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The price of happiness? £82 per week

Cherry Reynard
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Cherry Reynard

Just £82 a week of spare cash is the route to happiness, according to the annual ‘Cash Happy’ research of 3,000 households.

While happiness does increase with spare cash, there is a point when it starts to slow down. The survey, from SunLife, found that the average person has £44 spare at the end of every week and needs to find an extra £5 a day to be truly happy.

Ian Atkinson, marketing director, said: “Our research shows a strong link between happiness and spare cash – stronger than the link between happiness and income – and the good news is, you really don’t need to be a millionaire to be happy…The happiest households have £194 spare per week, which per person, is £82. This means that if the average household wants to become one of the cash happiest, it doesn’t need thousands – just an extra £91 per week, which works out as less than £40 extra per person per week, or just over a fiver a day. This may sound like a lot, but when you think, buying a takeaway coffee and sandwich every day costs around £5, it doesn’t sound quite so challenging.”

Though spare cash is £447 per month in the ‘average household’, this varies hugely by household type. In absolute terms, over 50s have considerably less than under 50s, (£391 per month compared to £480) but in terms of spare cash as a percentage of their income, they actually have more (32% compared to 31%), which could be one of the reasons they are happier on the whole.

One in four households live beyond their means (5% between £0 and £100 in the red, and 21% more than £100 in the red each month). At the other end of the scale, 23% have between £800 and £2,000 spare each month, while 13% have more than £2,000.

The research shows that around half of those surveyed said they would save at least some of their extra cash, while more than a third would spend it on clothes. However, the happiest households spend their spare money on experiences, with going to the theatre or bowling the top choices for happy spending.