$98 a Day?

As I sit at my desk writing this today, the headlines on my computer are very excited about how much Americans have been spending recently.  “If You’re Average, You’ll spend $98 Today,” Time magazine tells me.  The typical consumer spent $98 a day last month, pushing the average to its highest in 6 years.  That doesn’t count things like your mortgage, car payment or utility bills.  It’s a measure of your purchases at places like coffee shops, convenience stores, department stores and online retailers.

I’ve been putting off reading Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight, but I finally picked it up this morning.  I’ve already learned a couple of things.

  1. Every January the author, Peter Walsh hosts a program he calls 31 Days to Get Organized Challenge.  (#31Days2GetOrganized)  I’ll certainly check that one out in 2018.
  2.  US consumers spend $98 a day on discretionary items.  That sounded high, so I visited the web page for the Gallup poll on consumer spending.  As of today, Gallup reports consumers are telling them they spent $107 a day.  That would be $39,055 a year.

Sure, those numbers come from Gallup, a well-respected polling organization.  Still, they sound a little odd, don’t they?  Let’s assume that that $98 a day wasn’t discretionary spending per consumer, but spending per household.  That’s still more than $36,500 a year.  Now compare that to the US median household income of $53,889.  Don’t tell me that people are spending 68% of their gross incomes on lattes and iPhones.

Whether or not Gallup’s figures are accurate, we’re spending a lot, and some of the things we buy end up as clutter in our homes.  Even if the average household spends only a third of what they reported to Gallup, they’ll probably end up with too much stuff.  And that’s where Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight comes in.



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