Overspending in America – The Sad Truth

If you are a first time reader here, then I will let you know that I LOVE infographics.  I am a very visual leaner, so if I can gain some knowledge through a picture, then I am going to do it.

I found this awesome, yet sad, infographic the other day and it really disturbed me.  Not only do American’s have an overeating problem, but we also overspend (much like our government).  According to the graphic below, the average American is spending $1.33 for every $1 earned.  Are you kidding me?  No wonder we have such a problem with debt, whether it be student loans, auto loans, home loans, or credit cards.

Take some time to soak in the data from the infographic.  The numbers might scare you, but also may not surprise you.  We need a change in our culture and we need it quickly.  If you are in debt and don’t want to be a statistic any longer, then think about joining the Debt Movement!

Overspending in America: Statistics and Facts

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.


  1. January 21, 2013 at 9:18 am — Reply

    This really shows the extent of the problem and the reasons behind it. I don’t know if it’s the same in the US but over here credit providers have been slashing credit limits & increasing interest rates across the board. It’s making it more difficult for borrowers to get further into debt but it’s also hurting those who have built up way too much debt over the years, some of them are still overspending but at massively inflated rates.

    • January 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm — Reply

      Yes it does. The overspending problem is bad and this just sums it up.

  2. January 21, 2013 at 11:25 am — Reply

    That is a crazy infographic!!!! Sad but true!

  3. January 21, 2013 at 11:26 am — Reply

    Great infographic! I think 1 in 4 having more debt than savings actually isn’t that bad, assuming they are including students and recent graduates into that figure. I don’t know many recent graduates who have more savings than student loans.

    • January 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm — Reply

      I don’t think it is horrible, but it depends on how much debt those 1 in 4 actually have.

  4. January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm — Reply

    EWWWWWW! Now, I don’t overspend, but I technically fall into some of those categories, sadly. I spend most all of my monthly money on the necessities. But the difference is, I have a plan. 🙂

    • January 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm — Reply

      At least you have a plan Jacob.

  5. January 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm — Reply

    I had a client from Ethiopia who told me that when he lived there, he couldn’t figure out how to spend $100 if he wanted to…there was everything he wanted and more on less money. In America, we’ve created this “need” to have more and more and more.

    • January 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm — Reply

      I completely agree Joe. We have also created a society of wants and the need to have things now. This is why we overspend, we feel that we actually “need” these products.

  6. January 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    Unfortunately I’m not really surprised by this data. It’s certainly sad but overspending is a major issue and I can’t see a time where it ever gets corrected. We’re going to need a MAJOR recession/depression in order to creating lasting change that will impact generations to come. However, I hope it doesn’t come to that…

    • January 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm — Reply

      It will take something drastic. Even when we had the recession in 2008, people started saving and paying off debt, but now 4 years later, people are spending more and saving less.

  7. January 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    Wow, I fell into some of these catagories. This infographic is so interesting!

    • January 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Mackenzie and sharing your thoughts.

  8. Tackling Our Debt
    January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    I love infographics too and this one says it all. Unfortunately many people do not consider budgeting or watching their spending until it is too late.

    • January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm — Reply

      I agree Sicorra. Unfortunately, once you pass a certain point, you can’t correct money mistakes.

  9. January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm — Reply

    I’m not really surprised. No plan+ ease of credit= rough landing at some point.

    • January 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm — Reply

      Yep. It is getting harder to get credit, than it used to be, but you can still get it. Lenders make their money from people that don’t pay on time. If they lend to people like me (credit cards), then they would just pay me rewards to use their product.

  10. January 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    Wow those are some troubling figures! That means on average, people need to cut down their spending by a quarter, just to stop overspending!

    • January 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm — Reply

      Yeah, they are troubling. There needs to be a lot of cutting going on in the US!

  11. January 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm — Reply

    I want to say “unbelievable” but it’s not. I like the icons for each of the money-saving tips.

    • January 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm — Reply

      I agree with “unbelievable”. I enjoyed this infographic.

  12. January 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm — Reply

    Ugh…so sad, yet so true.

    Great infographic though; thanks for sharing!

  13. January 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm — Reply

    Very cool infographic! Sadly, it shows the true state of many American’s trouble with money – spending more than they have and that spending rate increasing over the years. Hopefully more more will become educated on handling their finances better so that the next time this infographic is compiled, it will show better news.

    • January 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm — Reply

      I completely agree Jon. It is a very sad infographic to say the least.

  14. Brett @ wstreetstocks
    January 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm — Reply

    Your right, these statistics are very troubling. I am shocked to see that Americans spend 1.33 for every 1 dollar they earn.

    • January 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm — Reply

      It is a shocking number, but no more shocking than how much the government spends compared to how much they earn.

  15. January 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    You should have to pass a test before you can get a credit card, seriously. People do NOT understand the implications of having one.

    • January 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm — Reply

      I would add that you should have to take a test to procreate and many other things that tests could help weed out the stupid.

      • January 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm — Reply

        I love the idea of a test before a credit card! I’ve often thought about the test before procreating. You don’t have to be stupid to fail. Just an a-hole. But alas, I’m ethically against the latter exam.

        • January 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm — Reply

          True. Good point on that one. Yeah, it rides the line of being ethical…

  16. January 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm — Reply

    Awesome infographic Grayson, I even added it to my Pintrest page. What’s even worse is the savings rate is at a negative for most people as well. What happen to the days when people saved their money and didn’t spend it? Maybe that just me though.

    • January 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      It is sad about the savings rate. It all goes up and down, but it still doesn’t go very high. People just want to spend their money.

  17. January 22, 2013 at 12:38 am — Reply

    What an easy to read infographic with lots of information that really puts the problem into perspective for anyone who reads this. Thanks for sharing.

    • January 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by to share you opinion Mr. CBB!

  18. January 22, 2013 at 8:55 am — Reply

    Great infographic. Having more debt than savings brrrrr…Although I would have expected that people spend way more than before, not just 30%

    • January 22, 2013 at 11:06 am — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Pauline. I think the recession has curbed spending somewhat. It will probably increase soon!

  19. January 22, 2013 at 9:47 am — Reply

    Every time I see one of these infographics, I just get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. What does the future of America hold if we continue down this “live for today” path? I’m not sure I want to know.

    Thanks, Grayson, for another educational post!

    • January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am — Reply

      I agree with you Laurie. It is an alarming trend that doesn’t seem to be going away. We can only be responsible for ourselves and our families these days.

  20. January 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm — Reply

    The average person’s spending has increased 30% in the past 25 years? That’s CRAZY! Why has that happened? Are people more concenred with image than before? Are we dumber than before? Are advertisers doing better than before?

    • January 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm — Reply

      I think you hit most of them right on Tb. More people are concerned with their image and still keeping up with the Joneses. Advertisers are making it look like we “need” products. I do think we are slowly losing our common sense as people lean toward technology use. It is bad.

  21. January 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm — Reply

    I’m actually really surprised that 50% of Americans set up a budget (even if they don’t stick to it.) Usually when I talk about my budget, people look at me like I have horns sticking out of my head. Still, the only real way I’ve learned to try to beat this sad trend is to regularly tell myself “no” when I want something. Great post, Grayson!

    • January 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm — Reply

      I was surprised that that too. I don’t know if most of them actually use their budget, but oh well. The big issue here is about wants and needs. Many people cannot differentiate between them. Thanks for stopping by Cat!

  22. January 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm — Reply

    What makes me sad that at some point, I’ve been guilty of some/most of these things. Really cool graphic.

    • January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm — Reply

      I have done the same thing. Some of my spending was probably in some of these statistics. I changed my ways though.

  23. January 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm — Reply

    This is a great infographic and I also like a lot of comments here used to fall into the category of biting more than I can chew. I learned my lessons now and I am slowly biting more and leaving some leftovers.

    • January 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm — Reply

      Thanks Brian. I think many of us were in the same boat, but most of us are working our way out of being a statistic.

  24. January 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm — Reply

    If the feds can’t balance the budget why should I balance my checkbook? Such good role models we have as Americans.

    • January 23, 2013 at 12:27 am — Reply

      I agree with you KK, unfortunately, the government and companies will just come after you if you don’t pay your debts, but who will go after the government of a super power?

  25. Eddie
    January 23, 2013 at 12:28 am — Reply

    Awesome graphic!!!
    Like the graphic indicates, less than 50% Americans are budgeting. And I think without a budget, you’re nothing.

    • January 23, 2013 at 9:57 am — Reply

      Haha, I know what you mean Eddie!

  26. Mike @Personal Finance Beat
    January 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    Crazy and depressing post. Individuals are spending more than they earn, and so is our government! When will it stop?

    This just serves as a reminder to me that no matter what everyone else is doing, and what’s outside our control, you can still be responsible for your OWN finances and make sure YOU are doing well.

  27. January 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm — Reply

    Great post. Love the visuals! It is frightening when you think how many people are living beyond their means – and so many are unaware of their spending habits. I wholeheartedly agree with every one of your reasons why people overspend. My father taught me at young age that money was emotional and when our emotions drive our money decisions, our tendency to make poor decisions is higher. He taught me to instead align my money decisions with my values and goals, which I am teaching my girls to do as well.

    • January 28, 2013 at 10:04 pm — Reply

      Your father was a smart man. Those principles are exactly what everyone should follow.

  28. January 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm — Reply

    Wow cool infographic! It is sad to see this country’s people going into debt over silly reasons like these. We need to stand up and think about our spendings. If everybody cut down on meaningless purchases I think that we would see a turn around.

    • January 26, 2013 at 10:43 pm — Reply

      Thanks for the comment. I do think it is sad.

  29. Landon Jacobs
    January 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm — Reply

    This is a great graphic. I’m personally very responsible with my finances. And yet I have acquaintances who really are racking up a huge amount of debt, living beyond their means and then planning to go into bankruptcy. I think we need to have major financial education starting in elementary and middle school to really turn this around. There’s nothing for this but education.

    • January 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Landon. I completely agree about financial education early in life.

  30. January 28, 2013 at 12:46 am — Reply

    It seems super scary to me to consider half the population spending more than they earn. Do the debt statistics include mortgage debt?

    • January 28, 2013 at 10:02 am — Reply

      That is a great question CF. I am not sure if it includes mortgage debt, but with the way things are, I wouldn’t doubt if it was excluded.

  31. January 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm — Reply

    Wow, awesome infographic Grayson! It’s pretty crazy that most people think taking on debt is not a terrible decision. Everything is “easy payments of $X a month” and people are like wow, I can afford that. The irony is, unless you can pay for it all in cash you can’t afford it and even though you’re too cash strapped to buy it now, you will wind up paying a hell of a lot more over time if you take the payment option!

    • January 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm — Reply

      Right on point Andrew. The advertising in this country makes it so simple to think you can “afford” something, but most people that fall for those advertising tricks are the ones that cannot afford it.

  32. January 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm — Reply

    sweet infographic, Grayson..

    i think that accepting what you have and learning to be happy with it is the most important way to escape the cycle.. if you are insisting on living a life of constant upgrades, you will be stuck in a rat race that you cannot win.

    • January 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm — Reply

      You are so right Jefferson. Many people still want to keep up with the Joneses.

  33. January 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    I think the problem of most Americans is spending more than they earn. People should stop relying on credit cards that much and start spending only what they have if they want to regain control. Did you know that in countries like Bulgaria for example, most of the people own their own houses as opposed to getting loans or renting a place? Maybe America should take example from one of those smaller countries. Debt is not a good thing especially if no one bother paying it back.

    • January 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm — Reply

      I agree Totio. Many Americans live well above their means.

  34. January 30, 2013 at 12:13 am — Reply

    Grayson, great eye-opening post, so sad to see we are the Nation of Deadbeats! Our government and the media promote this. Even the poor in this country are consumers, why? cause they are afforded it by the folks in Washington giving it all away for free!

    • January 30, 2013 at 10:19 am — Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more Jim. We are in a world of hurt these days and we are not making it better for ourselves.

  35. January 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm — Reply

    I like the tip about carrying enough cash. When you watch the bills slip right out of your wallet it’s harder to spend. It’s just too easy to swipe plastic.

    • January 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm — Reply

      It is way too easy to swipe and go.

  36. February 1, 2013 at 10:53 am — Reply

    I wish I would have had that stat for the post I just wrote on the habits of broke people. That is crazy that people spend $1.33 for every $1. If it doesn’t change soon, we may see another 2008-2009 re-run.

    • February 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm — Reply

      I believe you are correct Deacon. People’s habits never really change, they might just go in cycles.

  37. February 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm — Reply

    I hate debt with a passion! The problem is that I learned all of these tricks after being a super spendaholic for the first 25 years of my life. It wasn’t until I met my wife where we started eliminating the pile of debt we had both collected. Feels good though to be free, I’ll tell you that much!

    • February 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm — Reply

      Me as well. It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

  38. February 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm — Reply

    This is such a first world problem. We have traveled a lot and in many other areas of the world, spending too much is not an issue. People are content with what they have and they focus on other things. We really could learn a thing or two from them.

    • February 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm — Reply

      I completely agree with you. Overspending is really only an issue is developed nations with larger economies. They thrive on wants and spending.

  39. Alex @ StockMarketMate
    February 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm — Reply

    Overspending is definitely a problem, but hey, it keeps the economy going, and more importantly it puts the Chinese to work. Too bad we don’t pay our people here in the States.

    • February 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm — Reply

      Haha, yeah it keeps the economy going, but on borrowed money that many can’t or have no intention on paying back. Glad we can keep other economies afloat.

  40. February 14, 2013 at 9:41 am — Reply

    Great infographic, although super scary at the same time. Unfortunately it seems whatever happens in the USA the UK isn’t far behind. Way too many people are spending beyond their means already, such is a spending driven society.

    • March 18, 2013 at 10:22 am — Reply

      Yeah, we like to bounce off each other, same with Canada. We are all too materialistic and it will drive us all over the cliff soon.

  41. February 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    I also love infographics! Thanks for sharing this one. I was surprised that most American’s spend $1.33 to every dollar earned. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though cause I already knew many are in debt. The only way that can happen is when one spends more than they earn.

    • February 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm — Reply

      You are in good company. This one took me by surprise but I guess it shouldn’t.

  42. February 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm — Reply

    Americans may have all the wealth in the world as a whole populace but they are extremely naive in spending it. Many (read millions) live on borrowed money. They borrow money which they get very easily but they are extremely slow in repaying it. They think they own the world but very few realize they do not.

    • March 18, 2013 at 10:16 am — Reply

      I completely agree with you here. There seem to be more people that are spending unwisely and that keeps us down as a whole. The US government doesn’t help matters here either.

  43. Dave@Your Financial Future
    March 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm — Reply

    A straight to the point infographic, I like it!

  44. Chad@thstockmarketandi
    October 27, 2013 at 10:01 am — Reply

    It almost makes you wonder if we should go to a national sales tax concept. No more tax cheating by anyone and we can pretty much do away with the IRS all at once.

    • October 28, 2013 at 8:58 am — Reply

      We would never create a system that does away with the IRS. They wouldn’t allow that. I think they are trying to create a nationalized online sales tax to make it easier for businesses.

  45. January 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm — Reply

    Spending to feel good is something I’ve talked about on my website a bunch. This has got to be one of the greatest psychological temptations. Shopping does really make people feel better; albeit, it’s a temporary fix. Longer term, there needs to be something more than the local Macy’s to make you happy.

    Thanks for this terrific post!

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