Do you ever wonder if you spend too much money on rent, dining out, or anything else? There are no rules set in stone that tell you how much to spend on one activity or another, but you can compare your spending habits to other Americans.
This is possible thanks to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is conducted each year by the U.S. Census Bureau. It's the only nationwide household survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers.
The latest survey looked at the spending habits of 129,549 American consumers. It then broke their expenditures down into more than a dozen categories.
The biggest category is housing, which accounts for approximately 41% of the average American's annual expenditures. This includes both the direct costs for shelter -- like rent and mortgage payments -- as well as indirect costs for things like furnishings and supplies.
Next up is transportation, at 16% of the average American's annual spending. Food, healthcare, and utilities round out the top five, at 14%, 8%, and 7%, respectively.
How does your spending compare?