By Gemma Francis

Brits need an extra £167 per month to be happy, a study has found.

Researchers found that while the average family has an average of around £44 a week in spare cash, the happiest people in the country have £82 a week to enjoy once the bills have been paid.

This means that far from needing millions to be ‘happy’, the average adult only needs to find £38 a week to be content – around £5.50 a day.

The stats emerged in the annual ‘Cash Happy’ report from SunLife which polled 3,000 UK households.

Ian Atkinson, of SunLife, said: “Does money make us happy? Well, our Cash Happy study shows that happiness and money are linked, but the good news is that it is spare cash rather than income that has the greatest effect on our happiness.

“It is even more encouraging to discover that you don’t need to be a millionaire for money to buy you happiness.

“Our study shows that if a household has any more than £507 a week in spare cash, there is no significant increase in happiness.”

SunLife’s study also found those who live with a partner, or where they have two earners in the household have the most spare cash – averaging £878 a month per household – around £101 per week per person.

Young families have an average of £611 leftover each month while empty nesters have £607 to play with.

Older families enjoy around £474 in spare cash per month.

At the other end of the scale, those who share with housemates have £207 leftover each month, while people who live alone have just £157.

And when it comes to age, the over 50s have £480 in spare cash each month – almost £100 more than those aged under 50.

But not everyone has money to spend as one in four admit they live beyond their means, with almost one in twenty going more than £1,000 in the red each month.

Researchers also found that depositing it into savings is the most common thing to do with leftover money at the end of the month, followed by spending it on holidays and new clothes.

Others will splash the cash on going to the cinema, eating out and treating themselves to a takeaway. However, what we choose to do with our spare cash and what we should do with our spare cash are not the same.

Ian Atkinson added: “To be amongst the happiest households in the UK (top 10% in terms of happiness), a family needs just £194 in spare cash a week; just £90 more than the average household already has.

“Per adult, that means we only need to find an extra £38 per week in spare cash to be amongst the happiest in the UK – that’s £5.49 a day.

“This may sound like a lot, but when you consider how much we spend on things like takeaway coffees and shop-bought sandwiches every day, it doesn’t sound quite so challenging.

“In fact, our handy saving calculator can help you see how much you could save by making some really small changes.” – https://www.sunlife.co.uk/infographics/savings-calculator/

Top ten things Brits do with spare cash:

1. Save it
2. Holidays
3. Clothing
4. Cinema
5. Eating out
6. Days out
7. Pubs
8. Takeaways
9. Sports and hobbies
10. Theatre


Top ten things Brits should do with spare cash to make them happier:

1. Children’s pocket money
2. Theatre
3. Bowling
4. Holidays
5. Newspapers/magazines
6. Eating out
7. Music events
8. Sports and hobbies
9. Days out
10. Cinema


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