One fun way to get to know someone, is to check out what they choose do to with their money. It is not something that we often get to find out about people but our family is an open book so here is what we spent in 2019 together with some US national averages. Starting in September 2020, we will post our monthly spending with a bit more detail than this annual summary.
Housing: $14,918 (avg. $1243 per month)
This includes bills/utilities: $5,756 (avg. $480 per month), property taxes: $5196, and home maintenance and appliances: $3,966 (avg. $330 per month).
Food: $14,774 (avg. $1,231 per month)
Yes, that is a lot! And $11,000 of it is on groceries, not eating out. The average US household spends only $7923 on food. We are vegetarian and drink almost no alcohol. I guess we eat a lot!
Pets: $9978 (avg. $831 per month)
We started the year with four cats, two dogs and a gecko. Sadly, two of our cats passed away during the year and a good chunk of these expenses were incurred in their last weeks of life. The average US family spends less than $1000 per year on pets.
Shopping: $7,667 (avg. $641 per month)
This breaks down to Amazon: $4,057 (avg. $340 per month) and Non-Amazon: $3610 (avg. $301). This includes clothes, shoes, household items, books and workbooks for the kid, as well as some pet food not included above.
Kids: $6,078 (avg. $506 per month)
We have an 11-year-old and a 20-year-old (who is financially self-sufficient). This number includes after-school care, summer camps, and a few relatively cheap activities like soccer. We choose to put the kid in camps all summer. It is expensive but we consider it a good investment into her social and academic development.
Auto/transportation: $2,890 (avg. $241 per month)
This is mostly gas, parking, and an occasional car maintenance expense. We own two newer cars which we bought for cash so no car payments. According to Expedia, 85% of new vehicles and 55% of used vehicles are financed.
Insurance: $2496 (avg. $208 per month)
This includes our home and two cars. Health insurance is mostly covered by our employers and what is not covered is deducted from our paychecks before taxes so it is money we never see.
Health: $1,091 (avg. $90 per month)
We are lucky to have excellent health insurance.
Other: $4586 (avg. $382 per month)
This includes a period during which I had a gym membership, cash withdrawals (about $3,000 total) which I can’t track but much of it went to pay babysitters, and random other expenses.
Donations: $8,694 (avg. $725 per month)
Our donations were on the low-side for us this year because we had made several end-of-the-year contributions in 2018 and were planning to do first-of-the-year contributions in 2020 for itemizing deductions purposes. We typically aim for about 15-20% of our annual spending to go toward donations/charities.