Thursday, February 07, 2008

Comparing Household Spending

I know I've posted on this topic before, but it's been a while, and a little research yesterday evening reminded me just how interesting household-spending stats can be.

Compare Your Spending to Others

If you're like roughly 10 or 12 Google-referred visitors to my site each day, you want to see how your spending stacks up against other, similar American households.

Have no fear: Extensive government data-mining to the rescue!

All you need to do is click on over to the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site. In particular, you'll want to pull up their Consumer Expenditure Survey Home Page.

Here, for example, is a sampling of the data I dredged up. Since mine is a household consisting of "Husband, Wife, and Oldest Child Under Age of Six," I was particularly interested to see the average spending data of some 5,700 other households matching that same composition. The numbers (taken from the 2006 survey) look something like this:

Spending Stats

That's nowhere near the end of the data, either. There are lots more dollar signs after that, including household-spending figures for transportation, education, and just about everything else you could think of. (Here's my very plain Excel spreadsheet with the rest of the data for "Husband / Wife / Oldest Child Under Six" households.)

For what it's worth, my preferred tables are the "CURRENT EXPENDITURE SHARES TABLES," and from there, I go for the data broken down by "Composition of Consumer Unit." The PDF with 2006 data, for example, is here.

Happy number-crunching!

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— Posted by Michael @ 9:33 AM


Where's non-retirement related savings? Or let me guess...


Also, check the report for yourself; some of the figures listed above are non-independent and won't sum to 100%. But the clear winners (see Table B) in descending order for where people were spending their money in 2005 were: 1) Housing (32.7%), 2) Transportation (18%), 3) Food (12.8%), 4) Insurance/retirement (11.2%), 5) Health care (5.7%), and 6) Entertainment (5.1%). Would be informative to compare to other developed country data, especially those in Europe. Finally, I don't see a category for credit card or other loan payments. Still interesting stuff. Don't know how useful it will be for individuals to set their own budgets, given a change in how the data were collected that may have reduced spending inadvertently (see Page 1). Anyway...

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Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
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