Family incomes fall over summer holiday season

Article date: 22 August 2012

But expenditure increases as families treat children

  • Household incomes fall by 7% to £2,003 in line with school holiday season
  • Amount spent on children’s activities soars by 33% year on year
  • Family debts creep up by 13% over quarter to £10,563

The latest Aviva Family Finances Report PDF (2MB), released today*, shows the average family income has fallen from £2,150 to £2,003 since May 2012, suggesting some parents are taking unpaid leave or cutting down on hours to care for children during school holidays. 

While incomes have dropped, expenditure has increased and families are shelling out more than ever to entertain their families, spending nearly £1,800 a year (£148 per month). The report also examines the trend of intergenerational living and looks at how these families fare - both financially and emotionally - under one roof. This is detailed in a separate news release**.
Treats take place of holidays
Almost half (46%) of families say they have not spent anything on holidays this quarter, although the vast majority (79%) have paid for entertainment and leisure activities. This suggests many people could be enjoying ‘stay-cations’ this year and taking advantage of amusements closer to home.

On average families are spending £63 per month on leisure interests (excluding holidays), while children’s activities add £85 to parents’ monthly bills. The families who do pay for breaks budget an average of £158 per month, amounting to £1,896 annually. 

Average debt now more than £10,000 as families help out
Family debt levels have risen over the quarter, creeping up from £9,314 in May 2012 to £10,563 (excluding mortgage debt). The most common types of borrowing are through credit cards (£5,134) personal loans (£8,555) and overdrafts (£4,423).

However, loans from family and friends have more than doubled over the last quarter from £701 (May 2012) to £1,545 (August 2012). This is the highest figure disclosed since the report series began, and perhaps an indication that people are turning to families to avoid more formal borrowing and its associated charges.

Proportion of ‘well-off’ families falls
While incomes have fallen overall, figures also suggest a drop in the number of more ‘well-off’ families. The report series shows the proportion of families with an income of more than £2,500 per month has fallen from 36% to 31% year on year. This seems to suggest that while employment figures have improved, salaries at the mid to upper end of the scale may not have done.

Savings take a seasonal knock – but the outlook is good
The typical family’s savings fell to £1,131 (Aug 2012) from £1,228 (May 2012) but remain higher than the same period last year (£982 – Aug 2011). In addition, the number of families with no savings rose to 28% (Aug 2012) from 24% (May 2012), but again this is lower than in August 2011 (31%). This is positive news as it indicates that while people may take money out of savings to meet summer costs, year on year the overall trend suggests more families are saving.

Louise Colley, head of protection sales and marketing for Aviva says: “Again this report shows that families are making difficult decisions to balance the books. Even in the peak holiday season, almost half of families aren’t spending any money on breaks, but it seems parents are trying to reach a compromise by spending on days out and children’s activities.

“As every parent knows, school holidays can be a financial challenge, particularly for workers who don’t receive paid leave. However it seems that families are trying to cut their cloth accordingly and the fact that some have dipped into savings this quarter suggests they may have been planning ahead.  Families can take comfort in the fact that summer is the ultimate seasonal blip and that normality will return soon!”

Download the Aviva Family Finances report - August 2012 PDF (2MB)

* The Aviva Family Finances report is an in-depth study into the financial needs of the 84% of the UK population who live as part of a modern family. Based on customer profiles and Government data Aviva has recognised the six most common types of modern family as:
–    Living in a committed relationship with no plans to have children
–    Living in a committed relationship with plans to have children
–    Living in a committed relationship with one child
–    Living in a committed relationship with two or more children
–    Divorced/separated/widowed with one or more child
–    Single parent raising one or more child alone

**See separate news release at

Data was sourced from the Aviva Family Index which used findings from over 14,000 people who are members of one of the six groups of families identified above via OpinionMatters. This report is a definitive look at the personal finances of families in the UK. Not only does it look at personal wealth, income sources and expenditure patterns but also tracks how these change across the different types of family unit.

In addition to the regular data, in each edition a spotlight will be shone onto a different relevant topic. This issue has a focus on multi-generational living.

- ends -

Notes to editors:

A separate news release with a focus on multi-generational living (more than one generation of families sharing a home) is also available.  If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva Press Office: Sarah Poulter: 01904 452828 / 07800 691569:

The Wriglesworth Consultancy: Lee Blackwell / Ben Marquand 020 7427 1400
About Aviva:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.
We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.
We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours.
Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life. Find out more at
The Aviva media centre at includes company information and a news release archive.

For broadcast-standard video, please visit
Follow us on twitter:

Back to top