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New Study Breaks Down How Americans Spent All Their Money in 2012

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Money – we all want it, but once we have it, where does it go?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has come out with a study detailing how we spent our money in 2012.

Far and away, the biggest cost was housing – 33% of all money we spent went towards putting a roof over our heads. Transportation was next, at 17%:

The average consumer unit (defined as “families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share expenses”) coughed up $16,887 on shelter, while forking over $8,998 on transportation.

Food took third. Broken down, we spent $3,921 eating at home and $2,678 eating out.

Overall, we spent $51,442 last year. That’s especially depressing, considering a new report from the US Census Bureau found that the median household income last year was $51,107 — which is actually below the median household income of $51,681 (in 2012 dollars) generated in 1989.

Here’s a look at what we spent money on 2012, along with percentage of each item towards our total spending and the amount each consumer paid.

  • Housing – 33% ($16,887)
  • Transportation – 17% ($8,998)
  • Food – 13% ($6,599)
  • Insurance and pensions – 11% ($5,591)
  • Health care – 7% ($3,556)
  • Entertainment – 5% ($2,605)
  • Cash contributions – 4% ($1,913)
  • Apparel and services – 3% ($1,736)
  • All other expenses – 7% ($3,557)

[Bureau of Labor Statistics]

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