Personal Finance – What Does The Money Get Spent On

Everyone spends his or her money differently. While one person may find eating out a necessity, another prefers to put a little extra aside for faraway vacations. How you ultimately spend your paycheck is up to you. However, when applying for a mortgage, or other large loan, you financial institution will be looking at some important spending ratios to determine if you qualify. It’s important to try and stay within these limits on certain spending items. Check with your particular lender for limits.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Spending Survey, most American consumers spend the following amounts on the following items:

Food: 14.1%
-At home: 7.7%
-Away from home: 5.4%
-Alcoholic beverages: 1.0%

Housing: 32.9%
-This includes mortgage/rent; utilities; insurances and upkeep/maintenance.

Transportation: 19.1%
-Vehicles: 9.1%
-Gasoline: 3.3% (In 2003)
-Insurance: 6.7%

Apparel and Services: 4.0%
-The cost of new clothes, dry cleaning expenses, etc.

Healthcare: 5.9%
-Doctors, dentists, eyewear expenses; over-the-counter-medications, medical co-pays and deductibles. This does not include healthcare premiums.

Entertainment: 5.0%
-Movies, outings, vacations.

Personal Care products and Services1: 1.3%
-Haircuts, salon fees, etc.

Reading: 0.3%
-Magazine subscriptions, books, etc.

Education: 1.9%

Tobacco Products: 0.7%

Miscellaneous: 1.5%

Cash Contributions: 3.4%
-Religious tithes, charitable contributions, etc.

Personal Insurances and Pensions: 9.9%
-Health insurance premiums, 401K contributions, life insurance, disability insurance, etc.

Every family’s expenditures will be different. However, if you notice one of your own spending accounts in excess of these national statistics, it may be time to reevaluate why you are spending so much in a particular area.

Some areas that may be cut, according to most financial experts include:

Transportation: if your transportation (car) costs are much higher than the 19.1% national average, the odds are you own too much car for your budget. Try downsizing to a less expensive vehicle. You’ll not only save on monthly loan payments, but also on insurance premiums, upkeep and gas.

Miscellaneous accounts can be a budget killer for many. This is where we spend on the most frivolous items: morning coffee; specialty items; expensive gifts; etc. Try and keep this percentage under 1.5%, warn experts.

Entertainment can be a budget buster for some. While the average percentage is 5% f your annual bring-home salary, that amount can be excessive, especially for higher wage earners. This is an easy area to bring down expenses. While it’s fun to g out every weekend with friends and pick up the tab, try staying at home or having a quieter, more low-key (and less expensive), get-together with friends instead.

Food. Most Americans spend more than 14% of their monthly income on food – regardless of their family size! Considering that more than half of that amount is spent eating out at restaurants and fast food joints, it ma be time to hit the grocery store and eat at home in order to save a bundle at the checkout.

Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking the time to see where the money waste in your household is spent can be a great way to streamline expenses and learn to save.

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