Is £35k A Good Salary In The UK?

James Beattie By James Beattie 17 Min Read

In the UK we find it hard to talk about money, making it hard to know how we compare to our peers and other work colleagues. Figuring out whether or not you are making a good salary can be hard.

Whether or not £35k is a good salary will depend on multiple factors such as your age, where you live, and your current living situation. Let’s jump in and see whether or not £35k is a good salary.

Quick Overview
A £35k salary is £1,720 higher than the Median average salary of £33,280 for full-time workers. £35k is considered a reasonably good salary. It is higher than the median average salary for every region, except London.

How Does £35k Compare To The Median UK Salary?

In the UK the current average salary is £33,280 for full-time workers. Making £35,000 per year puts you just ahead of the UK average. Earning £1,720 more than the median average makes you an above-average earner.

These averages also take into consideration regions such as Manchester and London where salaries are much higher. If you live in a cheaper cost of living area in the UK your £35,000 starts to look even better.

£35k is a considerably good wage for most places in the UK and should allow you to live comfortably while also saving for retirement.

Is £35k A Good Salary For Your Age?

From the data below we can see that earning £35,000 per year makes you an above-average earner if you are 18 to 29 or 60+. However, if you are in your peak earning years from 30 to 59, earning £35,000 makes you slightly below average.

AgeMedian Average Yearly
Median Yearly Average salary 2022 (Source ONS DATA)

Making £35,000 in your 20s is a great place to be. If that’s you, congratulations, you are way ahead of the curve. Having that much income in your 20s should allow you to save for a house and invest a significant proportion of your income early. This allows you to massively benefit from the power of compound interest over the next 35 years.

If you are in your early 30’s you’re likely still on track to be above average by the end of your 30s as you gain promotions and pay rises throughout the next 10 years. Working hard in your 30s is important to set you up for the rest of your career.

At £35k you are not too far behind the average at any age. However, if you’re in your peak earning years and feel like your salary isn’t progressing as fast as you would like, you might consider looking for more lucrative jobs in your field. People who move jobs more frequently in their field tend to have higher overall earnings.

Is £35k A Good Salary Where You Live?

Where you live will have a significant impact on how far your £35,000 will go. If we look at the ONS data below, London has an average salary of £41,866 whereas the North East only has an average of £29,521.

£35k puts you well above the average in the North East but significantly behind in London. If you are living outside of London, earning £35k puts you above the average of every other region.

You will be able to live comfortably on a £35k income in most places in the UK, especially if you live in a dual-income household.

Can You Live On £35k In London?

A £35k salary in London is definitely on the lower end of income for the area. With the ridiculous rent and house prices in the area right now, it may be a struggle to live in London on £35k. Rent and living costs will eat massively into your budget, leaving you little for entertainment and saving/investing.

You will likely be living in a small studio apartment or living with housemates on a £35k salary. You’re going to get a lot less house for the money than you would living in one of the cheaper regions in the UK. However, if your career relies on you being in London for growth opportunities then this sacrifice early in your career may be worth it.

What Is £35k After Tax In The UK?

Earning a £35k salary in the UK does not mean bringing that home every month. You will receive a net amount each month after tax and national insurance contributions.

On a £35,000 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 £22,430 plus your national insurance contributions.

This means you will pay £4,486 in Tax and £3,328 in National Insurance.

Your net take-home pay after tax and national insurance payments is £27,186 per year or £2,265 per month.

You may also have student loan payments which would be paid back from your salary decreasing these amounts even more.

Budget Template For £35k Salary

While £35,000 is a reasonably good wage, you can’t just go blowing money left and right. Having a budget will help to keep your spending on track by sticking to a pre-determined plan each month.

Having a solid budget allows you to know where your money is going at the start of each month. Being disciplined and sticking to this allows you to get ahead massively in life. Only spending what you need and investing the rest is the most reliable way to become financially secure.

If you are making £2,265 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/investing.

Monthly Net Income£2,265
Entertainment, Clothing£685
Saving & Investing£450
Budget For £35k Salary UK

Depending on the region you live in, you may need to spend slightly more on rent. This should come from your entertainment budget rather than eating into your savings. However, if you live with a partner or housemate you can likely get your rent significantly lower than the £680 budget we have here.

Budget Template For £35,000 Salary

If you are looking to be aggressive with your investing and saving like I am to reach a goal of retiring early, then you may want to cut down slightly on the entertainment budget and increase the amount of money you are investing each month.

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 £35k Salary

Housing is most people’s biggest expense across their lifetime. On a £35k salary, housing can eat into your budget relatively quickly if you overextend yourself.

When I first started renting I got a much bigger house than I needed. When I ended up purchasing my house, I went for something slightly smaller. Having more rooms that I didn’t use didn’t make me any happier. Having less stress is worth a lot more than having a big house. Currently, I spend less than 10% of my take-home earnings on my mortgage.

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

Let’s take a look at how much rent you can afford on a £35,000 salary.

How Much To Spend On Rent With A £35k Salary

When it comes to renting, the general rule is to spend no more than 30% of your net take-home income. This means on a £35,000 salary you should be spending approximately £680 on your rent.

Depending on where you live, you may need to extend this budget slightly. Over the past few years rents have by rising and wages have been relatively stagnant. For example, in London, the average renter is spending 50% of their salary on housing.

I would recommend trying to keep your rent between £650 and £800 at this income level. If possible the ideal situation would be living with a housemate or partner to cut this significantly. This will allow you to contribute more towards savings and investments.

Can I Buy A House On A £35k Salary?

Yes, buying a house on £35k per year is possible, especially if you’re buying with a partner. You will be able to get a mortgage by yourself on £35k per year but will be offered significantly less than with a partner.

You will need a minimum of a 5% deposit before thinking about buying a house. Once you have that saved up, you can start to look at potential houses.

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

On a £35,000 per year salary, you will be able to borrow approximately £140,000. With interest rates currently around 6% this would give you a monthly payment of £839 per month on a 30 Year Mortgage.

This is slightly above our recommendation £650-800 for housing. Personally, I would take on a smaller mortgage if I was purchasing alone. When you factor in Council Tax and other expenses your housing can get expensive quickly.

If you’re purchasing with a partner, a £140,000 mortgage is likely manageable if one of you earns £35,000 and the other is working and contributing to the household. You may want to put together a household budget and see if your housing costs will be less than 30% of your total household income.

How To Make £35k Go Further

It can be hard living on a £35,000 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 £35k

If you want to make more than £35k 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, £35,000 is a great salary in most of the UK. You are an above-average earner everywhere in the UK apart from London. However, if you are 30+ you are falling slightly behind the average so may want to think about ways to increase your salary. Ultimately, you can live comfortably on £35k a year especially if you live with a partner who is also working full time.

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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