Money

Here's how much Americans are spending on housing, food and alcohol every year

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Americans spend a lot of money. So much so that outstanding credit card debt topped $1 trillion in 2016.

Where exactly are consumers blowing their paychecks?

As expected, housing is the largest expense — and a category that is only becoming more expensive — but Americans are also shelling out thousands of dollars per year on clothing and entertainment. In fact, consumers are spending more on clothing than they are on education.

That's according to cost information site Howmuch.net, which used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze spending trends in America from 1941 to 2014 across 12 categories: Reading, alcohol, tobacco, education, personal care, miscellaneous, recreation and entertainment, health care, clothing, food, transportation and housing.

"Between 1941 and 2014 Americans spent money on most of the same things, with a few changes," Howmuch.net reports. "Housing has persisted as a large area of spending for Americans, as has the food category. However, spending on food and clothing has fallen when adjusting for inflation while spending on education and health care has risen quickly."

Below, CNBC highlights how much Americans spent in each of these 12 categories in 2004 and 2014. Categories are listed in ascending order of money spent.

Reading

2004: $163
2014: $103

Tobacco

2004: $361
2014: $319

Alcohol

2004: $575
2014: $463

Personal care

2004: $603
2014: $645

Miscellaneous

2004: $865
2014: $788

Education

2004: $1,134
2014: $1,236

Clothing

2004: $2,276
2014: $1,786

Recreation and entertainment

2004: $2,780
2014: $2,728

Health care

2004: $3,226
2014: $4,290

Food

2004: $7,245
2014: $6,759

Transportation

2004: $9,776
2014: $9,073

Housing