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Posted on October 3, 2018

Spending Habits of Thirty-Somethings: How Do You Measure Up?

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Published by Pamela Pena, CFP® Associate Wealth Advisor

Welcome! You’ve hit your mid 30’s and life is amazing, or maybe you realize the “Friends” theme song was a pretty accurate depiction of young adult life. No matter how delayed your maturity was or if you were one of the few responsible twenty-year-olds, you can’t deny it; you are now an adult. Measuring up used to be called “Keeping up with the Joneses” and now it is called “social media scrolling.” As much as we’d all like to pretend we don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else, we do. So instead of worrying whether we have the right car or right OOTD, let’s compare ourselves on things that may help our future selves, like how we spend our money!

Spending is one of the most difficult topics in personal financial planning. When I ask my clients about spending I either get the very organized know-the-exact-number-to-the-cent folks or the ones who have no idea where their money goes. Most of these clients are also afraid to figure it out, but once they go through the exercise, the decision is made to take charge of their spending.

How much money do you spend on a daily basis?

I’m talking about walking around spending like Uber, restaurants, shopping, amazon video rentals, fantasy league bets type of money; also known in finance-terms as discretionary spending. If you are the average consumer in America according to Gallup, then the sum is approximately $100/day.

Consumers in this survey were asked how much they spent yesterday, so I asked myself this same question. Since I happened to look at the survey on a weekday, I decided to look at one week’s worth of spending and average that number. Through our holistic financial planning, we provide our clients with a secure website to track spending. I looked over mine and I spent $354.38 for the week. My average was way lower than the survey figures at $44.30. Here’s the breakdown:

Monday $62.70 Tuesday $52.35 Wednesday $75.56 Thursday $75.00 Friday $18.03

Saturday 

$70.74

Sunday

$0

Bargain Shopping for booties for a charity event and splurging on a new sweater: $46.00

Lunch: $11.36 Prime Video Rental: $5.34

Lunch with a friend: $42.00

Convenience store trip to buy junk food: $10.35

Brunch: $24.32

Uber: $11.24

Groceries: $40.00

Dog Sitter: $60.00

Venmo to friend to pay for restaurant: $15.00

Pharmacy: $18.03

Lunch & Mimosas: $29.65

Starbucks: $5.00

Uber:$7.30

Waters at convenience store and candy: $10.79

Drinks watching the Husker Game: $18.00

Let’s say I wanted to figure out my budget for the year. What I would do in my case is multiply my weekly number ($354.38) by 52 weeks ($18,427.76) and then divide it by 12 months. My number is $1,535.65. I round this down to $1500.

In my example above: Can I cut brunch and therefore cut Uber if I want to save more? Yes! Will I do it for the rest of my life? No, but I can adjust as my life needs arrive.

This is called the Rollover Feature: Since my shopping budget is $50/month and I already spent $46, technically I should not go buy any more fall outfits this month. However, if I want to cook for a week and instead of eating out, I can use the money I saved for a new shirt. I can rollover money from one part the budget to another as long as overall I stay under my $1500/month number. Do you see how this plays out? It’s much easier than you thought!

How about you? Are you spending more or less than your peers? Have you worked out your budget? Take the first step and read our budget guide.


 

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