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What We Spent in 2010

January 4th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Where Does the Average Consumer Spend Their PaycheckIt’s time to figure out where our money went for the year. The Department of Labor has come up with a really neat looking graph of the average consumers spending.  I just wish I understood it better.  According to the graph, average income is almost $63,000 and average spending is $49,000.  What happened to the other $13,000, savings?  Somehow I doubt that, and I’m going to guess that is what happens when you average things.  I tried to match our expenditures up with this and ended up having to modify it somewhat, while still keeping it accurate.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the average “consumer unit”  is 2.5 persons, we have 5.

So I now present to you, the Decidely Average Spending graph of 2010:

2010 Spending Comparison

The first thing that will grab your eye is our food expenditures seem to be shooting for the moon, and I have to admit, they are higher than they should be, even when you take into consideration we have double the average people.  Also mixed in with our grocery category were cleaning supplies and some other household items.  I tried to go through Quicken and fix those, but I’m sure I didn’t get them all.  When we first started budgeting, we had a separate envelopes for cleaning supplies and toiletries, and that just didn’t work for us, so we combined the money together into one envelope.  For 2011, I want to try and break it back apart somehow in Quicken but keep the cash together still.  But even taking that into account, when I did a report of our grocery spending, we went over budget almost every week. I think we are going to have to both increase our grocery budget a little bit and become more diligent at the same time.

Dining out was very close to the national average which surprised me, because I didn’t think we dined out all that much.  Housing and Mortgage Interest/Expenses I was pleased with.

Our clothing spending is lower than the average, even with double the people and having three teenagers.  You’d think that would be great, but I’ve probably been a bigger miser than I should be when it comes to clothing, and I hope to be a little looser (but not too loose) when it comes to spending on clothes this year.

Our transportation costs and gas & oil costs look flip flopped from the average.  We went down to two cars from three, not by choice really, but because one just died and it wasn’t cost effective to fix it. My son is saving up for his own car, and said he wants something to drive that’s better than our current cars, an admirable goal for sure, and the reason our costs are low.  We drive two used cars, a 1991 Buick bought from a little old lady (seriously!) and a 1993 Honda. So no car payments for us, but more repairs.  As far as Gas and Oil, I have a little over 100 mile commute every workday, which explains that.

We must be really healthy because our spending is very low.  I think we have one regular prescription, and, if my youngest son hadn’t broken his finger, next to no medical expenses.

Entertainment?  I’m sure my wife is going to have something to say when she sees how low it is compared to everyone else.

And insurance (and pensions): I did not contribute to our 401k the last two years while we were paying off debt, so this is bound to start rising soon.

So how does your spending compare to average? And do you plan on changing it once you find out?  If you really want to geek out with statistics, the Consumer Expenditure Survey has more data than you will ever be able to use.

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