Ten Things Americans Waste the Most Money On

2. Gifts
> Amount Spent Per Household: $1,067
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 2.2%

Although Americans spend a great deal of money on unnecessary goods and services for themselves, they also spend a large amount on gifts for others.  The average amount spent on gifts (including housing, apparel, and entertainment items) per household in 2009 was $1,067.  This amount has increased from $887 in 2009.  Households with incomes of less than $5,000 spent an average of $479, while households earning between $5,000 and $9,999 spent an average $261, the lowest amount.

1. Food Away From Home
> Amount Spent Per Household: $2,619
> % of Total Annual Expenses: 5.3%

Food away from home includes all meals at fast food, take-out, delivery, full-service restaurants, and at vending machines and food carts.  In 2009, the average household spent $2,619 on food away from home, compared to an average $1,762 in 1989.  The group which spent the most in this category, relative to household income, are those which make less than $5,000 a year.  This group spent an average 6.2% of their total budget on food away from home. Those making between $5,000 and $9,999 spent 4.7%.

Douglas McIntyre, Michael Sauter, Charles Stockdale