Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Consumer Expenditures Survey
Old 11-04-2014, 01:56 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Consumer Expenditures Survey

We occasionally have "What did you spend last year?" threads. The dialogue in those threads can be interesting, but I also like to see statistics. How do we compare to the "average US couple" of about our age?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics gets thousands of people to fill out very detailed spending reports that should answer that question. These numbers impact all of us because they are the source of the weights used in CPI calculations. But, I've just got a curiosity question for the slice of the data that's "like us".

The BLS provides many sample tables here: Consumer Expenditure Survey
Unfortunately, none of them have exactly what I wanted. Fortunately, they also put the "micro-data" online. Anyone can download every answer to every question from every family. I used that data to put together a table that's closer to my interests. Maybe it's also interesting to other people here.

All the data here is for married couples, with no children at home, with both spouses over age 60:

CATEGORYOwner _____Renter ____Both ___
Food at home 4,562 3,241 4,296
Food away from home 2,378 974 2,181
Mortgage interest 2,539 15 2,334
Mortgage principal 1,937 146 1,790
Property taxes 3,071 75 2,826
Homeowners insurance 611 6 562
House maint, repairs, flooring 1,806 9 1,662
Rent 61 11,620 950
Electricity 1,633 1,023 1,583
Heating fuels 740 223 697
Water, sewer, trash, … 660 189 622
Major appliances 283 101 266
Housekeeping services 874 300 826
Cleaning Supplies 359 183 330
Other housekeeping supplies 611 215 559
Furniture 429 222 411
Smal appl, misc HH eq & textiles__ 1,265 535 1,165
Other lodging 652 243 617
Telephone services 1,245 1,049 1,227
Computer information services 356 206 343
Clothing 1,290 570 1,189
Cars, net purchase + lease 3,809 889 3,568
Vehicle finance charges 152 103 148
Car insurance 1,149 1,114 1,100
Gasoline and motor oil 2,346 1,459 2,277
Car maint & repairs 1,085 519 1,030
Car rental, prkng, tolls 260 232 256
Public transportation 17 82 22
Other vehicles 19 - 18
Health insurance 4,623 2,861 4,490
LTC insurance 322 77 303
Dental, Eyecare, Hearing Aids 862 400 825
Other medical 1,326 957 1,280
Personal services 56 30 54
Fees and admissions 646 148 601
Cable/Satellite services 848 579 826
Other AV equip & services 166 169 163
Pets, toys, hobbies, … 651 332 605
Other Ent supp, eqp, services 515 12 474
Personal care products 385 452 375
Personal care services 421 261 408
Reading 207 104 198
Education 162 214 162
Alcohol 478 282 442
Tobacco 172 305 182
Miscellaneous 770 290 724
Alimony and child support 39 5 36
Gifts to f & f, educational 475 133 449
Other gifts to f & f 2,769 736 2,589
Tax deductible contributions 2,549 758 2,409
Life and other pers insurance 743 325 711
Travel food and alcohol 630 143 594
Travel lodging 739 128 697
Travel gasoline 239 64 225
Travel public transportation 959 319 916
Travel other 177 22 165
TOTAL 58,128 35,649 55,758

I'd like to right-adjust the numbers in the columns, but don't know how. Any suggestion?

Note that only 33% of the owners had mortgages. So, those that did paid $7,617 in interest and $5,811 in principal.
__________________

__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 11-04-2014, 02:09 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Caveats:

Although the BLS does thousands of surveys each quarter, the data above comes from just a small slice of the total sample.

They do "interviews" for larger expenses, like rent, each quarter. In the interview, they ask the contributor to remember (or look up) spending for the prior three months.

They do "diaries" for smaller expenses like food. For the diaries, they ask the contributor to make detailed entries every day for two weeks for each individual expense (yes, that means each item on the grocery receipt is entered separately). They do one two-week period each quarter for each family.

The "owner" column above averaged 599 interviews per quarter, and 272 weekly diaries.
But, the "renter" column only averaged 54 interviews and 25 diaries.

The BLS says that owners outnumber renters by about 11 to 1 in this group of older couples.

So, I'm not really sure that renters spend more on tobacco than owners, it might be they just happened to hit some heavy smokers in the random drawing.

The main reason that I showed them separately is that I wanted to show the housing expenses for owners without having them averaged in with the renters.

Also, I've barely sampled all the extensive documentation on what actually gets into each of the rows above. It exists, but it is lengthy. This can impact comparisons. For example, our expense tracking puts everything that we sometimes buy at the "grocery store" into a single category. It contains food, and also paper towels, toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent, and even dryer sheets. So, if I want to compare our "supermarket" category to the BLS numbers, I need to combine their "Food at home", "Cleaning supplies", and "Personal care products" lines.
__________________

__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 02:28 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,326
The CES helped us to realize how much expense creep we had over the years. We've had great success using it as a benchmark to see where we could focus our cost cutting efforts.
__________________
daylatedollarshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 02:47 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3,825
That's cool info! It would be great if every store receipt and every bill you got would break the expense down into those defined categories...I was thinking cramming the data into a qr code or something. That would make tracking by these small categories feasible. I might hit 6 categories in a trip to super walmart, so can't be bothered getting that detailed.
__________________
sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 355
I was tracking pretty good until I hit the alcohol category, methinks I spend that much each month. Good thing the mortgage is paid off.
__________________
Throwdownmyaceinthehole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 07:11 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
That's cool info! It would be great if every store receipt and every bill you got would break the expense down into those defined categories...I was thinking cramming the data into a qr code or something. That would make tracking by these small categories feasible. I might hit 6 categories in a trip to super walmart, so can't be bothered getting that detailed.
Yes, like I said, we can hit three categories on one trip to the grocery store. I added the BLS detail together rather than try to take ours apart when I compared.

But, it's interesting that we do carry detail for a lot of these. For example, if I look at my annual spending summary, I'll see separate totals for electricity, natural gas, and sewer/water.

(Of course, since I wrote the report, it probably reflects some of my breakdowns.)
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 07:18 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2,357
interesting that renters spend more on smokes
__________________
GrayHare is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 07:36 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: ST LOUIS
Posts: 993
Is it cheaper to rent or do homeowners just spend more money?
__________________
Proverbs 15:22 Designs are brought to nothing where there is no counsel: but where there are many counsellors, they are established.
rec7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 08:14 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by rec7 View Post
Is it cheaper to rent or do homeowners just spend more money?
I expect that people with lower incomes rent.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 08:21 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
interesting that renters spend more on smokes
Two possibilities:

1 - Lower income people are more likely to smoke. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/200...-charted/?_r=0
Assuming renters are, on average, lower income people, this may just reflect that relationship.

2 - Note that they only averaged 54 interviews from renters. If smoking is fairly rare, a random drawing might get a few "too many" smokers and give an unreliable result.
__________________

__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
PSA: Soc Sec - Expenditures of the Aged Chartbook 2010 Midpack FIRE and Money 4 04-01-2013 04:36 PM
Cash Expenditures in Quicken TromboneAl FIRE and Money 10 07-13-2006 02:42 AM
Expenditures Decrease With Age TromboneAl FIRE and Money 18 06-11-2005 06:57 PM
Consumer Price Index info Telly FIRE and Money 0 07-12-2003 09:53 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:32 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.