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1 in 4 spend over half their income on payday

1 in 4 spend over half their income on payday

Research from KPMG UK finds 23% of people in the UK spend more than half their income on the day it is paid into their account.


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Lisa Fernihough
  • Credit card and debt repayments are the biggest payday expense for 1 in 3
  • Millennials are the biggest payday spenders
  • Living Wage Foundation says 6 million people still paid less than living wage

Research from KPMG UK finds 23% of people in the UK spend more than half their income on the day it is paid into their account. Utility bills, housing costs, and credit card or debt payments make up the top three most common payday outgoings for the UK public at large. Twenty percent prioritised their savings on payday, up from 18% in 2018.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, over half (52%) of people in the UK are forced to source extra cash to see them through to their next payday with most turning to credit cards (21%), overdrafts (13%) and borrowing from their partner (12%).

Lisa Fernihough, Head of Financial Services Consultancy, KPMG UK says: “With over half of the people in the UK forced to rely on extra cash to keep them afloat for the month, clearly either income, lifestyle or financial literacy is far from where it needs to be. For 14% of the UK, one of their biggest expenditures in the month is paying off loans. Fintechs are currently offering solutions that can help consumers avoid or manage debt. As consumers gain confidence with this sort of technology I hope to see these numbers improve.”

Millennials are the worst affected with 29% spending more than half their income in one day. Further, whilst the average person in the UK spends around 31% of their earnings on payday, millennials are spending 37%.

Those aged 18 – 24, so likely to be just entering the work force or heading to University, are five times more likely to end payday in the red than the national average*.

Nine percent of this age group also say a ‘payday treat’ makes up one of their most significant expenditures within 24 hours of getting paid, nationally just 2% of people said the same.

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, says: “Today’s research reveals just how many people in the UK are living hand to mouth each month, often borrowing to get through to payday. One way employers can help tackle this is by ensuring workers earn a real Living Wage that covers the cost of living. We now need to see more employers join the over 5,000 responsible Living Wage employers that have committed to pay a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.”




Notes to Editors

*National average for spending >100% of main income within 24 hours = 0.74%. The equivalent number for 18 – 24 year olds is 3.92%.

Research conducted by Opinium between 19th to 22nd July 2019 amongst 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ who are nationally representative of the UK population.

See the data for 2018 here.

In an effort to improve the UK’s financial literacy KPMG support National Numeracy Day, find out more or get involved here.


For more information contact:

Olivia Shalofsky, KPMG Corporate Communications

M: +44 (0)7469441308



Christina Bridge, KPMG Corporate Communications

M: +44 (0)7789 504905



About KPMG in the UK

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 16,300 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.338 billion in the year ended 30 September 2018. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and has 200,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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