Where Does the Money Go?

Jan 26, 2012 by

Here’s a fun picture of the average U.S. “consumer unit’s” income and spending. Keep in mind this is an average of reality, based on an April 2009 survey done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (part of the Labor Department).

The center is a good place to start, where the average consumer unit is defined as:

  • Age 48.8
  • 2.5 people comprise the unit
  • The average consumer unit has 1.3 earners
  • 67% owned homes
  • 1.9 cars owned
  • Annual income before taxes was $63,091; annual spending was $49,638 (implying annual savings of $13,453)

A few tidbits I found interesting:

  • Spending on eating out isn’t a lot less than grocery spending (no wonder we have an obesity challenge)
  • Transportation expenditures add up to over half of total housing expenditures (cars are costly!)
  • $2,700 per year—$225 per month—on entertainment (c’mon, find some free fun!)
  • Only $1,063—about 2%—on education and reading (correlates with the national Kardashian fascination)
  • I’m surprised there’s not a spending category for pets; furry family members can run up quite a tab

What do you find surprising or shocking about these numbers?

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