Affluent people are a lot more frugal than you think
Well, this is rich.
Data released Thursday from GoBankingRates.com looked at how much people spend on must-have items like groceries, mortgage/rent, car payments and household necessities — and perhaps the most striking part of the data is that the affluent don’t spend nearly as much as you might think.
Indeed, people who have a household income of more than $150,000 — which puts them in roughly the top 10% of earners in the U.S. — only spend about 10% more on these things than do those who make $50,000 – $74,000 a year. That’s despite earning more than double them.
How much average people spend on necessities, as compared to richer people
|Average household income of $50,000 – $74,000||Average household income of $150,000 or more|
The first thing that might strike you about this data is that households making $50,000 – $74,000 a year actually spend more on their mortgage and rent each month. That may have to do with richer households putting down much larger down payments on homes, thereby cutting their monthly mortgage, or with owning homes outright, which would drop the average spending for the whole group, GoBankingRates notes. The big difference between groups is grocery spending — $450 for the affluent, which is $100 more than the middle-income group drop.
While the GoBankingRates is just a single data set showing this, it does seem to underscore a point that many people don’t believe about the affluent: they’re often very frugal. Take the fact that affluent people spend only about $35 more a month on their car payments than those making a more average income. That may be because the affluent don’t drive as flashy cars as you might think.
Indeed, according to data from Edmunds, the most popular car driven by those making $250,000 or more a year is the Ford F-Series, followed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Wrangler. A spokesperson for Edmunds says that this is because “most of the wealthiest Americans look for their vehicles to perform the same kind of functional tasks that everyone else does.”
And they don’t spend a ton more than household necessities than the less affluent to do either. One reason: They clip a lot of coupons. Nielsen data shows that households making $100,000 a year are some of the most frequent coupon clippers, and a 2011 study found that affluent people actually used more coupons than less affluent people. It noted that affluent “don’t use coupons because of financial constraints but because they perceive coupons as saving them money.”
Plus, they shop at budget stores. One in three shoppers worth $5 million or more shops at Walmart, according to data from Millionaire Corner. And for every $5 spent at the dollar store, $1 of that is spent by someone who is making $100,000 or more, according to data from research firm NPD Group.
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