. i think it is the max you get so it must be on a low salary

williaminajetfighter Mon 30-Jun-14 21:11:10

Ok. Nonetheless as other posters have noted people often state salary not income which can vary widely.

Sadly while this research highlights the high cost of food it doesn't highlight the extortionate cost of housing and how dramatically this cost skews budgets. No social activities or alcohol when 50% of your income goes to rent. wink

frankblackswife Mon 30-Jun-14 21:12:34

I put our details in and it said we needed £34,000 as a minimum -I'm probably going to go against the grain here but we couldn't live on that -certainly not in our current home. If we sold up and rented we would just about survive but it would be pretty grim.
It's made me sit up and think a little -our income is over 4 x this amount yet I think we have a fairly normal standard of living, certainly not well off.
Food for thought...

sanfairyanne Mon 30-Jun-14 21:12:36

just checked
thats the childcare element

Lemele Mon 30-Jun-14 21:55:30

I think we get about £23k a year including our benefits, and we are 2 adults and 3 kids under 5.

The calc reckons we need about £43k. As a rule we generally feel 'aware of our fellow man' and don't feel comfortable spending a lot of money on unnecessary 'luxuries', however 'acceptable' they are seen to be.

Chunderella Mon 30-Jun-14 22:14:01

Childcare element is a bit more complex because it depends on what you spend as well as what your income is, plus childcare costs vary so much. You might have two 25k families, both of which get 70% of their childcare costs, but Family A have a huge bill generally so 30% is hundreds a month, while Family B only need a few hours a week and 30% of that is only a few pounds. You'd need to look at how much they're actually paying for their childcare as well as how much they get for it.

gamescompendium Mon 30-Jun-14 23:06:03

I looked at this last time and I've looked at it again and it's so badly put together it's insane. We have 3 kids. According to this we don't have any childcare costs hmm but need to spend nearly £3K on clothes per year, an equivalent amount on 'personal goods and services' which I'm not even sure what it refers to unless they mean haircuts and a (private) dentist, and over £6K on social and cultural activities. That's not exactly the 'minimum'. But on the other hand things I'd think of as more essential like the insurance costs are far less than we realistically pay.

For this to be meaningful they should look at the average costs of housing, insurance, childcare so that people look at it and think 'yeah, I can relate to that'. Otherwise what is the point of it?

YoHoHoandabottleofWine Mon 30-Jun-14 23:49:07

It's a shame it's bizarre - �91 a week rent for 4 of us .... um we couldn't rent a room for that (South East but nowhere near London prices)

But then I put in our actual main outgoings (mortgage of just over �1k, which is actually what you would rent a 3 bed house for round here) and our childcare (which admittedly is very steep), and our basic bills (none of which are excessive other than council tax which is higher end), and it says we need �86k to have a minimum standard of living!!!!

Am I the first to have broken it??

cakesonatrain Tue 01-Jul-14 06:17:55

I got it up to 63k with our mortgage and childcare. I'm sure I could get it higher with the other bills in there, too.

Icantcook Tue 01-Jul-14 07:55:26

Yes I meet the minimun needed. The weekly amount for cultural activities etc is more like what I spend in a month

CheerfulYank Tue 01-Jul-14 09:01:24

Apparently we're just about right, although I live in the US so I'm sure it's different.

atticusclaw Tue 01-Jul-14 09:21:24

I agree this just does them a disservice. Why have a calculator like this if its going to be so badly thought through.

itsnothingoriginal Tue 01-Jul-14 09:26:26

We earn much less than the 40k and we do get by but with no luxuries at all. However it is topped up by tax credits which if we didn't get we'd be screwed.

Have the other posters on here saying they can get by on a lot less also got tax credits coming in? If so it might just be worth thinking about whether you could manage without them. It might be a reality one day sad

Openup41 Tue 01-Jul-14 09:35:01

The calculator shows we could survive on £37k. Our actual income is almost double this. I would not say we live a life of luxury at all the debts probably do not help.

We earn much more than the 40k and our housing costs represent 55% of expenditure - essential costs are about 80% so there's no money for holidays.

That's the shit of living in the south east - if you need a 3 bed house for children then your housing costs are going to be the vast majority of your income.

weatherall Tue 01-Jul-14 09:56:17

I get annoyed on threads like this when people pop up with the 'we only earn 2p/£12k' whatever and we're fine.'

That's because you are getting £££ in tax credits you numpties!!!

Our income is about to jump from £10k to £30k but we aren't going to notice much difference (prob £50 pwk better off) because we will lose £800 PCM tax credits, £110 PCM student loan repayments, free glasses, free dental, £260 PCM pension, £400 PCM petrol, extra car maintenance, extra work clothes/suits/naice shoes/make up, work kitties for the endless birthdays etc £20pcm, poss union subs of £30pcm, professional registration too.

Thankfully we won't have childcare but in the past I was paying £100 PCM more on childcare than my mortgage, as a single mum in under £20k.

After being out the house 50 hours per week for only £50 extra I will bloody well want my 1 1/2 bottles of wine pwk!

HermioneWeasley Tue 01-Jul-14 10:04:26

Their shopping lists for food and clothes are bizarre - 20 pairs of pants a year?!

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Tue 01-Jul-14 10:13:58

I get annoyed on threads like this when people pop up with the 'we only earn 2p/�12k' whatever and we're fine.'

That's because you are getting ��� in tax credits you numpties!!!

YY Weatherall. I have two siblings, one with 4 DCs, the other 5.

In family A, the DH works long hours in a high stress professional job that requires national and minor international travel (odd trip to Ireland) and probably earns about �40k pa (the north - this is the reality outside London) and the DW works part time low paid and they need to pay for wrap around childcare. They probably only get CB - I don't know if they will get any TCs towards childcare, but it won't be much.

In family B (5 DCs), both parents work 2 days per week in easy low paid jobs close to home, no childcare is needed, earned income probably about �10k per year between them, but they are entltled to over �20k pa in a combination of CTC, WTC, CB and council tax benefit.

So despite Family A working a lot longer hours, one of them in a professional job with a degree etc, they probably aren't any better off than family B, due to most of the gap being closed by TC entitlements.

It is made even worse because Family A pay rent at about �600 pm, and Family B were lucky enough to buy a house when they were really cheap so are mortgage free!

It would appear that, if you have 3+ DCs there is no point working hard, getting qualifications etc because you won't be any better off than taking a couple of days a week in any old job and will be a lot more time poor and stressed to boot!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 01-Jul-14 12:40:29


You are right, we have 3 dc although there's a huge difference in age between the first 2 and the third.
I chose not to work from day one, but it wouldn't have been worth it if I had chosen to work.
A full wage would have been lost on childcare and we would have had all the stress of a duel income.
I don't agree with your numpty tax credits comment though and can see you don't understand the system.
For us, it helped a lot but for other couples who only have one low income
the tax credits wouldn't be enough so they both work.
It depends what your out goings are whether tax credits top up would be enough or if you both need an income.
I would advise learning how it all works before you call people numpties as with your comments its a bit of kettle calling the pot black.

momofmonster Tue 01-Jul-14 12:58:11

apparently i should be spending �60 a week on social activities!! erm no i am a single parent i'm lucky to have one social activity a month for a start!!!

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Tue 01-Jul-14 13:28:19

morethanpotatoprints. I didn't call anyone numpties, another poster did.

However, I did agree with their comments directed towards people saying things like 'we have 3 DCs and DH earns �12k pa and I'm a SAHM and we manage just fine' because they're being economical with the truth because they're also entitled to about �11k in tax credits, plus CB, possibly plus council tax benefit, housing benefit and working tax credit.

Their real income will be more than double what they claim it is. And it's not always 'because work does not pay'. Yes it is sometimes, but there are also people who choose to work less, because they know that they will receive significant tax credits top ups.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 01-Jul-14 13:35:39

read the list up thread....

6 bras per year? i am still wearing nursing bras. he stopped breastfeeding 3 and a half years ago.

All I can say is I was bought up by parents who were bought up in the war... therefore I have a much reduced view on what is necessary and what are luxuries.

atticusclaw Tue 01-Jul-14 13:39:49

I earn much more than is stated but there is no way I would buy 6 bras a year! Would anyone?

melissa83 Tue 01-Jul-14 13:43:26

Our tax credits dont cover our childcare but even paying contribution towards childcare for 2 in full time care, mortgage, decent car, abroad hols, laptops, smart phones etc we have way more than enough on 30k salary between us.

duchesse Tue 01-Jul-14 14:24:42

Yes, if you earn less than £43,000 ish you are entitled to a number of means-related assistances (I won't use the word benefits which is becoming more and more loaded). DH earns juuuust into HR tax so we get nothing at all in the way of assistances beyong CB for 2 children now. We have 2 children at university who could do with some help but only live on their student loan. DD1 is going to medical school in September and will therefore graduate in 6 years' time to do her bit for society with crippling debts hanging off her. So we will give her some money every month to offset the amount she has to borrow for fees.

My income is very variable due to be self-employed and several years since 2008 has been so negligible that I haven't even paid NI. Apparently translation is a service you can do without in a recession. Our spending power has halved in 10 years. We have planned every single smallest trip in the car over the last 5 years to make maximum use of the fuel expended. We buy our clothes in charity shops and on ebay. Haven't been on holiday for over 5 years. There is very little left to prune out from our budget. If this carried on (and it hopefully isn't going to as we have a Plan), we would have to sell our house and downsize.

duchesse Tue 01-Jul-14 14:29:31

Forgot to say practically all our food is cut price/ short dates. I manage to feed 6-7 people (depending on presence of foreign students and adult children) for £100-120/week.

DoAndroidsDream Tue 01-Jul-14 16:29:21

I earn much more than is stated but there is no way I would buy 6 bras a year! Would anyone?

My 6 breasts all need a bra, plus 3 in the wash. It's easy to see how 6 new bras are needed. confused

DoAndroidsDream Tue 01-Jul-14 16:40:31

Yes, if you earn less than £43,000 ish you are entitled to a number of means-related assistances

Which country are you in?

In the UK tax credits stops at £26k for families with 1 child. Over that amount, childcare costs can be claimed. For families with 2 children tax credits stop in the £30k region.

A lot of means tested benefits aren't available for working families.

I definitely buy more than 6 bras a year [blush ]

Wellidontknowifyoudont Tue 01-Jul-14 17:16:34

Agree with WooWoo i think it was who said JRF do lots of good stuff but things like this end up like this thread, which is very funny and entertaining but not the point. £71 on social and cultural activities had me ROFL smile.
You lot are hilairious.grin
6 bras = about the total I've had in my whole 40+ years of life.
7 pairs of tights = what DD gets through in a week, I've no idea what she does with them..but there's probably another thread on that somewhere.

Wellidontknowifyoudont Tue 01-Jul-14 17:18:06

Back to the 6 bras...but they don't even wear I using them incorrectly ? confused

Mine wear out! The elastic goes, they get a bit saggy. 6 is about right for me.
Seven pairs of tights is a bit silly though.

If you're wearing one that fits they definitely do wear out - the elastic stretches and the back stops supporting properly. If you don't notice your bra probably isn't doing much good tbh smile

now 7 pairs of tights - ha ha ha. Maybe if I only wore 100 denier wolford or falke (indestructable) but then I'd cook in summer and I doubt they budget £20+ per pair!

cakesonatrain Tue 01-Jul-14 17:56:24

Well if we reduce the bra budget to 4, that's another few multipacks of tights!

Chunderella Tue 01-Jul-14 18:59:42

Child tax credits- not childcare though- stop at 23k when you have one child, so it's even lower androids. 32k for two, 37k for three. It's true that 43k isn't any kind of magic figure, though. DH and I are on just less than that between us, with one, and all we get is child benefit. So just the one means related assistance.

Peregrin Tue 01-Jul-14 19:43:25

What amazes me is how little food other people get through! My first thought at that detailed shopping list was tha we eat way more than that. And we hardly ever even buy junk food (since I was forced to cut it out due to breastfed DC's allergies). 11 eggs a week is nothing! We consume way more protein and veggies (much of it frozen so cheaper).

Peregrin Tue 01-Jul-14 19:45:43

I should add that we are not obese!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 01-Jul-14 19:55:41


Apologies, I thought (read it) like you were calling people numpties. Yes, I do agree with the tax credits comments as we fall into this bracket.
Sometimes though the system just happens to work for the choices you make and it isn't a conscious decision to work fewer hours to receive a higher tc award.
It has worked well for us and other couples, but I know other parents with a low income who couldn't survive on tc top ups, they have gps for childcare and both work as they have an expensive lifestyle.
I suppose its not a one size fits all scenario with tax credits.

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 01-Jul-14 20:17:05

Apparently I have an unacceptably small amount of footwear. And too few bras. In fact, I appear to have an unacceptably small wardrobe, most of which is over a year old.

I can totally see what the JRF are trying to do here, but the actual details just open them up to being laughed at by the right wing press. £7.11 for alcohol a week and 6 new bras a year are exactly the sort of thing that gets the daily mail going. The problem is that people see these kind of details and write the whole thing off (because it does cost more to live the kind of life people would expect to call 'comfortable' in the country than you'd expect).

If you read the actual report, some of it is quite sweet and funny (or as sweet and funny as a report of this kind can be). I was really struck by the pensioners feeling that they needed two coach holidays in the UK this year (rather than just the one in the previous bit of research). The second one would be a shorter, midweek trip.

DrCoconut Tue 01-Jul-14 20:34:19

It claims we can get £116 a week in tax credits confused. Even with the disabled element for DS1 we don't get that.

weatherall Tue 01-Jul-14 20:57:54

Morethan- I used to help clients with appealing tax credit decision, trained other workers on tax credits and did full daily rate calculations by hand- but yeah I'm just some ignoramus who doesn't understand the system.

I hope that bitchy comment made you feel good.

JaneParker Tue 01-Jul-14 22:11:51

The benefits cap if £26k which is about £34k of before tax income. So someone in London with a few children who never works is given up to the equivalent of £34k a year of before tax income.

Six bras a year! I am not badly off at all and there has not been a year in my whole life when I've bought more than 2 bras at most.

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 01-Jul-14 22:16:18

I'd love to have been part of the focus group that came up with the 6 bras a year and 2 pairs of heels. Was there someone in there claiming that you needed a new pair of shoes every month and everyone else talked her down to two annually as a compromise?

Imagining the pensioners' debates over the two coach holidays a year causes me similar amusement. I can just imagine someone piping up with 'what about a battlefield coach tour? It's not in the UK but I think it's an important part of feeling included in society.' And someone else saying, 'oh, no. I think a night in a B&B at the seaside is more than sufficient.'

loombands Tue 01-Jul-14 23:10:47

my monthly outgoings for essentials is £1,700....and those are essentials, as in mortgage, utilities, childcare fees, £300 on groceries, no allowance for clothes/haircuts/shoes/ that is a salary of £24,480.

to be able to buy clothes for me and the kids or have any disposable income at all i need to earn over c£24.5K

morethanpotatoprints Tue 01-Jul-14 23:49:37


If you were the person calling other people numpty then what do you expect. I hope you don't talk to clients like that.
If you weren't then my post wasn't directed at you.
My comments weren't bitchy at all, I just stated what I understood from people I know. Tax credits aren't always enough for some people, especially if they have high outgoings.

GrouchyKiwi Wed 02-Jul-14 09:56:02

Wow, £40k?! Our DC2 is due in a few weeks and we'll be on £22k for the 4 of us. We'll cope just fine. Granted, we have no car, don't live in London (Edinburgh's expensive enough) and our mortgage is pretty low, but £40k seems well over the top.

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 10:49:57

great to hear you manage on 22k with no child benefit, child tax credit or working tax credit and two kids,but I think you are entitled to claim a fair amount of tax free money if you wish GrouchyKiwi

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 10:58:52

maybe 6k tax free benefits you are turning down there

DoAndroidsDream Wed 02-Jul-14 11:21:24

Is GrouchyKiwi in the UK and eligible for tax credits?

WhatsItAllAbout123 Wed 02-Jul-14 11:38:32

When I put the basic info in for 2 adults, a toddler and a baby; it suggested we needed £36k pa. I then found the bit where you could input your housing costs and utilities, it then suggested we need £54k pa. We live in the SE and have recently bought a 3 bed house (we are first time buyers, so our mortgage is huge). DH earns more than this and I would say we are comfortable. We can afford to eat out every now and thenu

WhatsItAllAbout123 Wed 02-Jul-14 11:41:19

Sorry, I'm on my phone.

We can afford to eat out every now and then and some other nice things, but we can't afford to drive fancy new cars and a trip to Disney would mean no holiday for a year or so.

WhatsItAllAbout123 Wed 02-Jul-14 11:44:41

Sorry, dd distracted me, so I don't think it is too far off if you put in your housing costs (I'm from the NW and I don't think you can rent anywhere there for £90 per week), etc for giving a minimum income to feel comfortable and be able to have some treats.

GrouchyKiwi Wed 02-Jul-14 12:01:07

Well, only one of us is working, so we don't qualify for working tax credits (apparently). We do get child benefit and a small child tax credit, though I guess the latter might go up once the second one arrives. (Sorry, forgot about the benefits.)

BrixtonBunny Wed 02-Jul-14 12:04:16

We have a household income of around £70k and are TTC #1. We live in London and currently rent (though hoping to buy a flat this winter) and are worried about how we will afford living in London when we eventually have a baby - we'd both like to work part time so we pay for less childcare (and spend more time with baby) but the idea of losing a chunk of our income when it's already so expensive living here is scary. We can't move as our jobs and friends and families are all based here.

Goes to show that different amounts in different areas really do lead to different lifestyles sad

GrouchyKiwi Wed 02-Jul-14 12:09:53

OK, with some rough maths (I am bad a maths), including Child benefits our income is less than £25k. That's still enough for comfortable living with the occasional trip to NZ, but looking at their breakdown on the calculator there are definitely places we save. Budgeting is a must.

MrsKoala Wed 02-Jul-14 12:22:16

I'm not sure we could live on the calculations they have given. For us - 2 adults and 2 children they have said about £35k. But their breakdown is way off what we pay. We are in a 2 bed rented flat in the south east. They have allocated £91 a week for rent, £22 for council tax and £2 for ins - Ha! our rent is £1300 a month, our council tax is £240 and our insurance is £50. But they have said £100 for food - we live on £50. £80 for cultural activities - we spend £0-10. £50 for clothes - err no.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 02-Jul-14 12:33:52

If you input the values of our rent and actual bills, the calculator says we need a gross income of £57k (around £50k if the income comes from two salaries) to have an 'adequate' standard of living. We live in the north east. A family income of £57k or £50k would be considered a really good income by most people up here.

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 13:54:38

GrouchyKiwi, you probably will get about 4500 child tax plus the child benefit (maybe just under 2000?) with 2 kids so just on the child tax that would be like a salary of about 30k after tax- edging nearer to 40k than 22k
there is maybe 6k difference in tax between a salary of 30k and 40k
i dont think (?) you would get the ctc on 40k with 2 kids though
(really rough estimates)
another family might get quite a bit more if they both worked or were single parents

melissa83 Wed 02-Jul-14 14:22:31

According to take home calculator 40k is 2.5k a month shock and thats for the minimum? What on earth

MrsKoala Wed 02-Jul-14 14:48:12

melissa - £2.5k would barely touch the sides round here. £13-1500 a month rent for a 2 bed flat no garden, £250 council tax, £400 fares (each if both working) Utilities about £300. So that's more than that without food or car or any other expenses. I would say that's defo the minimum. In fact we couldn't live on it.

GrouchyKiwi Wed 02-Jul-14 14:52:38

MrsK: is that London? That's insanely high.

Itsjustmeagain Wed 02-Jul-14 14:55:43

It wouldnt let me fill the info in properly as it only goes up to 4 children BUT with 4 it thinks I need to earn about £47,000. We earned more than this last year BUT with childcare it was wiping out every penny (it was £2000 a month) so this year I am a sahm so income will be less but we will have far more money just on dhs income - if that make sense.

MrsKoala Wed 02-Jul-14 14:56:02

No it's Kent. But we looked at London and this was still cheaper confused It IS insanely high, which is why we are desperate to buy and move somewhere cheaper. It's crippling us. We have not a penny left over every month and we never go out (fortunately we saved our deposit before DS was born).

melissa83 Wed 02-Jul-14 18:18:27

Yes but Londons different. Ive lived all over and 2500 everywhere I have been in North, Midlands and South would be enough for good living.

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 18:23:08

but what is good living?
thats what this survey is about i suppose. not 'bare minimum' but reasonable standards

melissa83 Wed 02-Jul-14 18:27:41

Abroad hols, nice car, mortgage etc. I have lots of friends in south where I am, north east and the midlands that have all those on a much lower income.

williaminajetfighter Wed 02-Jul-14 18:45:42

The problem with with this type of assessment is that it tells you the SALARY you need when in fact any review of standard of living should really ask for, and suggest, INCOME -- the amount of money from paid work, from benefits, from pensions etc. Salary itself is no longer a full indicator of how much disposable income one has or how well off one is. There is such a full range of benefits and other income sources available - and sometimes forgotten about as this thread shows - which wildly skews income figures.

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Wed 02-Jul-14 18:48:46

Maybe the survey should have reported the amounts as required for a comfortable life, rather than lowest acceptable basic needs, as plenty of the 'luxuries' amounts really were very generous, eg 6 new bras, 6 new dresses and 20 new pairs of knickers per year, along with quite a generous social activities allowance.

However, the amounts allowed for rent and other essential bills were tiny and even in my large northern city, with relatively cheap rent, there are only a few tens of 2 bedroom places, which were all flats or very small terraced houses available on rightmove at the amount allowed out of thousands overall.

In my mind a 'lowest acceptable amount' would pay bills for an appropriate sized house or flat in an average area, with children sharing bedrooms where appropriate, sensible amounts for food, transport and clothing (no new or nearly new cars, limited taxis, and about a third of the amounts of new clothes cited in the examples, and some luxuries like takeaways, meals out and days out, and perhaps a short UK holiday, but again probably about a half to a third of the amounts in the survey.

The survey also should have more accurately reflected the extreme regional variations in rents, perhaps by introducing 3 or 4 bands for London/South East/everywhere else.

MrsKoala Wed 02-Jul-14 18:49:59

Depends tho, we lived in MK (which is midlands-ish i suppose) and our bills on a tiny 2 bed terrace were £700 mortgage, £800 fares, £120 council tax, £100 gas and leccy, £50 water, £50 phone/internet, £30 mobiles, £50 car ins (on a crappy £200 banger), £300 food. So that's about £2200 without the cost of 2 dc and any childcare. It was the fares to London which put it up of course. But local jobs a) were not in our fields and b) wouldn't have paid as much.

nightsinmajorca Wed 02-Jul-14 18:50:15

It's a very blunt calculator, there is nowhere to specify that there are disabilities in the family, which are known to require a higher cost of living. We have 2 disabilities in the family, which means that our income exceeds the amount they say we need for our family size (£27,700), but really the only reason we have those additional payments (DLA) is to cover extra disability-related costs. We have relatively low cost housing (for London) at 110pounds pw, and no childcare costs (because my DD can't tolerate childcarers) which makes us appear much more comfortable than we are.

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 18:51:05

are they on a much lower income?

wtc on 20 000 can be over 5000
ditto ctc

so a salary of 20 000 can be increased tax free to 30 000 (so more like a salary of maybe 35 000)

meanwhile the person on 40 000 has to pay their own childcare

and that is not including housing benefit etc

melissa83 Wed 02-Jul-14 18:56:39

Im on much lower we are on 2136 all in and we are very well off.

melissa83 Wed 02-Jul-14 19:24:41

There is also no way you get 10k in tcs on a 20k salary with only 2 children. I help people do tc claims through my work and that is not true at all.

If there are childcare costs says that's totally realistic melissa83

Two adults earning 10K each (30 hours min wage-ish) with two under 5s and paying £300 childcare per week (childminders around here are £5 per hour per child and nurseries are more expensive) would receive £16140 in tax credits.

It spits out the same result for a single parent earning £20k with the same childcare costs.

Not sure if there's maybe an error with that.

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 19:45:27

i dont know tbh its just the table on the tax credits website
last time i quoted the wrong figure and it turned out to be the childcare element - 300 max per week
i tried to read the brochure more carefully this time
they are just max figures so i guess people can also get less

sanfairyanne Wed 02-Jul-14 19:47:07

people on 40 000 pay all their own childcare - whoosh goes the difference between 20k plus tc and 40k

melissa83 Wed 02-Jul-14 19:51:52

Not neccessarily plenty get that on 1 income.

People on lower incomes still put lots towards childcare. I pay a proportion out of thay 2136 but still have plenty left over and my children do 100 hours a week iin childcare thats why I have such a high household income.

Merguez Sat 05-Jul-14 18:32:54

6 bras a year! I have been wearing the same 3 bras for 3 years (which were 3 for 2 when I bought them).

20 pairs of knickers a year? I probably buy 3 or 4 at most. And I can still manage clean ones every day!! because they last a long time - I probably have a dozen altogether.

handcream Tue 08-Jul-14 19:00:54

I haven't read the whole thread but the JRT makes themselves look very foolish. They have clearly jumped on the bandwagon of everyone regardless of earnings, lifestyle choices etc needing to have the same as everyone else

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