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Is 30k a Good Salary in the UK?

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
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Is 30k a Good Salary in the UK?

“Is 30k a good salary in the UK?” is a pressing question for many aiming to understand their financial standing.

In this article, I’ll explore the value of this salary in relation to the UK’s living costs and lifestyle standards, providing clarity on whether it meets your desired living expectations.

So, in a nutshell, is 30k a good salary in the UK? In the UK, a £30k salary is just below the average for full-time employees. It offers a basic standard of living, especially in regions with lower living costs. However, in high-cost areas like London, this salary will require careful budgeting.

This article was reviewed by Tobi Opeyemi Amure, an investing expert and writer at InvestopediaInvesting.com, and Trading.biz.

Is 30k a Good Salary in the UK?

In the UK, a £30,000 salary is a bit below the national full-time average of £33,000.

This average varies by region: London’s full-time workers earned an average of £41,866 in 2022, while North East England, the lowest-paid region that year, had an average of £29,5211.

Earning £30,000 in London is tough due to living costs, being £11,866 less than the city’s average.

But in the North, especially rural areas, £30,000 goes further.

Your job type matters too. Starting account managers might earn £22,000, while new engineers could get £30,000. Jobs like care workers or recruitment consultants often start at around £30,000.

Overall, £30,000 is a bit less than the UK’s average wage of £33,000. Yet, away from cities like London, it can be a good salary, more so if you have no dependents or split costs.

What Is 30k After Tax? Evaluating Take-Home Pay

On a £30,000 salary, you’ll receive £23,848 after deducting tax and National Insurance. Monthly, this is £1,987, weekly it’s £459, and if you work 5 days a week, it amounts to £92 daily. For a 40-hour week, this is roughly £11 per hour2.

£30k salary after tax.

Additional pension contributions, student loan repayments, and other payroll deductions would further reduce take-home pay.

Is £30k a Good Salary for My Age?

For those aged 22-29 earning £30,000 per year, this is above average. But for those 30 and older, it’s below the average for their age group.

AgeMedian Average Yearly
18-21£20,888
22-29£28,413
30-39£35,526
40-49£37,825
50-59£35,402
60+£31,340
Source: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8456/CBP-8456.xlsx

Is £30K a Good Salary Where You Live?

In the UK, a salary’s worth varies by location. The North East’s average salary is £29,521, compared to London’s £41,866.

London will be a struggle on £30k, requiring shared housing and careful budgeting. Whereas it will go further in the North East.

Statistic: Median annual earnings for full-time employees in the United Kingdom in 2022, by region (in GBP) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Can You Live in London on a £30k Salary?

Living on a £30,000 salary in London is tough due to high costs.

Rents for a basic one-bedroom flat can be £1,500 monthly, or £18,000 yearly, which is 60% of a £30k salary.

Travel costs are high, with public transport at £150 monthly. Driving has added costs from fuel, tax, ULEZ, and city parking.

After paying for rent, most of your money goes on groceries, utilities, and council tax. Sharing a flat or renting a room can help save on rent, but it reduces privacy.

It’s important to limit extra spending on things like eating out or trips, as funds are tight.

In summary, living on a £30,000 salary in London means being very careful with money. Extra income or family help can ease the financial strain.

You may find my guide on ‘What is a good salary in London?‘ useful if you are London-based.

Is 30k a Year Enough to Live on UK?

On a £30,000 yearly salary in the UK, you can lead a modest lifestyle, especially outside major cities like London. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Housing: In regions with lower living costs, rents are more affordable than in cities. But in London, you might need to consider sharing a flat to manage high rents.
  2. Travel: Public transport costs vary, but are generally manageable on this salary. Driving includes added expenses like fuel and tax.
  3. Basic needs: Groceries, utilities, and council tax will take up a portion of your budget. Shopping at discount stores and conserving utilities can help.
  4. Leisure: Some discretionary spending on outings or entertainment is possible, but budgeting is key.
  5. Savings: While you can save a bit, big financial goals like buying a home might require more income, especially in pricier areas.

In summary, while £30,000 is enough for basic needs and a bit of leisure, careful budgeting is crucial, especially if living in pricier areas.

How Much to Spend on Rent With a £30K Salary?

With a £30,000 salary, you may spend £600-£800 on rent each month. This is 30-40% of your take-home pay. Ideally, you’d spend only 30% on rent, or about £620. But rising rents, especially in London, make this hard.

In big UK cities, this budget may only get you a shared house room due to high costs. In contrast, in the North, the same budget could get you a city flat or a two-bedroom rural house.

Factor in other bills like council tax, gas, electricity, phone, and transport before setting a rent budget.

To save on housing, think about having roommates, living at home, or splitting costs with a partner.

Can I Buy a House on a 30k Salary?

With a £30k salary, you may be able to buy a house, but it needs good planning. Lenders often let you borrow 3.5 to 5 times your yearly salary before tax, so you could get up to £120,000.

If you can give a 5% deposit, you can borrow between £100,000 and £120,000.

In cities like London, a £120,000 house is rare. You’ll have better options in rural areas, with flats or small cottages. Pairing up with someone can boost your budget, as combined incomes raise how much you can borrow.

If you take a £120,000 loan at 6% interest, you’ll pay around £719 monthly for 30 years. This doesn’t count costs like council tax and utilities. If interest rates jump by 3%, your monthly cost will rise.

Be careful not to over-borrow, as high-interest rates can strain your budget. If you team up with a partner, splitting the mortgage can ease payments.

For those self-employed, lenders may see your income as less steady, which could limit what you can borrow. You might also think about shared ownership to afford a better place.

To sum up, buying on a £30k salary takes smart budgeting and maybe teaming up with someone for a joint purchase.

What Can You Do With 30k Salary UK?

Earning a £30,000 salary in the UK is around the national average for individual earners, depending on the year and specific statistics you’re referencing.

Your comfort level and lifestyle on this income will largely depend on your location, personal circumstances, and lifestyle choices.

Here’s an overview of what to expect and some suggestions for managing a £30k salary in the UK:

  1. Location: As with other salary levels, your location plays a significant role in how far your money goes. Living in London and the South East will be more challenging on a £30k salary compared to regions with a lower cost of living like the North or Wales.
  2. Housing:
    • In London, you may be limited to renting a room in a shared house or a studio apartment. Outside of London, your options would likely expand to a one-bedroom flat.
    • Homeownership on this salary might be challenging, especially without a substantial deposit or in pricier areas.
  3. Transport:
    • Running a car would be feasible, but you’d need to be mindful of the type and age of the vehicle for cost-effectiveness.
    • Public transportation costs should be manageable, especially with annual passes or cards offering discounts.
  4. Saving & Investments: It’s always wise to save, though there will be less room for significant savings. Aiming for 10% of your salary would be commendable, though specific savings will depend on your monthly expenses.
  5. Leisure & Travel: Budget holidays, occasional dining out, and cultural events would be possible. However, more extravagant trips or frequent leisure activities would need careful budgeting.
  6. Utilities & Bills: Regular expenses like utilities, council tax, phone, and internet will need careful budgeting. It’s beneficial to shop around for the best deals to keep costs down.
  7. Debts: If you have debts, these will, of course, affect how much disposable income you have. It’s essential to prioritise high-interest debts.
  8. Education & Training: Additional courses or training might require budgeting or seeking financial aid options.
  9. Emergency Fund: Setting aside some money for unexpected costs is always a good idea, even if it’s a small amount each month.

To maximise a £30k salary:

  • Budgeting: It’s crucial to keep a detailed record of your income and outgoings. There are various tools and apps like YNAB (You Need A Budget) or Money Dashboard that can help, check out my guide on the best budgeting apps UK.
  • Limit Non-Essential Spending: Be mindful of impulse purchases and luxuries.
  • Shop Smart: Look for discounts, use cashback websites, and consider buying second-hand when appropriate.
  • Plan Ahead: If you know a significant expense is coming up, start setting money aside in advance.

Here’s a good video that discusses average salaries in the UK:

How to Budget a £30k Salary?

Budgeting a £30k salary effectively involves understanding your post-tax income, prioritising essential expenses, and allocating funds to savings and discretionary spending.

Here’s a step-by-step guide tailored to a £30k salary in the UK:

  1. Understand Your Take-Home Pay: After income tax and National Insurance, a £30k salary might leave you with approximately £23,848 annually, or roughly £1,987 per month.
  2. Essential Expenses:
    • Housing: A general rule is to spend no more than 30% of your take-home pay on housing. Based on your net monthly income, this amounts to around £596.
    • Utilities & Bills: Set aside about 10% of your net income (£198 monthly) for electricity, gas, water, and internet.
    • Transportation: If using public transport, budget for monthly passes or tickets. If driving, consider fuel, insurance, and maintenance, which could amount to 10-15% of your income.
    • Food: Allocate around 10% of your net income (£198 monthly) for groceries.
    • Debts & Loans: If you have any debts, ensure you cover the minimum repayments and aim to pay more if possible.
  3. Savings & Investments:
    • Emergency Fund: Aim to save 3-6 months’ worth of expenses for unexpected costs.
    • Retirement: If your employer offers a pension scheme, contribute enough to take advantage of any match they offer.
    • Short & Long-Term Goals: Set aside money for future plans, whether it’s travel, buying a home, or further education.
  4. Discretionary Spending:
    • Entertainment & Leisure: After essential expenses and savings, you might allocate 10-15% of your net income towards leisure activities.
    • Health & Fitness: Consider gym memberships, health supplements, or other health-related expenses.
    • Personal Care: Budget for clothing, cosmetics, and grooming.
  5. Annual Expenses: Remember to budget for yearly costs like car MOT, insurance premiums, or subscriptions.
  6. Review & Adjust: At least once a month, review your expenses. Track your spending using budgeting apps or spreadsheets to ensure you’re sticking to your limits. Adjust as needed.
  7. Cutting Costs: If you find your expenses exceeding your income, look for areas to cut back. This might involve switching to cheaper utility providers, buying non-brand groceries, or seeking additional income sources.

Remember, these percentages are general guidelines and can be adjusted based on individual needs and circumstances. The key is to live within your means, prioritise savings, and be mindful of your spending habits.

Is 30k a Good Salary in the UK? – Final Thoughts

On a £30k salary in the UK, you can cover living costs in many areas but will need to be careful in London.

Housing in pricey regions might be harder to afford, but cheaper options exist elsewhere.

It’s vital to weigh personal needs and long-term money goals. Proper budgeting, smart spending, and getting expert advice can help stretch your income.

While earnings matter, planning and saving are key. Being active in managing your money ensures a stable financial future on a £30k salary.

FAQs

Is £30,000 a good salary in the UK?

While legal and livable, £30,000 falls below UK salary averages. It’s considered a modest income requiring careful budgeting, especially for families or in higher-cost areas.

Can I afford to live alone in the UK on £30,000?

On £30k you may be able to live alone in the least expensive regions if you find low-cost housing. In major cities like London, flatsharing is a financial necessity.

What percentage of UK households earn £30,000 or less annually?

Approximately the bottom 30-40% of UK households earn £30,000 or under. So it represents a below-average salary nationwide3.

Can I support a family on a £30,000 salary?

Supporting a family on £30,000 alone is extremely difficult across the UK. Dual incomes closer to the national average would be required for comfortable living with kids.

At £30,000, can I afford to buy a house one day?

Buying a home on a £30k salary alone is only achievable if you live in one of the least expensive UK regions and save diligently. Homeownership requires significant compromise.

How can I boost my £30,000 salary over time?

Further education and training, developing specialised skills, seeking promotions, changing fields, freelancing on the side, and relocating to higher-paying job markets can grow your earnings.

Is 30k a good salary in Scotland?

Earning a salary of £30,000 in Scotland can provide a reasonable income to cover living costs and maintain a comfortable lifestyle, according to. However, it is important to keep in mind that the amount of disposable income you have will depend on your lifestyle and expenses. Additionally, the cost of living can vary depending on the region of Scotland you live in.

Is 30k a year middle class? 

On a £30k a year salary, you’d likely be considered lower to middle class in many regions, depending on the cost of living and household size. The definition of “middle class” can vary based on location, economic factors, and individual circumstances4.

More salary guides:

Sources:

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/416139/full-time-annual-salary-in-the-uk-by-region/ ↩︎
  2. https://www.reed.co.uk/tax-calculator/30000 ↩︎
  3. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8456/ ↩︎
  4. https://blogs.bath.ac.uk/iprblog/2019/07/01/whither-the-middle-class/ ↩︎

Will Fenton is the founder of Sterling Savvy. He is a personal finance expert and writes about trading, investing, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Along with his education in Economics & Finance, he has experience working in the financial services industry in London working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”.

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