Rides & Real Estate: That’s What Most America Families Spend Money On

February 27, 2014  |  

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This is a kind of eye-opening stat: $1 of every $2 Americans spend is on real estate and transportation, reports The Atlantic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food and insurance follow. Down the line are healthcare, clothes, and entertainment.

The report also details how families with different education backgrounds spend their money. Even though families headed by somebody with a BA make about twice as much as families without a college graduate, they spend their money similarly.

Nearly one-third of all family budgets go to housing; families with a bachelor’s use 32 percent of their income and those without a degree spend 33.7 percent on shelter.  Around one-sixth of all family budgets are spent on transportation. Families with college grads spend 17.1 percent and non-grad families, 18.9 percent getting to and fro. About one-eighth of all family budgets are used on food. Families with a degree use 13.8 percent of their income on groceries compared with 12.6 percent for non-grad families.

Families headed by high school grads average around $35,000 in annual expenditures; high school-plus-some college, have an average income of $43,000; families led by a college grad (without an advanced degree) spend $63k. “As you can see, richer families need a slightly smaller share of income to eat, live, and get around, leaving more for insurance, dinners out, and luxuries (other),” reports The Atlantic.

There has always been a relationship between income and real estate and transportation The more money we make, the nicer the home and mode of transportation we tend to own. Also, with real estate being so costly, many are forced to live in lower-rent areas which require transportation to get to and from work.

America differs from other countries in how they spend their incomes. In the UK, for example, the typical family spends an amazing 20 percent of its income on “fun stuff”: culture, entertainment, sports, alcohol and tobacco. Japan spends more than twice as much as Americans on dining in.

Educated twenty-somethings in the U.S. could be changing the way Americans spend, however, if they continue on the path they are on. Currently, this age group has opted to live in newer suburbs within commuting distance of the main part of town. This saves money on both real estate and transportation, giving them the room to spend more on other things like new technology and eating out.

What do you spend most of your salary on?

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