The Cost of Living in America Is High: What Are Consumers Spending?

The Cost of Living in America Is High: What Are Consumers Spending?

Check out this interesting piece from Business Insider:

Anyone can "make it in America," but the question remains: At what cost?

The median household income in the U.S. hovers right below $52,000, according to U.S. Census data.

To find out just where that cash is going, we've trolled through the latest data in employment, transportation and common consumer expenditures.


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  • HOUSING: $181,500 is the median asking price for homes today (about $827.22/month with a 30-year fixed rate loan at today's interest rates).
  • RENT: Between $865 and $1,008 per month. Rental rates continue to soar, with a 5.3 percent gain over 2011, according to Trulia.
  • MARRIAGE: The average couple spends $27,000 to tie the knot, which includes $1,121 for the wedding gown alone. Source: The Knot
  • DIVORCE: At a cool $20,000 it's only slightly cheaper to end a marriage than start one. Source: Divorce Statistics 
  • COLLEGE: $21,447/year at public universities. Students pay twice that ($42,224) for private education. Source:
  • STUDENT LOANS: $22,000 (public universities) and $28,000 (private) in student loan debt. That's a 20% increase over the last decade. Source: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • GROCERIES: The average household spends about $3,624 per year on food inside the home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic' latest consumer data. A USDA estimate for June 2012 found a "moderate" estimate for a family of four is about $200 per month. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/USDA
  • CREDIT DEBT: $2,577.40 is on the average consumer's credit cards. The figure hasn't changed much since before the recession hit in 2007, when it was $2,530. Source: The Federal Reserve
  • GETTING AROUND: $7,677 is the average tally for transportation costs, $360 of which goes into our gas tanks each month. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • HEALTHCARE: $3,157 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A study by a public health group found a 22-year-old worker and his employer will spend about $4 million on health insurance over his lifetime. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/
  • RAISING A FAMILY: $234,900, which is the cost of raising one kid through the age of 17. Source: The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
  • EATING OUT: $2,505 per year. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • RETIREMENT: Americans manage to save about $3,900 to IRAs per year for retirement. The latest estimates put employer-provided plan contributions at $1,600. Source: Fidelity


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