Is £30k A Good Salary In The UK?

James Beattie By James Beattie 17 Min Read

It can be hard to know exactly what is or isn’t a good salary in the UK. Most people don’t talk about money and asking other people what they are getting paid is considered rude. This makes it hard to know whether or not our salary is good.

Here we are going to take a look at living on £30k per year in the UK. Is £30k a good salary for your age? Is it good for your area? Let’s find out.

Quick Overview
A £30k salary is £3,280 lower than the Median average salary of £33,280 for full-time workers. Outside of major cities such as London and Manchester £30,000 can be considered a good salary.

How Does £30k Compare To The Median UK Salary?

The Median average salary in the UK is £33,280 for full-time workers. Making £30,000 per year is only £3,280 away from the median average. Earning £30k a year makes you a slightly below-average earner.

However, these averages take into account large cities such as London where wages are significantly higher on average. If you are earning £30k in cheaper cost-of-living areas this is a reasonably good salary.

If you do not have any dependents and live with a partner or housemate, you can live a very comfortable lifestyle on £30k while also putting away money for retirement.

Is £30k A Good Salary For Your Age?

As we can see from the ONS data below, if you are earning £30,000 per year you are an above-average earner if you are aged 22-29. However, if you are aged 30+ you are a below-average earner for your age.

AgeMedian Average Yearly

If you are early in your career with plenty of room for promotion, then £30,000 per year is a great starting salary. Making £30,000 per year under 30 puts you in the Top 50% of earners for that age bracket in the UK.

At 30-60 you would hope to be making slightly more than £30k per year. At this stage of life, you could potentially have worked your way to a management position in a company giving you a strong boost in earnings.

Many people will also be considering starting a family and buying a house in their 30s. I would recommend working hard through this period of your career to maximise your earnings. If you feel you are behind the curve you should keep an eye out for more lucrative jobs in your field. People who move jobs more frequently in their field tend to have higher overall earnings.

Is £30k A Good Salary Where You Live?

Where you live will have a significant impact on whether or not £30k is a good salary or not. If we take a looked at the ONS data below we can see that the median average salary in London is £41,866 per year whereas in the North East, it is £29,521 per year.

In London, you may struggle to find affordable rent within your budget on a £30,000 salary. Whereas someone in the North East can likely live comfortably in a larger house with the same salary.

Median Average Salary By Region For Full Time Employees in The UK 2022
Median Average Salary By Region For Full-Time Employees 2022 (Source)

If you live anywhere outside of London, the South East, or Scotland a £30,000 salary is close to the median average.

Can You Live On £30k In London?

A £30k salary in London will be tough to live on. Covering rent and living costs will eat away at most of your budget. This won’t leave you very much money left over for entertainment and saving/investing.

You will also likely be living in a worse house or apartment than you would if you were living in a cheaper cost-of-living location across the UK. You will most certainly have room mates or at a minimum be living with a partner contributing to living expenses as well.

Unless you have a great job opportunity that will see you getting paid a much higher salary in the near future, you will likely be able to live a much more stress-free, financially secure life elsewhere in the country.

What Is £30k After Tax In The UK?

Earning a £30k salary in the UK does not mean you will be bringing that home every month. You will receive a net amount each month after tax and national insurance contributions.

On a £30,000 salary, you will be in the 20% tax bracket. We also get a tax-free allowance of £12,570 per year currently. This means you will be paying 20% tax on the remaining £17,430.

This means you will pay £3,486 in Tax and £2,092 in National Insurance.

How £30,000 Salary Is Broken Down After Tax

Your net take-home pay after tax and national insurance payments is £24,422 per year or £2,035 per month.

Some people may also have student loans which will be paid back from your salary decreasing these amounts even more.

Budget Template For £30k Salary

While living on a £30,000 per year salary it is important to know where your money is actually going each month. Creating a budget allows you to stick to a pre-determined plan each month.

Having a solid budget allows you to know exactly where your money is going at the start of each month. Being disciplined and sticking to your budget allows you to get ahead massively in life by only spending what you need and investing each month.

If you are making £2,052 per month after tax, you can follow the rough budget template below. Here we will follow the 50/30/20 rule. This means 50% goes towards needs, 30% to living life, and 20% to savings.

Monthly Net Income£2,052
Entertainment, Clothing£572
Saving & Investing£410
Budget For A £30k Salary UK

Depending on where you live you may need to spend slightly more on rent. If you are single with no dependents I would recommend finding somewhere to house share in your early years. This can save a lot of money allowing you to contribute more to investing early on which will benefit you massively with compound interest.

Budget Template For £30,000 Salary

If you want to retire early I would recommend cutting down slightly on the entertainment side of the budget and contributing more to your investments.

If you want to get into more detail with your own personal budget, I would recommend checking out our Monthly Budgeting Google sheet.

50/30/20 Budget Planner - Google Sheets
  • Monthly Budget Overview
  • Custom Categories
  • Transaction Log
  • View Daily Spending Overview
  • Track Needs, Wants, Savings/Investments & Debts

Housing On A £30k Salary

Housing is usually one of our biggest expenses in life. On a £30k salary, housing can eat into your budget relatively quickly if you overextend yourself.

From my own personal experience, having a bigger house with extra rooms that you don’t even use is not worth the extra financial stress. My current mortgage is less than 10% of my take-home earnings.

This gives me so much room to invest heavily while still being able to enjoy life. I take regular holidays and trips while still investing and saving around 40% of my earnings.

Let’s take a look at how much rent or mortgage you can afford on a £30,000 salary.

How Much To Spend On Rent With A £30k Salary

When it comes to renting, you ideally want to spend less than 30% of your net take-home income. This means that on a £30,000 salary, you should be spending approximately £620 on your rent.

Over the past few years, rent prices have been rising with wages staying stagnant. This means that your rent is likely eating further into your budget than it ever has before. In certain areas in the UK £620 may not be enough for your rent budget.

I would recommend trying to keep your rent between £600 and £750 per month. Going over £750 a month really starts to stretch your budget and will likely lead to less money going into investments and savings.

If you are young, living at home or finding a roommate is a great way to keep housing costs low in your early years. Once you find a partner you can then split rent with them making housing much more affordable than doing it alone.

Can I Buy A House On A £30k Salary?

Yes, buying a house is possible on a £30k salary, especially if you are buying with a partner. Your combined income will be more than enough to qualify for a mortgage.

You will need at least a 5% deposit before considering getting a mortgage. If you have that saved up you can start taking a look at some potential houses.

Generally, you will be able to get 3.5 – 5x your annual salary before tax.

On a £30,000 per year salary, you will be able to borrow approximately £120,000. With interest rates currently around 6% this would give you a monthly payment of £719 per month on a 30-year mortgage.

This is slightly above our 30% rule for housing and you also have to consider other bills such as council tax, utilities and maintenance.

Personally, I do not recommend borrowing the most you are allowed to as this can end up being unaffordable with rising costs. It looks like we may see mortgage rates rise above 6%. Another 3% move up could see your mortgage increase by a couple of hundred pounds.

If you are purchasing with a partner, purchasing a house in this range makes much more sense. With your combined household budget, you should be able to comfortably afford £719 per month and also have wiggle room if mortgage rates continue to rise.

How To Make £30k Go Further

It can be hard living on a £30,000 salary but if you make some smart choices it becomes much more manageable.

Stay At Home

If you are currently in your early 20s I would recommend staying at home with your parents for a few years to save as much of your salary as possible. If this is an option for you, you can rapidly save towards a deposit for a house rather than spending that money on rent.

I stubbornly moved out of my parent’s house and started paying £800/month in rent at 21. Had I stayed at home for another 3 years I could have saved almost £30,000 and that’s not including utilities and food which likely would have been cheaper at home.

That’s a significant chunk of money that could be used to put a deposit on your first house.

Audit Your Finances

It’s crazy how many people just avoid looking at their finances. At a minimum, you should be auditing your bank accounts every quarter but ideally once a month.

  • Look for any recurring subscriptions which can be canceled
  • Analyse your spending to see if you have any bad spending habits (eating out too much etc)
  • Can your savings be moved to a higher-interest savings account?
  • Can you get a cheaper price on bills such as electric, insurance, TV subscriptions etc

Cook For Yourself

Eating out is getting more and more expensive by the day. Packing a lunch each day and cooking a homemade meal at night is a much cheaper option. Not to mention it’s much healthier.

“I don’t know how to cook” is not an excuse. Anyone can search for some easy recipes on Youtube and put a good meal together. Not to mention they will be much healthier than eating take out.

Keep Savings In A High-Interest Savings Account

Now that interest rates are rising, savings interest rates in banks are also rising. Ensure you are shopping the market and getting the highest return on your money.

How To Make More Than £30k

If you want to make more than £30k there are a few options to consider:

  • Continue to work hard and climb the corporate ladder if your job has room for growth
  • Be on the lookout for higher-paying jobs in your area of expertise
  • Get a second job at night and on the weekend (This can be a good option if you are looking to get rid of bad debt quickly)
  • Start an online side hustle that allows you to make some extra income (This could eventually become a full-time business)
  • Acquire a new skill that will allow you to get a higher-paying job

Final Thoughts

Overall, £30,000 is a fairly average salary in the UK and can be considered good in certain parts of the country. If you are living outside of London, the South East or Scotland you will be able to live comfortably on this wage. You should be able to eventually purchase a house. If you are living with a partner, this becomes much more viable.

If your income is capped at £30k per year it may be time to consider a side hustle or potentially finding a job with more potential upside.

Check out other salaries:

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I'm passionate about personal finance and making money. Currently trying to FIRE solely by building online assets. Grew my stock portfolio to £86,000 by 26.
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