How are you spending your money?

Uncle Sam wants to know what you spend your money on. And so do we.

During the next 15 months, the U.S. Census Bureau will sample 27,500 American households to determine how we spend our money, AJC reporter Leon Stafford writes.

Last year, spending fell 2.8 percent, Stafford reports.

Where did we cut back?

Housing spending fell 1.3 percent while transportation was down a whopping 11 percent. We also cut back on food (down 1.1 percent), apparel (-4.2 percent), entertainment (-5.0 percent) and personal insurance (-2.4 percent).

The only increase came in health care, which saw spending rise 5.0 percent, the survey found.

Does this square with your situation? Where are you cutting back and where are you spending more?

42 comments Add your comment


October 27th, 2010
8:07 am

Cutting on everything possible.

Thermostat alteration saved a few hundred dollars this year, may be over $ 2000.00/year.
Window shopping only in the malls, simply walking for exercise.
Drive straight from the Church to home.
Learning and enjoying more about new cars through the internet, but fixing the old cars and drving
by faith. When traveling long distance, rent a car.
Grocery bills were reduced considerably by avoiding all processed, fancy food and meat, and more
consumption of vegetables and fruits. Indeed, it has improved the health greatly.
Took off all the unnecessary insurance converage for the cars, and the deductable amount was increased.
Reduced the driving far less. Now the plastic card started rusting which was the best decision.
Three years back, average usage of credit card was close to $ 1000.00/month for items which were not our needs, but due to the impulsive shopping habbit of buying something attractive to the eyes.

We are still living without any shortage, but reduced the amount of spending considerably, and
that is a new lesson in economics learnt from the practical application of self-control. We all can
live happily with far less money than we used to blow every day, mainly to impress the neighbours.

Palin fan

October 27th, 2010
9:04 am

I’m making donations to true Conservatives and Tea Party candidates to make sure they beat the socialists on election day.


October 27th, 2010
9:08 am

Hey “Palin Fan.” You’re a stupid idiot. Take care.

Palin fan

October 27th, 2010
9:10 am

Very constructive contribution, JSD.

Why don’t you study up on history and politics so that you can maybe contribute something to this topic and this great country that I love!

Dan the Nerd

October 27th, 2010
9:21 am

Regarding food – I try not to eat anything that comes in a box. We eat lots of rice, beans and grits – we rarely eat out and we raise some of what we eat.

Where do we spend our money? Not on cars or clothes… Home improvements/rennovations gets a big chunk. Over half of our Gross goes into savings. Travel gets a fair amount as well – maybe 5% of Gross.

Oh yeah – daycare is a $1,700/month hit. That kinda leaves a mark.


October 27th, 2010
9:46 am

@Dan the Nerd…………Wow, daycare is $1,700 a month. I never knew it cost so much.

Well, I think I’ll have to settle with getting a dog. I’ll need to investigate costs associated with pet ownership because it might be out of my price range too.

Can your dog be eligible for food stamps?

Mr. Nobody

October 27th, 2010
9:55 am

JSD, typical knee-jerk reaction by a liberal…call someone a name when they have a different view than you

Can't afford it.

October 27th, 2010
10:23 am

Health insurance premiums rose 23%, Salary went down 10%. Food, clothing, shelter and entertainment spending have been cut considerably. Eating out, Rarely, Movies – At the cheapie theater or $1.00 rentals, Groceries almost all generic-store brands, clothing and other household items only when on clearance or sale. Used car purchase courtesy of a drunk texter, other big ticket items are not going to be purchased.


October 27th, 2010
10:44 am

I do have to wonder at why people support someone like Palin though. She makes no sense, can’t handle a real interviewer and can’t even finish what she starts. Has zero political acumen and does not have the respect of true conservatives.

Her few editorials are known for not being well researched and rudimentary at best. She’s not even a decent television personality. Her show had one episode that was panned, hasn’t been used by Fox for political commentary or talking head. Seriously, all that money and she’s useless to even a biased newssource like Fox?


October 27th, 2010
10:47 am

Yep, child care can be quite expensive. For two kids in GA Pre-K, we pay about $215/wk or $860/mth.


October 27th, 2010
10:47 am

In a private Pre-K, it would be $2,000/mth.

Bright Idea

October 27th, 2010
11:20 am

Kat, I thought Pre-K was lottery funded…


October 27th, 2010
11:22 am

Let God will be done thru this blog

6 Days

October 27th, 2010
11:31 am

@ Michael Sarah Palin is a toy to the Democrats, she is not relevant to the Republicans. The liberal media has built her up, so they can tear her down. Conservatives don’t care as it gives the pit vipers something to do and look stupid.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

October 27th, 2010
11:34 am

Same here….stepped up contributions to the National Tea Party and local Republican Party in order to assist in the thwarting of these failed policies of the dems and the Obamanure adminstration.


October 27th, 2010
11:57 am

Why are idiots ALWAYS logging on?
We spend our money on our kids: school field trips, holiday parties, teachers birthday, weekend awards for GREAT work at school and food by the bulk (love Sam), etc…
We have 2 income household, but only spend 1 income…if more did this, we wouldn’t be in a recession!

Retired Young

October 27th, 2010
11:58 am

We were spending pretty heavily through 2007 – still living at our means. But the burn rate was mor than it needed to be – and I was no happier with all of the toys and trips etc…This recession has allowed me to reprioritize my life and evaluate my habits. Still have a great quality of life, eat what I want – where I want and when I want. But do it all with a little less. Happier, more secure. It’s the little things. Buying happiness does not work.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

October 27th, 2010
12:05 pm

And spending it wisely.

Just a reader

October 27th, 2010
12:08 pm

Taking inventory of your fridge and pantry before going grocery shopping can save a bundle. Not eating out as much in fancy places for lunch. Buying clothes on sale when you need them, or investing more in quality clothes so that you keep them for multiple seasons. Take advantage of online banking and save 10% of your money without even thinking about it, or missing it. If you have kids, take them to the park instead of a fancy place and they have just as much fun, or letting them tag along with you during errands give them the feeling like they did something for the day. Take your redbox movies back the next morning so you avoid fees,. Don’t drive all over town when you don’t have to..good luck

Slick Rick

October 27th, 2010
12:09 pm

Instead of high priced call girls I know visit massage parlors and street hookers.

Public Health Girl

October 27th, 2010
12:14 pm

not how Charlie Sheen is spending his………………

Cheryl A

October 27th, 2010
12:22 pm

I saved a bundle on my mortgage by reducing my 30 year fixed from 6.5% in 2007, to 4.25% when i closed last week. The closing cost where only $2400 rolled into the loan, but my payments went down by $235 per month and I was able to skip two months of payments. I could have rolled in my credit cards to save more, but we’re just going to using the interest savings from the mortgage to pay off the credit cards by Feb or March next year. My loan guy was great. I have his info anyone needs it.

Chode McBlob

October 27th, 2010
12:27 pm

Well last year I kept my expenses to a minimum as I was unemployed for about 10 months. Now that I’m working I do have money to spend on things like hobbies again. But I am selling my house because I relocated for the new job. So I will lose about $30K on it.

At Peace

October 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

@Bright Idea – Pre k is funded by the lottery, but you have to pay for before school and afterschool care.

My wife and I have pretty much lived on a cash only budget for 5 years now. We realized then that we were getting in over our heads with too much easy credit. It was tough cutting back and budgeting/saving for large purchases, but now it’s just a way of life and we never argue about money. Since we cut back 5 years ago, we didn’t need to make a change to our lifestyle.


October 27th, 2010
12:38 pm

There is a lot of fat to be trimmed if one looks carefully enough. Raising auto insurance deductibles cut our premium in half, programmable thermostats keep the heat/AC bills in check. Driving 5 MPH slower on the freeway can raise MPG by a few. We’re getting ready to fire DISH Network and put up an antenna for free TV. Going to a no-contract (and no-frills) cellphone cut that bill in half.

That’s just a sample. It’s amazing how much waste can accumulate.


October 27th, 2010
12:49 pm

Bright Idea: Sorry for the delay in responding. I should have clarified that, you are right. We have our daughters in the program. Costs are $25 a week for food (per child), $10 a week for breakfast (per child), plus $75 a week for before-school and after-school care (per child), so that we are able to drop our kids off as early as 6:30 (yawn), and pick up as late as 6:30 p.m. Very convenient, but it certainly increases the cost. It’s still less than the cost of private Pre-K. If we didn’t do before/after-school, then the hours of classes would be 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.


October 27th, 2010
12:52 pm

Cheryl….. What company and what’s his number????

Ms. Frugal

October 27th, 2010
1:24 pm

Saving about 15% on groceries with some extreme couponing tactics (and I’m not very good at it). Spending more to pay down the balance on the mortgage while we still have good jobs. I spend more time teaching my children about value — shopping TJMaxx instead of mall stores, passing down school clothes to people we know can use them, eating at home more (even though they hate my cooking). Spending more on household things that improve the value (or maybe preserve the value) of the house — insulation, paint, landscaping. Still spending more on fuel.

Tech fan

October 27th, 2010
1:45 pm

I don’t spend my money.
I am getting even with Georgia brats who come on the Tech blog to insult me.
I am spending as little as I can on that generation by paying less sales taxes.
Works for me.
How bout you?

cat mama

October 27th, 2010
1:54 pm

Hey Eleanor! I have 4 cats and believe me if I could acquire SS#’s for them I would. I’m sure the deduction would be great! Unfortunately by surprise I had to take 3 of them to the vet about 2 weeks ago. If I didn’t have a line of credit with the vet they would be SOL! I know owe about $500.00 on account. Oh well, cats are cheaper than dogs…and children! LOL!


October 27th, 2010
2:03 pm

I only buy what is absolutely essential. I will continue this practice until I die. I don’t care what the next invention or hot ticket item that comes available; I will not purchase.

I plan to help out my only child as much as possible, prior to my death. I will allow this child to live debt free and hope she will pass it along to my grandchildren.

I will not help increase the profit of any corporation, bank, government or any other capitalist opportunist that comes along.

I’m Sick & Tired.


October 27th, 2010
2:06 pm

Why do some of you have children? 12-14 hours a day in daycare? Geez.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

October 27th, 2010
2:28 pm

“I will not help increase the profit of any corporation, bank, government or any other capitalist opportunist that comes along.”

Well I hope you plan on selling all belongings, land, cars, lamps, shower cap, undies, close your checking/savings/401K/roth, sell your stocks etc and purchase a one way ticket to say…Cuba.

Good luck with that.

PS…I hear they have some great psychiatrists in Cuba.

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

October 27th, 2010
2:34 pm

Im stashing between 35% to 40% of my earnings for the next few years. Just my way of slashing spending and helping Obamas ecoonomic and Presidential plans fail.


October 27th, 2010
2:54 pm

Hearty Cheese Sauce – you must be very constipated.

Need a vacation

October 27th, 2010
2:56 pm

Got rid of all my credit cards and pay cash only. Save for things we want. Rarely eat out. Only make necessary trips out- plan ahead to do everything when out. Use coupons and stock up on sale items, especially good BOGO deals. Avoid processed food. Shopped around for my house/car insurance and saved big. Paying extra on my car loan to pay it off a year or more earlier. Use the library. No land line. No premium cable channels. Make a list and no impulse buying. We are trying hard to save and even when it’s not much, we feel good that we aren’t accumulating any more debt other than the house/car loans we have.


October 27th, 2010
3:17 pm

renovated my kitchen and other repairs to my home. car is paid off, no debt other than mortgage.


October 27th, 2010
3:23 pm

My friends all tell me that dogs and cats are better than kids because they……………………….

Eat less.

Don’t ask for money all the time or better yet, NONE of the time.

Are easier to train and they listen even if they don’t respond.

Normally come when you call them.

Never ask to drive the car and they never leave the gas tank on “E.”

Don’t hang out with drug-using people.

Don’t smoke or drink.

They never “roll their eyes” at you.

Don’t want to wear your clothes.

Don’t have to buy the latest fashions.

Don’t need a gazillion dollars for college.

If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

P.S. I think I see a puppy in my future.


October 27th, 2010
3:27 pm

My friend, Donna tells me that cats and dogs don’t need any cellphones, laptops or other gadgets too.

I need a low-frill friend.


October 27th, 2010
4:29 pm

@Cheryl could use the name of your loan guy. or website.

Bright Idea

October 28th, 2010
8:04 am

Kat @ 12:49, thanks for the explanation.


October 28th, 2010
9:10 am

We’ve been spending more across the board for over 2 years, on everyone else! Understand, we had been very frugal up until that time and continue to be for ourselves. The waste of the younger generations is sickening. Our neighbors still don’t get it. They can’t equate what they spend on bottled water and soft drinks with their inability to pay the water and electric bills.