Do You Spend More on Booze or Books?

You may have stared at a low checking account balance and found yourself asking, “Where does all the money go?”

Well, apparently the U.S. Department of labor has the answer. Check out the infographic below showing how the average American spends his or her money.


Click on the infographic for a larger image.

And apparently, I’m not the average American.

Not that I’m judging where others spend their money (remember: I promised to not judge other people on their purchases), but it’s interesting to see where the average American household puts their money vs. where mine is going. For one, I take public transportation and ride a bike everywhere I go. So naturally, I’m not spending 17% of my budget on transportation.

But regardless of what I’m spending my money on, it’s still surprising to see where the average American dollar is going. Here are a few things in this graphic that stood out to me:

  1. Fashion trumps education: The average American spends twice as much on clothes each year and than on education. Is that because K-12 education is free? Does this include college tuition or books? Those education costs seems shockingly low to me.
  2. Eating out and healthcare go hand-in-hand: The typical U.S. household spends 5.4% of their income on eating out and 5.7% on healthcare. Coincidence? Probably 🙂 But it’s interesting to see that the same amount of money is being spent on keeping healthy and dining out. I’m blessed to have affordable health insurance, which means my going-out-to-eat budget is WAY bigger than my healthcare costs.
  3. Where’s all the debt? Huh? Where the heck are the debt payments on this chart? For the last few months, paying off my student loans has been one of the biggest expenses in my budget. In fact, during some months, I spend as much on student loans as I do on my housing. So where are the debt payments for the rest of Americans?
  4. Booze over books: This is the best conclusion by far: Americans spend four times as much money on booze than they do on books 🙂 I’d like to attribute that to the rise of the affordable ebook, but let’s be honest: it’s a lot more fun to go out and grab a few drinks on a Saturday night than sit at home reading Moby Dick.

So how do you stack up? Typical American? Radical frugalista? What on the chart matches your spending habits exactly, and what looks totally off?

Infographic from Visually


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