Average annual expenditures in 2012 (USA)

How much money are we spending per year and what are we spending it on? Latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How much money are we spending per year and what are we spending it on?

Last week, I listed the top 100 occupations, along with their average hourly and annual wage. In this post, I’m going to look at our average annual expenditures.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Expenditures by category

Average annual expenditures by category (US, 2012)

Key takeaways:

  • More than half of our money goes to cover housing and transportation expenditures.
  • The top 5 categories combined represent over 80% of our total expenditures.
  • On average, we spend more than twice the amount on entertainment than we spend on education.
  • On average, we spend 3 times more on tobacco products and 4.5 times more on alcohol than we spend on reading.

Expenditures by age

Average total annual expenditures by age (US, 2012)

The average annual expenditure per consumer unit is $51,442. As you could expect, the amount of money we spend changes with age. It starts at slightly over $30,000 and gradually increases to roughly $62,000 per year by the time we reach 50 years of age. At that point, it begins to decrease with customers older than 75 spending on average around $33,500 per year.

Breakdown: housing

Breakdown of housing expenditures (US, 2012)

Unsurprisingly, the cost of obtaining a shelter—represented mainly by mortgage interests and charges, property taxes and/or rental costs—is the single biggest item on the housing breakdown list. A distant second come the operational expenses, including utilities, fuels and services. Finally, an even more distant third on the list are the costs of furnishings and equipment.

Breakdown: transportation

Breakdown of transportation expenditures (US, 2012)

The transportation costs are dominated by the cost of procuring the vehicles and the cost of gasoline. Together, these two items make up for around two thirds of all transportation expenditures. Interestingly, our expenditures on public transportation are almost non-existent.

Breakdown: food

Breakdown of food expenditures (US, 2012)

Based on the available data, we spend more than 40% of our annual food costs on eating out. Personally, I find this fact staggering.

So, there you have it: our annual expenditures based on the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.