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Cost of Living

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Overview

Cost of living Calculations.

The average cost of living for an American

  • $20,194 per person per year according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (value given divided by 2.5 average household size ('consumer unit') - [1]
  • Of this, housing ($6844), cars ($3442), and food ($2577) totals $12863 per person - about 64% of the cost of living.

Average food expenditures for an American

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics - $2577/person/year - [2]
    • Almost half of this is eating out
  • $150/week/2.6 household = $230 per month
  • $2700/year according to [3]
  • $300/month for moderate - [4]

Average housing expenditures

  • $6844/person/year - includes utilities and furnishings - [5]
    • $541 of this is electricity, and 451 is phone
    • $1500 of this is mortgage payments, or about 1/4 of all housing costs

The average transportation expenditures

  • $3442 per person per year - BLS - [6]
    • Of this, $1086 is for fuel and oil, and $205 is public transportation

Other highest costs

From [7]:

  • Pensions,personal insurance, social security- $2242/person/year
  • Healthcare - $1190/person/year
  • Entertainment - $1134

Average Debt

The above statistics don't tell much about debt levels.

$8500 is the average debt per person in America in 2008 - [8]

Cost over a lifetime

Say a person lives 78 years [9], and you take the average cost of living from BLS.

Over 78 years, one spends an average of about $1.6 million dollars just to survive.

Of this, one spends about $1M on housing, food, and cars ($12683 per year * 78)

More specifically:

One spends an average of $530,000 to put a roof over their head over their life.

One spends an average of $270,000 on their wheels.

One spends an average of $201,000 on grub.

This certainly makes a case for buying out at the bottom.

See Also