Life begins at Forty

thousand pounds a year it seems.

Hubby drew my attention to this (source)
Then he played around a bit with a site called  which confirmed that our joint income does not allow us to have a decent standard of living. To do so we would need an income of £9593 EACH, or net income of £362.68 per week, even taking into account we have no rent or mortgage to pay.

Are you laughing yet?
I’m wetting myself, and no, that’s not tears of despair.

“Figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation show that each parent in a working couple with two children needs to earn £20,000 in order to fund a reasonable lifestyle, up from £13,900 in 2008. 

A single person needs to earn £18,400, an increase from £13,400 a decade ago.”

Hubby and I are not a working couple with kids, so childcare doesn’t apply to us.

We own a modest car, and running it does not equate even close to £37 pw. The  total for 2017 was £1675, £1130 of that being fuel because we were house hunting (this year to date £480) and the remaining £545 insurance/maintenance/MOT/Road Tax. Servicing did not apply as we’d bought the car new and the first three years services were included in the deal.

Let us also look at food.

“…….but a minimum food budget for a single person rose from £29 to £44 a week…..”

OK, I admit our food bill has increased. Last year it was just under £1800, around £34 pw FOR THE TWO OF US AND THE DOG.
Yes, I have the time and means (ie. own transport) to shop around for a bargain. However, because I’ve done so in the past, I already have preferred outlets for my groceries and plan my shopping accordingly. I also have the added bonus of no kids to control as I shop.

We have no concessions with our utility bills, opting for a fixed rate energy package until Oct 2019 at a cost of £60 pm, our water is £30 pm and our broadband deal (fixed until March 2019) has a budget of £30 pm. We aim for less than that by restricting our outgoing calls, preferring to use the mobile. That is a simple PAYG, text and calls only, with no contract.
Our local tax hammers us for £1300 a year, we have no TV, cable or otherwise, and neither drink or smoke.

But look at this:

“The report also found that the gap in living costs between older people and working people has closed, as pensioners spend more on smartphones, computers and new clothes.
A typical pensioner couple now spends more than their working-age counterparts on culture and socialising and alcoholic drinks, and almost as much as them on clothing and food.  “

Hubby and I have to wait until 2021 and 2022 respectively for our State Pensions. I’ve already explained the mobile phone, we have five year old laptops and the clothes we wear every day are also at least five years old, but they are clean and presentable. In fact, we are on the lookout for new joggers for each of us, which we’ll pick up for around £6 a pair. We make do, not go for designer labels and the price tags that go with them.
As for spending our money on culture, socialising and alcoholic drinks, well, I’m still choking on that, especially when pubs want £2.50 for a pint of soda and lime!

I’m not knocking the report, as I have no idea what is meant by a decent standard of living upon which they have based their figures. All I can say is that if more people were to live within their means and not have such big ideas, grand expectations or expensive tastes, maybe an article like this wouldn’t appear so ludicrous to me and no doubt quite a few other people on limited incomes but living pretty well thank you very much.

Note: I was tempted to tag this post under Fiction as we are neither martyrs or liars.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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12 Responses to Life begins at Forty

  1. colinandray says:

    Totally understand your perspective. We have (apparently) a housing crisis here because prices have increased so much that young couples can no longer afford to buy their own home! My response is simply “So rent for a few years and save for your home!” There would be a bonus spin-off because, if less people bought those homes, the prices would eventually drop simply due to changing market conditions. Society is very much in the “I want it now” mind-set, which is rather sad as it offers a high chance of disappointment.

    • Hi Colin, I feel for younger couples trying to get on the property ladder when prices are so ridiculously high, and here rents are high too. To me, the Buy to Let brigade killed off the starter home market snapping up the cheaper properties which would attract first time buyers.
      I just can’t get my head round reports like these though and have to ask myself what kind of life do these people lead? What cars do they drive, what is in their social circle, do they drink or smoke, do they eat out a lot, do they have the latest in phone, TV and audio technology? Hubby and I chose not to have these things, and even when we were working, we weren’t extravagant, but didn’t go without a holiday or treats.
      We are lucky in that we own our home outright, but that wouldn’t have necessarily come about if I hadn’t been made redundant and used my final wage packet to halve our mortgage. Hubby lost his job a little while later, so we took a gamble and cashed in our endowment policy (the company having wiped off all profits as it had more than ten years to run and they were short for policies maturing that year), used our savings, and paid off the rest. It left us with about two hundred quid, but it was the best thing we ever did. Guess it’s our age group where we have different priorities and were prepared to work/save for the luxuries rather than borrow to the hilt and then have problems meeting the repayments. We’re doing OK, we eat well, keep warm in the winter, meet the bills and have a little bit of mad money left over. What more would we want?

      • colinandray says:

        Totally agree with you. I had a young family in UK in 1975 and was making no progress financially, hence the decision to emigrate. Now, many years later, I am comfortable … but that does not include a lot of high-end items. My lifestyle is quite conservative but then, I do not need a lot of material things to be happy. I just hope that the current materialistic approach to life will morph into something a little more practical.

  2. foguth says:

    LOL, we hear the same nonsense from our ‘experts’ here in the USA. IMHO, this sort of stuff creates false expectations. Worse, if one doesn’t feel as if they’re equal to others, they often get depressed and/or do rash things.
    Years ago, I knew a woman who literally lived in a Tee-pee in order to save money to buy a house. Don’t see many taking that much responsibility to solve fiscal issues these days.

    • One of the reason we bought the boat was that the property market got away from us and with a dog, it was cheaper than trying to rent, especially as we would have no way to replace our expenditure. It also bought us time, though we had hoped to have longer as liveaboards.

      • foguth says:

        Our first house was a fixer upper that had been on the market for 2 years. It was in a good area and had a good floor plan, but the woman who’d lived there fancied herself an artist…worse, she loved wallpaper – ever papered some of the ceilings….had 12 layers of paper on some walls…. Spent 2 months stripping paper, then applied a lot of white paint. Sold it 5 years later for double our investment.

      • We lost a lot on our first house with the property crash of the 90s. We more or less broke even on our second, made a killing after 9 years on our third and lost a lot on our fourth. We lost a little on the boat, but it was still cheaper overall than renting for three years.

  3. SarahC says:

    Interesting to see how they ‘figure’ these things across the pond….even here in se USA people spend spend and other needs are astronomical. Our job salary (quote unquote) include our elected,water,roof over head. We managing apts. Own home try to rent it but people arch….probably gonna have to sell. Can’t live much more Minimalist until we move into camper!

  4. SarahC says:

    Lol electric not elected @#$

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