Ten Things Americans Waste the Most Money On

8. Entertainment Equipment and Services, Nonessential
> Annual Amount Spent Per Household: $400
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 0.8%

Products in this category include bicycles, trailers, camping equipment, hunting and fishing equipment, sports equipment, boats, photographic equipment and supplies.  The average expenditures dedicated to items in this category among all households is $400.  The greatest average amount, $870, occurs among households with a husband, wife, and an eldest child age 6 to 17 years.  In households with only one parent and at least one child under 18, the amount drops to $188.  In 1989, the average amount for all households was slightly less, at $369.

7. Alcohol
> Annual Amount Spent Per Household: $435
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 0.9%

In 2009, the average American household spent $435 on beer, wine, hard liquor, and mixed drinks. This is more than the amount spent on all non-alcoholic beverages combined. Despite the higher prices often paid in restaurants and bars, the majority of money spent is on alcohol is for drinks consumed in the home. Households consisting only of a husband and wife spent an average of $582, roughly $400 more than single-parent households. On average, household spending on alcohol increased 35% from 1989, but the percent of their total budget spent on drinks is about the same: 1% in 1989 versus 0.9% in 2009.

6. Fees and Admissions
> Annual Amount Spent Per Household: $628
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 1.3%

In 2009, the average household spent $628 on fees and admissions for sporting events, films, and concerts. This category also includes club memberships and movie rentals. These costs are more than what the average household spent on personal care products. People in the Northeast spent $780 on this category, about $370 more than those in the South. The average annual expenses for these products are nearly double what they were in 1989, when the average movie ticket cost $4, about half of what people spend today.

5. Lodging, Vacation Homes and Hotels
> Annual Amount Spent Per Household: $672
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 1.4%

The average American household spent more than $670 on vacation homes and hotels. While this is more than the $485 spent twenty years ago, Americans are actually spending less than they used to on their total budgets – 1.7% in 1989 versus 1.4% in 2009. As might be expected, households which make more than $70,000 each year spent far more than the average American: $1,511 in 2009. Households in the Northeast spent $924 on vacation homes and hotels, nearly double what those in the South pay each year.

4. Pets, Toys, Hobbies, and Playground Equipment
> Annual Amount Spent Per Household: $690
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 1.4%

The average household spent nearly $700 on pets, toys, hobbies, and playground equipment. Nearly 80% of the expenses in this category come from pets, including food and veterinary bills. In contrast, households only spent $140 on toys and games. Families with the oldest child under 6 only spent $670. Families with a child older than 18 spent nearly $1,200. Most of this difference comes from significantly more spending on veterinary services. Households in the Western United States spent $800 on pets, toys and games – 20% more than those in the Midwest. These expenses have increased from 0.9% of household budgets in 1989 to 1.4% in 2009.

3. Television, Radio, and Sound Equipment
> Amount Spent Per Household: $975
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 2%

In 2009, the average household spent $975 on television, radio, and sound equipment, including cable TV, video game hardware, and movie players.  This amount is up from $429 in 1989.  For comparison, the average amount spent on reading material, which is another household expenditure category, was only $109.  The group which spent the greatest portion of their budget in this category, 2.5%, was those who made between $5,000 to $9,999.  The group which spent the least was the group making the most.  Households earning $70,000 or more spent only 1.7% of their budget on items in this category.

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