Household Budget Series - Part 2, The Jammers (Just about managing) £70,000 household income

Household Budget Series - Part 2, The Jammers (Just about managing) £70,000 household income

Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
— Benjamin Franklin

Each and every one of us has a personal money journey.  Here at MoneyNotes, we’ll be producing a three part series to take a deeper look into how some of our MoneyNoters manage their different monthly budgets.

Part 2 – Introducing the “Jammers?”

JAM? No we are not talking about the sweet gooey stuff you spread on your toast or trying to  use hipster slang to mean partying. JAM has instead come to refer to a whole new social class - the “Just About Managing”. While it is somewhat tricky to find a single, fixed definition of those that fall into this category, those that are certified members of the JAM club were once thought to be  households just about earning UK average salary. However research carried out by revealed that many households earning above the UK average, and thus perceived to be “better-off” actually regard themselves as JAMs too! In fact, 50% of those surveyed with incomes of more than £70,000 said that they thought they were “just about managing” despite being in top 12% of UK household income distribution.

For the second interview in our series, we spoke to Nick* and Louise* earning close to £70,000 to get a second opinion.

1. Thanks for accepting to be interviewed, let’s start off with the top number, what is your combined household income? £70,000, Nick earns £45,000 and I take home £25,000.

2. How many of you in your household? Three of us. Two adults and a little one aged three. 

3. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies' Where do you fit in? calculator, Your household income puts you as being better off than 52 million others in Britain. Do you feel as a household you are comfortable? Comfortable? Absolutely not. We feel as if we are struggling from week to week. As you said earlier, JAM does not technically refer to someone in our earning bracket and it really makes us wonder if we are struggling how are the “True JAMs” coping.

4. What does your household budget look like: See below

The £70,000 Budget - The Jammers


Total Household Income per year


Monthly disposable Income


Monthly Expenses

Rent - Two bed flat

£ 1,400.00

Council Tax

£ 85.00

Gas, Electricity and Water

£ 120.00

Connectivity - Phone, Digital TV, TV licence and Broadband

£ 92.00

Food and Toiletries

£ 450.00

Mobile phones

£ 60.00

Eating out

£ 200.00

Monthly personal allowance for two

£ 300.00


£ 200.00


£ 50.00

Life Insurance

£ 55.00

Car Insurance

£ 50.00

Content insurance

£ 15.00

Nursery Fees

£ 600.00

Charitable giving

£ 30.00


£ 300.00

Savings towards buying a house

£ 250.00

Total Expense

£ 4,257.00

Buffer at the end of the month

£ 96.57


5. Wow, this is quite a tight budget and does not leave much room for manoeuvre, what is you biggest priority? Yes, we try our best to keep a close eye on the numbers, and balance being careful with enjoying ourselves, so the whole working process doesn’t feel too much like a grind.  Owning a house of our own is really important to us.  We’re very aware that we are at the mercy of our landlord with regards to rent increases.  We’ve been quite lucky in that we haven’t had any rent hikes in quite a while.  We’re also really lucky to have a bit of support with childcare or else things could be worse.

6. Which part of your budget excites you the most? It sounds quite boring but paying down our loans/credit card debt is something that really excites us.  We racked up quite high credit card bills before having our little one – we used to really go for it with shopping sprees, big holidays, and even things like personal training sessions. We weren’t really concerned with this for a while but this changed after speaking with MoneyNotes.  We initially just wanted some help with speeding up gathering money for a deposit on a house, but the information they shared with us made us aware of the impact that our debt was having on our savings. Now we’re quite excited about getting rid of our “bad debt”, and using the cash to focus on other areas that are more important to us.

7. What part of your budget do you loathe? Childcare! Yes, we get a bit of support from family and from the government already but if I’m honest the Government support feels like they’re just giving us some of our tax money back. We believe childcare should be completely free and not means tested at all. It means both parents can go to work and contribute to society. Sadly, the increased cost to us has played a huge part in our decision not to have another child.

8. Have you made plans for pensions? We both contribute (5% and 3% respectively) of salaries to our pension which sums up to £3,000.  It feels like quite a lot of money, but we’ve actually been told that it isn’t anywhere near enough to live as comfortably as we would like in retirement. We might actually fork out for some professional advice on this one day as even though it seems a long way away, this really is something that we need to think about.  

9. Do you allow yourselves the odd indulgence? Travelling. We tend to go for staycations and breaks in Europe rather than a big extravagant long haul.   We quite like train journeys so have done France and Belgium a few times.  We’re hoping to do longer haul train journeys once our little one is a bit older, and would love to do a big long haul to US or the Caribbean if we can ever save the cash. 

10. Finally what is your one money habit you would love to share with other MoneyNoters? We set a remainder to let us know when our deals on insurance and other household utility bills end so that we can compare the market for cheaper alternatives. We learnt the hard way a few years ago as we left our content insurance to renew automatically and found out two years later that we were paying £120 more over a year than we should have. The time taken to shop around is minimal compared to the money saved to be honest.

Coming up:

Part 3: The £30k millennial

* The names have been changed.



Household Budget Series - Part 3, The Millennial £30,000 household income

Household Budget Series - Part 3, The Millennial £30,000 household income

Household Budget Series - Part 1, the £205,000 Household

Household Budget Series - Part 1, the £205,000 Household