The food spending comments got me thinking... what is considered a "normal," "average" amount of money to spend on various things? (Either by a gut feeling or by actual statistics.) And is there any spending area where you think you differ from what is "normal" and "average?"
For instance, I think my spending on entertainment is probably well below average. I don't have a TV so I have no cable bills. I don't spend much on books because I can sometimes get them for free. And for movies, I spent a total of $129 last year, including DVD rentals and movies seen in theaters. That is probably way less than what many people spend on Netflix alone.
What else? As one of those commenters pointed out, I have no car, which is considered pretty normal in New York City, but kind of weird everywhere else in America. That is a big expense that I don't have to worry about.
I found an article saying the average American planned to spend $2,962 on vacation travel in 2004-- I always thought my travel spending was probably higher than average, but I guess not: last year I spent $2,977-- but that was for ALL travel, including commuting, the occasional taxi, and short family visits. The vacation part of it was only about $700, not counting meals while on vacation. (In other years, I've taken more expensive vacations, but I don't think I've had a year where the total travel spending exceeded $5,000.)
Here's a few other statistics plucked out of a Google search to get you thinking (I make no claims as to their accuracy):
- The average American spends $8,410 per year (roughly $700 per month) to own a vehicle. (source)
- The average American spends $6,000 on healthcare premiums (source)
- The average American spends about 5% of their income on eating out (source)
- Americans give 15 cents per day per person in official development assistance to poor countries. The average American spends four times that on soft drinks daily. (source)
- The average American spends $75 for each person on his or her Christmas list (source)
- The amount of money US parents spend on Barbie dolls each year: $5.6 billion (source). If you figure there are about 20 million American girls under the age of 10 (source: US Census Data), that is an average of $280 per girl.