Living Expenses

Living expenses are hard to cut when you think you have cut about as far as you can.

Let's approach our goal to cut our expenses by taking a look at how they break down.  This data is taken from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 data.  It is grouped into four groups that represent possible retiree groups.

You can read more about the source of this data at Retirement Living Expenses.

The following table is sorted in descending order by percent of total expenses for the "Husband and wife only" column.

Expense Category - 2014 Percent of Expenses
Husband and wife only 55 - 64 years 65 - 74 years 75 years and older
Number of consumer units (in thousands) 27,386 23,466 16,648 12,559
Housing 30.50% 32.00% 32.40% 36.47%
Transportation 17.54% 16.57% 17.06% 13.88%
Food 11.80% 12.09% 12.89% 11.86%
Personal insurance and pensions                   11.11% 12.62% 6.46% 2.84%
Healthcare                                        10.32% 8.81% 12.18% 15.56%
Entertainment                                     5.33% 5.07% 6.11% 4.43%
Cash contributions                                4.40% 3.45% 4.41% 8.14%
Apparel and services                              2.96% 3.18% 2.90% 1.86%
Education                                         1.70% 1.86% 0.65% 0.28%
Miscellaneous                                     1.27% 1.43% 1.65% 2.03%
Personal care products and services               1.27% 1.20% 1.42% 1.36%
Alcoholic beverages                               1.06% 0.81% 0.93% 0.60%
Tobacco products and smoking supplies             0.48% 0.71% 0.63% 0.32%
Reading                                           0.25% 0.22% 0.31% 0.37%
Total 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

Let's start cutting expenses by attacking the largest expenses first.  There is little return for our efforts by trying to reduce our "Reading" expenses since it is so small.

First, you can compare your expenses to this data to see how you compare.  This data is based on approximately 27,386,000 couples in the Husband and wife only consumer units down to 12,559,000 for the 75 years and older consumer units so these are good samples.

For specific suggestions to reduce expenses, click on links in the the expense category in the table above and you are on your way to becoming a thrifty senior (or a more thrifty senior).