Answer: Americans spend $18,000 on nonessentials every year
Take a minute to think about some of your favorite hobbies. Do you like working out? How about watching TV or the latest Game of Thrones series? What about listening to music on Spotify while you drink coffee in the morning? If you said yes to any of the fun activities above, well then congratulations – you’re an average American. However, sometimes being an average – consumption-driven – American comes at a cost. You see, most of the items above are deemed “nonessential”, meaning you don’t absolutely need them to survive. And while there is no harm in treating yourself every once in a while, it’s always good to keep these financial outlays in check or else they can spiral into costs that eat away at your paycheck and savings account.
According to research commissioned by Ladder and conducted by OnePoll, the average adult in the USA spends $1,497 a month on nonessential items. This ends up being just under $18,000 a year. Some of the items that cost the most per month are bills on restaurant meals ($209.38), drinks ($188.68), and rideshares ($96.11). Cable TV – something that is increasingly being “cut” from homes across the US – still costs the average American around $90 a month. Even though people are ditching the service, they’re putting that money right back into the TV by paying roughly $23 per month on streaming services. In order to stay healthy Americans are spending around $70 a month on gym memberships, and to stay hydrated they’re spending $20 a month on coffee and $17 a month on bottled water.
Now, we would argue that if you have a gym membership, and you actually use it, that’s a worthwhile bill to foot every month. It helps you keep healthy and could potentially stave off a whole range of conditions later in life that would certainly come at a cost. It’s an investment in that sense. The point of the research is to show that there are some things that Americans maybe don’t need to splurge on in order to either save or invest that money instead. Rather than taking an Uber, think about walking. Instead of bottled water, get a reusable water bottle and fill it up during the day. This advice goes hand in hand with the fact that 20% of Americans are not saving anything at all. As we mentioned, a nest egg can provide freedom, financial security, room for risk, and an overall safety net if you or a loved one falls on hard times. At the end of the day, treat yourself and enjoy life, but think about ways to save a couple of bucks from month to month in order either save or invest.