You don't need that: Average American spends almost $18,000 a year on nonessentials
You might have already seen the graphic that USA TODAY tweeted out for this article because everyone's dragging them for basically telling us all to crash the U.S. economy.
The average adult in the USA spends $1,497 a month on nonessential items. All told, that's roughly $18,000 a year on things we can all do without. https://t.co/KQ8wxFtduQ pic.twitter.com/bpgVj94SaM— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) May 7, 2019
My favorite part of this is the $94 on "personal grooming" as though "personal grooming" is at all an optional luxury in this country. Our society basically demands that women engage in extensive personal grooming to the point that you cannot get hired and can get fired from a job you already have if you don't. I can't go into an interview for a decent job without makeup on and expect to be hired. As feminist as I am, a lifetime of being told that I'm not fit to leave my home without at least a bit of makeup to cover my disgusting pimples and acne scars has made me often feel like a prisoner to concealer. I also don't have the energy to put up with the stares and comments and other bullshit I would have to endure if I left the house in shorts without my legs shaved.
And if you have facial hair? There's nothing that can cover that up. As long as companies require people to be shaven and groomed in order to work there at all, I don't want to hear shit about how personal grooming products are "nonessential."
Then there's "online shopping." Does USA TODAY think that everything bought online is "nonessential"? After all the effort Amazon put into killing smaller, local retailers and strangling prices and creating horrifying sweatshops to be their shipping centers, and you're gonna tell me that the money I reluctantly spend to buy cheap power cords for my laptop when they wear out and that I absolutely need in order to make money is me wasting money on "nonessentials"? What about the cheap sunglasses I need to drive because my eyes are super sensitive?
But aside from all that, let's talk about who is really spending an average of $18,000 per year on these "nonessentials." That number is based on the "average adult in the USA" which they calculated based on a survey of 2,000 people. Now, 2,000 people is a pretty good sample size. However, I couldn't find any specifics about the average income of the people surveyed, how survey respondents were selected, whether they excluded outliers, etc. So when they say the average adult spends that much per year but 28% of them can't pay off their credit card debt and 26% can't afford "car repairs" (but don't specify how much they think the average repair bill is), is that 27% of respondents necessarily the same people spending $18,000 per year on these supposed frivolous luxuries?
The answer to that is almost certainly no, but even if the answer is yes, why is it that people who have enough money not to have to worry about car repairs and credit card debt think that the poors or the working class or anyone struggling to survive can be helped by some asshole putting their nose up in the air to say "just spend less money then."
Come here, Maurie. I have something to explain to you.
PEOPLE SPEND MONEY ON THIS SHIT FOR A REASON.
It never occurs to these "financial experts" to ask why people spend money on shit they deem "nonessential." Could it have something to do with the fact that every day we're bombarded with a thousand messages from every angle that all say "BUY SHIT. BUY SHIT BUY ALL THE SHIT RIGHT NOW YOU NEED SHIT TO FEEL GOOD BUY IT BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY OUR SHIT SPEND MONEY GIVE US YOUR MONEEEEEEYYYYYYYY!!!!!!"
Could it have something to do with the fact that capitalism inevitably makes people so miserable, exhausted, and empty that the only way we can keep from killing ourselves is to spend our piddling pay on fancy coffee or decent food we didn't have to make ourselves (because we don't have the time and/or energy to make nice meals) or distractions like TV shows or any of the random crap that companies are constantly begging us to buy from them?
That's not even to mention that some people have no choice but to pay money for rideshare services to get to work because their car broke down AND THEY CAN'T PAY FOR REPAIRS and public transit in their area is shitty to non-existent? I can't tell you how many Tumblr posts I've seen begging people for money to pay for an Uber to get to work so they don't lose a day of income or even get fired, which would likely result in them losing their homes and/or going without food and/or essential medication.
This out-of-touch bullshit infuriates me. What I hate the most, as I've stated in other long all-caps-filled blog posts about out-of-touch bullshit "financial advice," is that none of this is actually meant to be financial advice for people who need it. Maybe Maurie convinced herself this would actually help people who are struggling financially, but she was fooling herself. This is propaganda to help reassure rich people that those of us who are struggling are doing it to ourselves, and if we would just be a bit smarter and try a bit harder, we would be fine! The rich aren't causing our economy to crumble and the massive widening wealth gap and spiking homelessness rates, it's our fault for spending money!
Meanwhile, the same rich people own the companies with the big marketing departments entirely dedicated to telling the rest of us to BUUUUUUUUUYYYYYYY SHIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTT!!!!
The biggest "fuck you" to you, Maurie Backman, for writing a shit article based on unverified "research" that serves only to blame those of us living under the constant threat of homelessness, hunger, and early death via poverty, those of us struggling to keep our cars running so we can work at all, those of us struggling to pay for the medication we need to stay alive, for our own suffering under the boot of capitalism and the exploitation of the rich. And fuck you, too, USA TODAY, for publishing this.
Fuck the Motley Fool, fuck financial writers everywhere, and, as always, fuck capitalism.