What Do Americans Spend Their Money On? American Spending Habits Explained

January 4, 2021 | June Mckaig

American spending habits understand

Consumer spending is part of the American Dream and it accounts for approximately 70% of the US economy. We have prepared a summary of American spending habits for those interested in knowing what do Americans spend their money on.

The data is taken from various surveys that list spending habits pre-COVID-19 and also highlight how these habits changed post-COVID-19.

American Spending Habits Before COVID-19

For the three months before March 2020, the American consumer expenditure was around $14.5 trillion. Consumption can be broadly divided into two parts: non-discretionary, such as food, rent, medicine, etc., and discretionary, which includes all leisure and non-essential goods and services.

Non-Discretionary Spending

  • Rent or Mortgage: Around 32 percent
  • Groceries: Around almost 9 percent
  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes: Almost 2 percent
  • Doctors and Dentists: Took three percent
  • Utilities: Took 5 percent

Discretionary Spending

  • Eating out: This includes eating out at restaurants, fast food chains, vending machines, delivery services, and coffees before work. This accounts for almost six percent of total purchases.
  • Clothing and related services: This includes buying clothes and related services such as dry cleaning, apparel rental, getting jewelry fixed, etc. This accounts for three percent of total purchases.
  • Leisure equipment and Entertainment services: This is a relatively broad category and includes sports equipment, fishing, and hunting accessories, bikes, boats, and other supplies. This accounts for eight percent of total purchases.
  • Tobacco and Alcohol: Tobacco and Alcohol account for less than one and exactly one percent of total expenses, respectively.
  • Fees and Admission Tickets: This includes tickets for sports events, movies, bars, etc. and Americans spend a little more than one percent of total expenses on this category.
  • Vacations Lodgings: This accounts for a little more than one percent of total expenses. Generally, as household income increases the total percentage spent on vacation lodgings increases in tandem.
  • Hobbies, Toys, Pets, and Playground Equipment: This accounts for a little over one percent of total expenses.
  • Television, Videogames, and Sound Equipment: This accounts for two percent of total expenses.
  • Gifts: Americans on average spend a little over two percent of total expenses on gift items.

American Spending Habits After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it and, according to a Bank of America survey, it has changed the spending habits of almost 64 percent of American adults. The survey highlights changes in expenses for an average American.

Reduced Spending Habits

The most obvious change has been a reduction in travel and transport expenses which decreased by 22 percent and nine percent, respectively. This was because most people were working and secondly due to a massive reduction in holidays and vacation travel.

Other expenses that saw a reduction are as follows:

  • Financial: Went down a little less than 30 percent
  • Bills and Utilities: Went down a little less than 24 percent
  • Entertainment: Went down a little less than 23 percent
  • Business Services: Went down around eight percent
  • Fees and Charges: Went down around seven percent
  • Personal Care: Went down a little less than five percent
  • Kids: Went down a little under three percent

Increased Spending Habits

Due to the reduction in spending on the items listed above, there was a general trend among Americans to save more with investments, witnessing a massive 42 percent jump year on year. As more people stayed at home and couldn’t socialize in a way that they were used to, they spent a lot more on pets, with an increase of 23 percent, to be exact.

Other expenses that increased are as follows:

  • Education: Education went up by 17 percent
  • Home: Home spending went up to nine percent
  • Food and Dining: Food and dining went up a little less than seven percent
  • Health and Fitness: Health and fitness went up six percent
  • Shopping: Shopping – especially online shopping – went up around six percent
  • Gifts and Donations: Gifts and donations went up around four percent
  • Loans: Loans went up around four percent

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As you can see, Americans increased their spending on loans after the pandemic hit. This is primarily due to the negative economic conditions of the country. Unemployment and business losses became common; and most Americans had fewer savings for emergencies such as medical expenses, auto, or home repairs.

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If you get a title loan, you will be free to use your car as long as you keep on making the payments. You will have to ensure that the car is in your name and lien-free, meaning there is no outstanding claim against it.

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Getting a title loan with us in Delaware is simple. This is the step-by-step process of acquiring car title loans:

  1. Go to our website and fill out the online form;
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  3. You will have to bring the vehicle, its title, and your driver’s license or ID;
  4. The representative will check your car and let you know the loan amount you are eligible for;
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  6. The whole process should not take more than 30 minutes after which you can drive off with the money.

As you can see, the spending habits of Americans have changed very noticeably due to this pandemic.