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It's Official: Gov Stats Shows the Middle Class is Dead

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America 's average family has two cars and car loans totaling $3,250 per year in payments.  They spent a total of $7,658 driving 13,800 miles last year.  Each mile cost about 55 cents.  It's a darn good thing they live close to work, because 10,000 miles is the average commute for one person, leaving our 1.3 workers no miles left to go anywhere else.

Personal:   A little something just for you.

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Each average family member gets 3.5% of the household gross earnings to live it up!  Their spending for each person went like this: $609 on clothes, $1,077 on entertainment, $235 on personal care, and $313 on either smokes or alcohol for all of 2011. 

That's $2,200 to cover all your clothing, grooming, hygiene, entertainment and other personal indulgences for the year.  Here's your allowance for the week: $42.30.  Don't spend it all in one place.

Frivolous Spending:  Butts and beer.

The 1% is by now wondering how much the poor could save by not smoking, drinking, toking, snorting or shooting. 

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As far as legal indulgences go, not much. (See the numbers above, this spending is included in the $42.50 weekly per person allowance).  In 2010, each member of the average American family spent $2.48 cents for smokes and $3.54 for brews weekly.

Spending on illicit drugs is not reported by the BLS.  See: "Other" below for how much fun money an average American might have to toss away on self medication with dry goods.

Other:   Why am I reaching for my wallet?

What about gifts, parking tickets, resumes, vacation/travel, office parties, license and registration fees, membership dues, etc.?  Either fit it into one of the other budget lines or take it from a whopping $880 per year of miscellaneous spending, about $6.77 a week per family member.

Average American Living Unit, 12 months (Story based on most recent 2010/2011 data)

2.5 persons  

1.3 workers

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Gross income per worker: $48,351   


Food                       $6,372

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Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration (more...)

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