Shopping Stats

As a society, we love to shop. I know I’ve done my fair share. Because I have a curious mind, I decided to do a little research on how much we, as Americans, spend on shopping, in both time and money.

Here are some shopping stats that will blow you away:

On average, a single adult spends approximately $65 per week on food. (

25% of our grocery dollars are spent on processed foods and sweets. (

The average American spends $454 dollars per year on alcohol. Upper income (over $150,000 per year) spends nearly three times as much. (

Clothing was difficult. It seems there are those who spend a lot, and those who spend very little. Some people prefer purchasing many items, while others would rather buy one quality piece. But this is what I found (from August 2011): In a survey by, over 40% of people spent between $500 and $1000 in the first half of the year, 27% spent less than $500, and 22% between $1000 and $2500. According to Forbes, Americans spend $1700 per family per year. The answers seem to be all over the place. I think what it really comes down to is this, we spend a lot of money on clothing.

How long do people spend shopping? Women spend the most time in a physical store, 399 hours per year to be exact. To be fair, those hours include shopping for the family – for clothing, food, and toiletries. (

Men and women both spend five hours each week shopping online, with men spending 28% more money than women. (

We spend:

$1600 per household per year on electronics. (

$1100 on coffee. (2012

$2482 per household on entertainment. (

$1641 per year on a dog, and $1125 caring for a cat. (

$371 per child per year is spent on toys. (

$1500 per year is spent by the average American smoker. (, June 20111) For those who smoke one pack per day, the cost is $9200 per year. (

$608 is spent on personal care. (

$1345 on manicures. (

$2041 are spent on vacations each year. (

We have an expensive society, no doubt. Looking at these numbers makes me seriously ill. I often wonder if we don’t overspend on things that don’t matter, like junk food that doesn’t nourish us, clothing that sits idle in our closets, coffee we could make at home, and toys our children don’t play with.

We overspend, and overspend, and wonder where our money went. And then we look around our homes, and there it sits, inside magazine subscriptions we never read, and in chairs that never get used.

My home, my life, they are far from perfect. I am far from perfect. I still make purchasing mistakes, and spend my money on things I don’t need (like the three bottles of nail polish I recently bought). But I am trying. Trying to spend less, to be a conscious consumer, and purchase only what I need. Trying to live a simpler life, with less focus on stuff, and more on what matters.

Like vacations with my husband, events with family, and a solid retirement plan.

Which brings me to this: 26% of adults have zero savings. Nothing to fall back on in case of an emergency. 36% haven’t begun to save for retirement. (

What does this have to do with minimalism? Everything. We are a consumeristic society, fed commercials since birth. Told to buy and buy and buy. We aren’t taught to save, aren’t told that we really don’t need toys and extra clothes or three bottles of polish to survive.

It takes much less to live on than we think. Click To Tweet

Maybe it’s time to rethink where we spend our money and time. Maybe it’s time to place it in what matters.

It’s simple, when you think about it. Give up coffee at the shop, even once a week. Stop needless subscriptions, and extra trips to the grocery store. Put the dollars away, in the bank, or a retirement account. Watch your money grow.

What do you spend your money on that you could be saving? Where will you put it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As for me, I’m putting an end to nail polish.

Have a simply beautiful day.

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My $5000 Purge and Counting

Earlier this year I wrote about my $5000 purge, an exciting, albeit emotional, event. I loved the empty spots in my drawers, the bare space on the closet floor, and the fact I had less to clean. What I didn’t like was realizing how much money my husband and I spent on stuff we ended up giving away.

Granted, some of the items we purchased at one point we needed, or at least thought we did. (Like the kombucha maker.) But other things, Christmas decorations never used, movies watched only once, books never read, were a complete waste of money. And I hate wasting money.

But I wonder, if I had never spent money on needless things, if I had never spent time and energy in purchasing each of them, would I have ever known what it felt like to give it all away? I doubt it.

For it was in the releasing that I learned the true meaning of peace. And for that alone, every dime and dollar spent, was worth it.

Maybe money isn’t truly wasted when it teaches us what life is really about.

Here is my continuation (and confession) of more ‘stuff’ released from my life:

Christmas Mugs – I’m a sentimental Christmas nut, and couldn’t quite let go, even though they were old, chipped, and no longer used.

Glass Storage Containers – Looking pretty sitting in a closet.

Tea Light Candles – For the tea light holders we don’t own.

Old Prescription Glasses – I guess in case our eyes go back to the old prescription.

Refrigerator Magnets – It’s easy to collect these. How many does a person need?

Glass Cake Stand – For cakes I never display, or make.

Old Watches – So many watches, so little time to wear them.

Water Jug – Because one wasn’t enough.

Coffee Mugs – How many people live in our house?

Books – Still letting go. This will be a long process.

Vases, Frames, Plastic Wine Glasses – Miscellaneous items rarely used.

Candles – We could have lit up the neighborhood if the power had gone out.

File Folders, Office Supplies – To be fair, most of the supplies were from the office where my husband worked. When they closed their doors, we adopted a bunch of supplies to donate to homeschooling families and church. Whatever wasn’t needed was given to the thrift store.

Children’s Toys – Broken and battered.

Clothing – This area has improved immensely. So proud of both my husband and myself.

Baskets and Trivets and Knick-Knacks – Oh, my.

Wallet, Purses – Because a girl really only needs so many purses. Quality over quantity.

Tablecloths – Bought for an occasion, and never used again. I hate, hate, hate tablecloths. Cleaning them, ironing them, trying to get stains out. Never again will I purchase a tablecloth.

Tools – Tools are like the spices of the kitchen. It’s easy to forget what you have and buy duplicates. I think we are finally getting a solid hold on what we actually own.

Binoculars and Case – We already own another, and better, pair.

Table Base – Without a top.

Decorative Tray – No explanation, because I can’t come up with one.

Quilt – Sitting in a drawer, for a just-in-case moment.

Beach Bag – Because when we moved to a coastal state we thought we were supposed to own one.

Craft Paints and Supplies – I gave it all up. I’m so proud of me. All those crafts I never did are finally gone, and it feels so good.

Easel – Part of the craft release.

Recliner – Ripped and torn (it was getting old). We bought a new chair to put in its place, so technically, we didn’t lose an item. Just replaced it.

Desk Chair – Not needed.

Desk – Because one is enough.

Bowls and Cookbooks – The kitchen is getting emptier!

A Tripod – It sounded cool to own this. But it broke immediately, and was very awkward to carry anywhere, something we should have thought of ahead of time.

Coffee Table – Admission: I have owned four coffee tables in less than twelve years. Just recently, I discovered why: I hate coffee tables. They are big, cumbersome, awkward, and in the way. Now, we own none, and I love, love, love how open and airy my living room feels.

Sets of DVDs – Watched over and over again. And sick of them.

That is a portion of what we released, which brings our total to somewhere around the $8000 mark. Yes, initially I was upset by the amount of money spent, but maybe it was exactly what I needed. I guess you could say it was a very expensive lesson in life.

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