A close look at Americans' food budget shows an obvious place to save money
The average American household spends most of its money - 62% of an average $56,000 in annual expenditures - on just three things: housing, transportation, and food.
If you're trying to cut costs and save money, food might be the easiest place to start.Food accounts for 12.5%, or just over $7,000 in the average budget, of annual expenditures, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's an area where you can make some pretty immediate changes, whereas housing and car expenses tend to be longer-term commitments with less flexibility.
If you throw in the next-largest spending category - nonalcoholic beverages, which presumably aren't involved in meal preparation - Americans' three largest food spending categories, roughly 60% of their annual food budget, involve little to no actual cooking.Now, since this data refers to raw spending and doesn't indicate anything about the number of meals this spending creates, we can't really draw firm conclusions about how often Americans are cooking versus eating prepared food. Since prepared meals cost more, they may account for more of the food budget even while occurring less frequently.Either way, if you want to stretch your dollars a little further, reducing restaurant visits and increasing your home-cooked meals is a surefire way to start.
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