Being 30: Queen of Dirty Dancing but no money for the ball

  • Average 30-year-old earns £24k but regrets not saving more than £4,300
  • Enjoys nostalgic films, music and TV such as Queen, Oasis, Friends and Dirty Dancing
  • Wants to travel more but is settled down and has just £343 monthly disposable income

The average 30-something prefers Oasis to Blur, drives a hatchback vehicle and has squirrelled away £4,300 in savings, a survey by Nationwide Savings has revealed.

A study of 2,000 Brits1 aged 30-35 found they’d watch Game of Thrones over Strictly Come Dancing, go out to dinner twice a month and spend more of their earnings on pubbing than clubbing.

Although two thirds of those polled lived with their other half, four in ten aren’t currently on the property ladder.

And of the regrets to be had by the average 30-something, 39 per cent said they wished they’d travelled more, while most also said they wished they’d saved more money.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Head of Savings and Mortgages Policy at Nationwide Building Society, said: “While age is just a number, reaching thirty can be a crossroads in life, the point at which the average Brit starts thinking about getting married, having a family and buying their first home.

“While it’s a perfect time for people to reflect on where they are in life, it’s also important to look forward and consider what changes may be needed to ensure that the 30s are a memorable, yet financially secure life stage.

“Delving into the past, our survey suggests many wished they’d been more frugal.

“However, it is never too late to start saving and build up a nest egg that can help achieve your key milestones.”

The study found that each month the typical 30-something Brit has £343 disposable income out of their £24,000 salary.

Though almost half claimed to be satisfied with their chosen career, 55 per cent said they are underpaid for the work they do.

Come payday, most 30-something Brits ideally want to spend on clothing (37 per cent), eating out for dinner (35 per cent) and going to the pub (32 per cent), said the poll.

Technology and gadgets suck up funds for one in five, while 28 per cent use it to travel and go on holiday abroad – which they fit in around once a year.

But the party days are over for most it seems – as only 8 per cent spend their money on nights out clubbing, choosing instead to go for a pint in the local.

In reality, 70 per cent said their hard-earned cash ends up going towards rent and bills, followed by groceries and if they’re a parent; kids’ expenses.

When it comes to music it’s a mix of old and new in the 30-something playlist, with Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and Nirvana coming in among the favourites.

Favourite TV shows include classics such as Friends, The X Factor and Big Bang Theory, with other preferences shown towards Eastenders, Come Dine with Me and Game of Thrones.

And though they’ll end up sitting in front of the box for over 11 hours a week, they’ll also get their bookworm on and finish around seven books a year.

Over three in ten are dog-owners, the poll showed - and will typically be driving them around in a hatchback such as a Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta.

Four in ten said they aren’t yet on the property ladder, while 8 per cent confessed they are still living with their parents.

And with an average £4,300 accumulated in savings, most 30-somethings said they are saving up for big travel plans (30 per cent), while over a quarter are working towards a house deposit (27 per cent).

Getting the balance between working and playing seemed an ongoing theme - 21 per cent worried they ‘hadn’t made good financial decisions’ before hitting their thirties, with one in four who said they felt they ‘hadn’t lived enough’.


  1. Married or in a relationship
  2. Lives with their partner/spouse
  3. Have been coupled up for around 7 years
  4. 47 per cent are parents
  5. Live in a home worth £240,000
  6. Satisfied overall with career
  7. Salary: £24,000
  8. £343 per month disposable income
  9. Spends most money on rent and bills
  10. Wants to spend on clothing and technology
  11. Goes to pubs over clubs
  12. Devotes more money to dinner out than groceries
  13. Takes one long holiday a year
  14. Has £4,300 in savings
  15. Favourite Music: Queen, The Beatles, Take That
  16. Favourite TV shows: Friends, Big Bang Theory, Britain’s Got Talent
  17. Favourite Films: Dirty Dancing, Home Alone, The Shawshank Redemption
  18. Favourite Film Genre: Action, Rom-Com
  19. Pet: Dog
  20. Drives a Hatchback
  21. Reads 7 books a year
  22. Watches TV for 11.5 hours a week
  23. Two nights out and two meals out a month
  24. One trip to the cinema per month
  25. Has two disagreements with their partner per month
  26. Spent over 3 years saving for a house deposit
  27. Owes £5000 in student loans
  28. Worries that they aren’t ‘putting enough away’
  29. Top regrets – wishes they’d saved more, wishes they’d travelled more
  30. Overall, optimistic about their future

WATCH: Our interview with primary school pupils in Bristol about what they aspire to be when they’re 30.

Notes to Editors

1 The poll of 2,000 adults aged 30 to 35 was carried out for Nationwide by online market researchers,, and took place between 18 September and 9 October 2015.


  1. Queen
  2. The Beatles
  3. Take That
  4. Bon Jovi
  5. Rihanna
  6. Lady Gaga
  7. Foo Fighters
  8. Green Day
  9. Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  10. Oasis


  1. Dirty Dancing
  2. Home Alone
  3. The Shawshank Redemption
  4. Pretty Woman
  5. The Goonies
  6. The Lion King
  7. Pulp Fiction
  8. Jurassic Park
  9. Mrs Doubtfire
  10. Back to the Future


  1. Friends
  2. Big Bang Theory
  3. Britain’s Got Talent
  4. X Factor
  5. Eastenders
  6. Game of Thrones
  7. Come Dine with Me
  8. Breaking Bad
  9. The Simpsons
  10. Match of the Day

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