Here's how much the average person spends in a day

  • Between housing, food, cellphone bills and other expenses, Americans shell out $164.55, on average, in a given day.
  • To reel in discretionary spending and build wealth, "you have to be more mindful every day," said Mark Avallone of Potomac Wealth Advisors.
A woman uses her smartphone as she waits in line to checkout at a Target store
Jessica Rinaldi | Reuters

Between groceries, gas and going out, Americans cough up a lot of dough in a single day — $164.55, on average, in fact.

That's according to a recent report by GOBankingRates, which analyzed necessary and discretionary spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine out how much the average person spends every day.

Overall, Americans spend the most on housing, followed by groceries, utilities and health insurance, GOBankingRates found.

But depending on your age, those figures can very greatly. (See the chart below for a breakdown of daily spending by each generation.)

When broken down by age group, millennials spent more than every other generation overall, particularly on clothing and eating out. Younger Gen Xers, age 35 to 44, spent more on housing and groceries, whereas older Gen Xers, between the ages of 45 and 54, spent the most on utilities. Older baby boomers — those ages 65 and up — spent more on health insurance, averaging nearly $13 a day.

To reel in those recurring outlays, "you have to be more mindful every day," said Mark Avallone, president of Potomac Wealth Advisors and author of "Countdown to Financial Freedom."

These days, families have less slack in their budgets than before, according to research by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Household spending has risen 25 percent or more in the past two decades, even adjusting for inflation — yet incomes have not kept pace, the study said.

In addition, previous Pew research found that 1 in 3 American families have no savings.

Avallone recommends using only one credit card for all of your purchases, provided you can pay it off in full. "At the end of the month, your total is right in front of you."

That will help to see an overview of your cash flow and determine which expenses can be cut to boost your savings, he said.

Then, it's as simple as setting up an automatic monthly transfer into a savings account, he advised, and keeping those funds strictly off limits.

"Wealth accumulation is a mental exercise as much as it is a tangible exercise," Avallone said.

More from Personal Finance:
Here's the share of income that goes to rent
Is paying your taxes with a credit card a good idea?
Friends don't let friends stay clueless about money

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