Average Monthly Expenses Statistics for 2017

average monthly expenses

Learning how to create a budget for your household can be complicated. You need to pay several expenses to cover your basic needs, including housing, groceries, and clothing.

But for many people, average monthly expenses also include debt payments, retirement savings, child care, private school, and more.

To get an idea of how the average American household budget shapes up, we’ve analyzed data from several sources. Keep in mind that your actual expenses can vary depending on where you live in the U.S.

Read on to find out how your average monthly expenses compare.

Average monthly expenses in the U.S.

Overall household budget

U.S. households earned an average of $74,664 in 2016.1 Here’s how those earnings were used to pay off the following average monthly expenses1:

  • Housing: $1,574
  • Transportation: $754
  • Food: $600
  • Personal insurance and pensions: $569
  • Health care: $384
  • All other expenditures: $328
  • Entertainment: $243
  • Cash contributions: $173
  • Apparel and services: $150

    Here are some additional highlights1:

    • Food at home: $337
    • Food away from home: $263
    • Health insurance: $263
    • Gas and oil changes: $159
    • Life and personal insurance: $27

    But those budget categories don’t tell the whole story for all Americans when it comes to average monthly expenses and how they fit into an annual budget.

    That fact is especially true if you’re making debt payments, saving for the future, or paying for child care. If you have these regular monthly expenses, take a look at the following statistics to see how your household budget measures up.

    Average debt expenses

    Type of Debt Average Monthly Payment
    Mortgage loans $1,179 for existing homes
    $1,463 for new construction homes
    Car loans $504 for new cars
    $365 for used cars
    Student loans $351
    Personal loans $250 to $337, depending on credit score
    Credit cards $156 minimum payment

    Mortgage loans

    With available dataon average interest rates, down payments, and closing costs, we’ve calculated the average cost for principal and interest on a mortgage loan to be:

    • $1,178 for existing homes
    • $1,472 for new construction homes

    The median home price for an existing home was $253,600 in the second quarter of 2017.In contrast, new homes sold for $317,000 during that time.2

    Car loans

    About six out of 10 Americans buy new cars over used cars.3 But the difference between monthly payments for a new car versus a used car is significant3:

    • Average monthly payment for a new car loan: $504
    • Average monthly payment on a used car loan: $365

    That’s a payment difference of $139 per month.

    Student loans

    Americans owe more in student loans than ever before, and the burden doesn’t seem to be lessening anytime soon. The average student loan borrower from the class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.

    For those who are just out of school — ages 20 to 30 — the average monthly payment is $351.

    Personal loans

    Personal loans are growing faster than any other loan type, with an average balance of $7,729 at the end of 2016.4

    However, personal loan interest rates can vary wildly depending on your credit score. Here’s what to expect when it comes to an average personal loan balance with a three-year term5:

    Credit cards

    According to a Student Loan Hero credit card and household debt study, the average U.S. household has $6,662 in credit card debt, which comes out to an average minimum monthly payment of $156.

    Other expenses

    Rent

    For people who don’t own a home, rent can be just as expensive. As of September 2017, tenants pay an average of $1,354.6

    Retirement savings

    Americans with a defined contribution plan like a 401(k) or 403(b) contribute 6.2 percent of their salary to their retirement.7

    Based on the average gross household income of $74,664, that percentage comes out to $386 per month.

    Experts typically recommend saving 10 to 15 percent of your gross income toward your retirement goals.

    Child care

    For parents with small children, child care costs can vary wildly depending on the type of care you choose. Here are the average monthly costs for different types of care8:

    Care Type Average Monthly Cost
    Nanny $2,448
    Au pair $1,590
    After-school sitter $1,005
    Day care $914
    Family child care center $867

    Private school

    You don’t have to pay tuition to send your child to a public school. Comparatively, private schools can cost close to a thousand dollars per month depending on where you live.

    The average monthly expense for all private elementary schools across the nation is $743.9

    For private high schools, the cost goes up to $1,127 per month.9

    Other school expenses

    Whether your child goes to a public or private school, you likely won’t escape back-to-school costs.

    Between supplies, school pictures, clothing, and mandatory school fees, you’ll spend the following each year10:

    • $662 for elementary school children, or $55 per month
    • $1,001 for middle school children, or $83 per month
    • $1,489 for high school children, or $124 per month

    Summer vacation

    It’s wise to save up for a vacation rather than using credit.

    With the average household spending $1,798 on a summer vacation, you’d need to set aside $150 per month.11

    Budget wisely for your average monthly expenses

    Budgeting is an essential step toward getting your financial life in order and reaching your money goals. But it can be hard to know whether you’re spending too much or not enough in some areas.

    Comparing your monthly expenses with the national average can give you a reference point so you know where you stand. For example, if you’re not saving enough, it can encourage you to find areas where you can cut back to save more.

    As you consider the average monthly expenses for some of your top spending categories, consider how you can use the information to improve your own household budget.

    For press inquiries, please contact press@studentloanhero.com.

    Data sources

    1. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    2. Mortgage Bankers Association
    3. Experian
    4. TransUnion
    5. Value Penguin
    6. Yardi Matrix
    7. Vanguard
    8. Care.com
    9. Private School Review
    10. Huntington
    11. Allianz Travel Insurance

    Interested in refinancing your student loans?

    Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
    LenderVariable APRAverage Savings 
    Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
    1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

    Earnest Disclosures

    To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

    Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.45% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.14% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.79% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of September 6, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

    Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

    The information provided on this page is updated as of 09/06/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

    © 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


    2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

    SoFi Disclosures

    1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.49% APR to 7.94% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.14% APR to 7.84% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.14% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.14% minus 0.15% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.  
    2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

    3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

    Laurel Road Disclosures

    FIXED APR
    Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.50% per year to 5.55% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.00% per year for a 7-year term, 4.30% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.60% per year to 6.80% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.05% per year to 7.02% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.50% per year to 5.55% per year for a 5-year term would be from $184.00 to $193.00. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.00% per year for a 7-year term would be from $138 to $148. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.30% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104 to $115. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.60% per year to 6.80% per year for a 15-year term would be from $79 to $91. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.05% per year to 7.02% per year for a 20-year term would be from $68 to $80.

    However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

    VARIABLE APR
    Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.43% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term, 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.25% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 1.50% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 1.75% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.00% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.25% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 2.43% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term would be from $179 to $195. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term would be from $137 to $148. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term would be from $103 to $114. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term would be from $77 to $88. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 20-year term would be from $65 to $77.

    However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

    All credit products are subject to credit approval.

    Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.


    4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

    Splash Financial Disclosures

    Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.


    5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

    CommonBond Disclosures

    Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.19% effective August 10, 2019.


    6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

    LendKey Disclosures

    Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.


    7 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

    College Ave Disclosures

    College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

    1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

    2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

    3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

    4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

    Information advertised valid as of 08/01/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

    2.14% – 6.79%1Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit Earnest

    2.14% – 7.84%2Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit SoFi

    2.43% – 6.65%3Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit Laurel Road

    2.43% – 7.60%4Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit Splash

    2.14% – 8.01%5Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit CommonBond

    2.06% – 8.93%6Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit Lendkey

    2.74% – 7.24%7Undergrad
    & Graduate

    Visit College Ave

    Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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