10 Things How To shopping

How does the average American spend their paycheck?

Web Watch remembers the old adage when we were just starting out to be able to sustain ourselves on our own.

“When you make your budget, you should always devote 1/3 to housing, 1/3 to transportation, and 1/3 for everything else.”

Now, we may not have been able to follow that breakdown exactly, but it’s not necessarily that far from the truth of how AMERICANS ACTUALLY SPEND THEIR PAYCHECK.  Especially if you take into account the need for saving some money for retirement or a rainy day, that ratio may be better split into quarters:

“devote 1/4 to housing, 1/4 to transportation, 1/4 put away in the bank/IRA/investments, 1/4 for everything else”

That seems to be closer to the truth.  Let’s take a look at how the average 48-year-old spends their average $63,091 annual salary (before taxes):

Make Your Paycheck Last
Make Your Paycheck Last

It’s all outlined here, in this graphic based on statistics from the US Department of Labor and US Bureau of Labor Statistics:


  • 34.1% is spent on housing (including utilities and assorted other expenses)
  • 17.6% is spent on transportation (including gas, vehicle maintenance)
  • 3.7% goes to charity
  • 5.4% is spent on entertainment
  • 12.4% is for food (7% is spent at home, 5.4% is spent at restaurants or other dining out options)
  • 0.9% for alcoholic beverages
  • 10.8% is for pensions and insurance
  • 1.9% on education
  • 3.8% on clothing
  • 1.2% on personal care/grooming
  • 5.7% on healthcare
  • and 1.6% on “miscellanous”