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:
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.