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« FMF March Money Madness, Round 1, Posts 37-40 | Main | Debt, Death, and Taxes »

February 25, 2012


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Average for most categories.

No pets

Shoes? We are not the norm. Well my wife buys the top of the line New balance shoes that are designed not to roll like the typical shoe, since she rolled her ankle and they can be up to $175 retail. I will get two pair a year at around $60 each. We are not shoe-aholics

My wife asked fellow teachers how many pair of shoes they have and most said around 50. So I can see how some people could spend ALOT on shoes.

I have to believe that the $15,073 health insurance premiums number is inclusive of all the benefits paid by employers and the government (including Medicare/Medicaid) and averaged out across all households. Surely very few individuals shell out nearly $1,200 monthly just on the premiums. I would guess the number there is not too far from your monthly $80.

Self-insuring certainly costs a lot more as I've learned over the years, but something like 80% of the population is covered by either workplace or government health plans and there the premiums are typically on the order of $100/month or less.

And I have to agree with your comment: how the heck do "shoes" have a category of their own?

Why is electricity called out as opposed to gas? My bill combines the two utilities, so its hard to break up, but my combined gas/electric bill is about $400 per month

Health insurance and gas plus overall driving costs seem to be pretty high...


I work for a small business in Massachuesetts. The monthly premium for our family health plan is $1,660. It was $1,565 last year. My employer pays half. Our family health expenses including premiums and copays were just over $11,000 for 2011 (married with 3 kids).

This year, I was really really low on Christmas. I'll have to up my Christmas game next year, ha.

Shoes probably fell in there because families with children burn through shoes like it's going out of style.

I think at my household, we probably doubled (if not trippled) that gas - if that's not incentive to take public transport, I don't know what is!

I'm surprised they don't also list averages for heating oil and natural gas as well. Our electricity usage is far below the one listed but we use natural gas for our heat so that takes a big bite out of it. My in-laws have electric heat and their winter electric bills are often four to five times ours (and they live in NC while we're in the northeast).

Not owning a car, I'm way below the average on all things automotive. I spend about $1500 per year for: car sharing rentals, traditional rental cars, gas and insurance for traditional rentals, gas for borrowed cars, parking, tolls, and taxis. I drive roughly twice a month.

Public transit? Maybe $100/year in fares. Mostly I walk and bike.

This is when it's nice to be retired and elderly.

Our largest expense is food, wine, and restaurant meals.
We are in my former employer's group insurance plan which was $222/month for both of us in 2011.
We drive less than 3,000 miles/year and fill up at COSTCO.

With no debt and a very high income this is the most comfortable time of our life - money has lost its significance - we just buy whatever is needed and after the necessities of life that doesn't amount to a whole lot. I am also a chauffeur now since my wife gave up driving.

My wife received an inheritance around Christmas time and gave each of our children a check for $10,000. She gave me a new rototiller for my vegetable garden and in return I gave her a lot of love and a beautiful garden to enjoy.

Our entertainment expense is $23.80/month for a Netflix 4 DVD plan that we use to watch a really great movie every afternoon (not the sex and violence ones that they show at the theaters these days).

Regarding health premiums, I work for a major public university and pay1,200 a month for my husband and me, healthy 40-somethings.

I am surprised at the shoe expense, but I would guess that there are some women who could drop that much on one pair of designer shoes. Frankly, I have never understood the obsession with shoes.

The pets category also seems fairly expensive.

The Time article seems to just be listing a random collection of figures from different sources. The BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey has all the numbers cut up various ways. I trust the BLS more.

They might be listing electricity since everyone has electricity. Whereas not everyone has gas or fuel oil.

The health insurance cost is the total cost for employer provided health care including both the employer portion and the employee portion. Employess pay average $4100 and the employer pays the remaining $11000.

Keep in mind these are all average numbers so they're skeweed high by the high income households. e.g. one Imelda Marcos thrown in with a crowd of middle income folks inflates the average for shoe spending.

The cost of driving is from AAA and I think their number is inflated. From the BLS, the average spending on ALL transportation (car, plane, train, etc) is $7677 and the average household has 1.9 cars.

From the BLS data, the average household spends $303 a year on footwear. Thats for 2.5 people. That comes out to $121 per American. Time is quoting some website called SodaHead that claims women spend $370 a year. That number doesn't seem realistic if average households spend $303.

Taxes is our largest expense, by far.

Here is our breakdown... Maybe I've got some opportunity.

Gas = $5,040
Christmas = ~$2,000
Cell = $2,400
Electricity = $2,700
Health Ins = $2,860
Pets = $1,000
Shoes = $800

I guess we are spending more than average. One of our issues is that we have 3 boys who are very active in multiple sports and scouts. They each have shoes for at least 2 different sports, boots, skates, dress shoes, tennis shoes. They are also very hard on shoes so they don't last. We do hand me downs but they often don't last long.

Our cell phones are expensive as we have 5 of them. The boys have phones because we have to leave them at fields/schools/etc. while driving remaining boys to other places.

Electricity is high due to AC usages since we live in the south and have a pool. The good thing is our heating bill is small.

Finally, Christmas is high as we have large families to buy for and kids have more expensive stuff the older they get. For example, a baseball bat for youth ball that meets the new standard is $200. Hiking Backpacks are $150, boots $150, an xbox game is $50, etc.

We are blessed to have a good income without debt but I recognize there can be opportunity to cut costs here.

@texashaze - Everything's bigger in Texas, huh? ;-)

* Gasoline: Slight Under about 3,800 yr

* Overall Driving Costs: 15,000 miles per year, $8,776

* Christmas: Slight Over, about 1000k

* Cell Phone: Over, two smart phones w/ data 1800 yr

* Electricity: Over, couple with Gas about 2,000 yr

* Health Insurance Premiums: Under, about 5,500 per year

* Pets: Average dog owner:Under no pets

* Shoes: $370 lol, we probably go over due to my wife.

Most of our lives are spent standing, sitting, or lying in bed, so I think we can be physically comfortable most of our lives with a great pair of shoes, a nice chair, and a wonderful mattress.

If "Shoes" isn't an ideal budget category, where does the "Rockport" subcategory go? ;-}

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