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Data shows spending on basics up

This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual survey of how American households spend their money last year.
The results seem to validate feelings among Americans that it’s getting harder for the average family to make it on their current income. Spending on necessities like transportation and food are up substantially, while spending on more elective items, like apparel and entertainment, are falling or basically flat.

Here were some of the more interesting takeaways:

Overall, Americans spent about 7 percent more in 2012 than they did in 2010, while household income before taxes increased just under 5 percent in the same period.

With spending on basics going up, it’s no wonder that measures of overall wellbeing of Americans aren’t looking great. Gallup’s Well-Being Index — which includes items like access to medicine, food, shelter and healthcare — is still well below where it was prior to the financial crisis, and in another recent Gallup poll, a fifth of Americans said they had struggled to afford food in the past year.

How are you spending your money these days? Has that changed since 2011?

(Photo: Richard Masoner)