Well, let’s see. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks consumer spending each year. We have numbers for 2017 – see how you stack up.

On average, U.S. households spent an average of $60,060. Using the chart below, we offer the following percentages:

  • Housing: 33% Includes mortgage payments or rent, property taxes, maintenance, utilities, household services and products, furnishings and appliances. On a monthly basis, this implies that the average household spends $1,657 on all of these expenses combined.
  • Transportation: 16% In addition to the cost of vehicles, this includes gasoline, finance charges, maintenance, insurance and public transportation expenses.
  • Food: 13% which can be further broken down into $4,363 of food at home and $3,365 on food away from home.
  • Personal insurance and pensions: 11% The largest expense in this category is Social Security payroll tax, but life insurance premiums and pension contributions are also included.
  • Health care: 8% Includes the cost of health insurance, medical services, prescription drugs as well as other medical supplies.
  • Entertainment: 5% Includes in-home entertainment costs, as well as outside-the-home entertainment ventures. Certain other expenses, such as your pets, are included here.
  • Apparel and services: 3% 
  • Cash contributions (charity, for example): 3% 
  • Miscellaneous: 3% 
  • Education: 2% 
  • Personal care products and services: 1%
  • Notes:
    • The difference between gross and net income after taxes includes the average household’s $8,367 federal income tax bill, as well as state and local income taxes.
    • Spending on food comes out to $364/month or, if including eating out, $644/month.
    • Entertainment spending increased by 10% while charitable donations dropped 10% compared to the prior year.

Next week I’ll dial down on some of those pesky discretionary spending categories like vacations, gifts, pets and clothing.