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Residents of Austin, Texas, are the No. 1 spenders in the United States, according to Bundle, a new social money comparison site, which recently released its inaugural annual consumer spending report, “How America Spends.” The report features rankings of the top 25 and bottom five spending cities in the nation, as well as a 50-state ranking of household budget behavior and a data analysis of trends by marital status/kids, income level and age.
The No. 1 spenders in Austin laid out an average of $67,076 in overall household expenses over 2009 (excluding mortgage and rent, which aren’t included in Bundle’s breakdown). The city’s annual spending is 77 percent higher than the national average of $37,782, Bundle’s report found.
“We always hear about ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ types spending big in New York City, but when you remove housing costs from the equation, it’s not just the stereotypical cities where residents spend big on items like shopping, dining out, groceries or travel," said Janet Paskin, managing editor of New York-based Bundle. “Austin tops New York City in shopping, and Bakersfield spends more than San Francisco on health care and pets. Our behavior as spenders in America doesn’t change, but we do spend our money in very different ways.”
The lowest-spending American city is Detroit, where recession-struck residents spent $16,446 on such items as food and drink, shopping, gas, travel, and entertainment.
For all 50 states, Connecticut residents lead the nation in spending, while West Virginians are last, spending 35 percent less than the national average last year. New Canaan, Conn., residents averaged $25,486 on dining out in 2009, more than the average West Virginian spent in total ($24,517).
Rankings were based on consumer spending behavior across the food and drink, shopping, travel and leisure, getting around, health and family, and house and home-related expenses excluding mortgage and rent.
The report’s other findings included:
—The Average American Household Spent $37,782 in 2009: Last year, U.S. residents averaged $8,668 on shopping, $6,514 on food & drink, $8,026 on health and family expenses, $5,477 on getting around, $2,699 on travel and leisure, and $6,398 on house and home expenses.
—New York City and Los Angeles Didn’t Make the Top 25: New York, N.Y., with its five boroughs, came in at No. 53 with an average of $37,435 spent in 2009, 0.9 percent lower than the national average. But if Manhattan was counted as its own city, it would have come in at No. 3 on the list ($59,602), just behind Austin and Scottsdale, Ariz. Los Angeles ranked 42nd, with $39,422 spent in 2009, 4.3 percent higher than the national average.
—Marriage and Kids Boost Yearly Spending: Bundle’s breakdown by household status found that married couples with children spend more on just about everything, but not always as much as you’d think: having kids raises annual grocery spending only by about 8 percent, on average. Also, young parents spend less on eating out and transportation costs than childless people, but after age 36, the trend reverses.
The top 25 highest-spending cities were as follows:
1. Austin ($67,076)
2. Scottsdale, Ariz. ($64,687)
3. San Jose, Calif. ($59,022)
4. Arlington, Va. ($52,085)
5. Plano, Texas ($56,738)
6. Raleigh, N.C. ($53,398)
7. Nashville, Tenn. ($52,964)
8. Tucson, Ariz. ($51,857)
9. Irvine, Calif. ($51,286)
10. Durham, N.C. ($51,114)
11. Washington ($49,431)
12. Dallas ($47,920)
13. Seattle ($47,336)
14. Reno, Nev. ($47,273)
15. Corpus Christi, Texas ($46,311)
16. San Antonio ($46,122)
17. Honolulu ($46,087)
18. Oklahoma City ($45,449)
19. San Francisco ($45,291)
20. Madison, Wis. ($45,275)
21. Henderson, Nev. ($45,220)
22. Wichita, Kan. ($44,810)
23. St. Paul, Minn. ($44,579)
24. Chandler, Ariz. ($44,470)
25. Lubbock, Texas ($44,122)
The bottom five, meanwhile, were Boise ($28,006); Toledo ($26,962); Chula Vista, Calif. ($21,424); Hialeah, Fla. ($19,397); and Detroit ($16,446).
Numbers for “How America Spends” were culled from sources including Citi and U.S. government spending data, and third-party research. Further details are available at Bundle.com/bundlereport2010.