The 5 Biggest Things Americans Overspend on

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Woman looking at expensive restaurant bill
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Does money pour through your fingers like water? If so, you are not alone.

More than one-third of Americans believe they overspend relative to their budget, according to a recent survey by Personal Capital Advisors Corp.

When asked where they overspend the most, the survey respondents — approximately 1,000 people who have full-time jobs and earn more than $20,000 per year — had some interesting answers. Following are the five categories where people most commonly feel they overspend.

5. Utilities

Woman adjusting a thermostat
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Respondents who feel they overspend on this: 13.6%

The cost of heating your home is enough to melt down any budget. And cooling your digs can be expensive, too.

In fact, the federal government says heating your home accounts for about 43% of the average energy bill, while air conditioning accounts for an additional 8%.

Want to cut those costs? Make sure to avoid the missteps in “22 Mistakes That Send Energy Bills Soaring.”

4. Debt obligations

Woman with a lot of credit card debt
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Respondents who feel they overspend on this: 18.3%

Americans are drowning in a sea of red ink. Total outstanding consumer debt in the U.S. grew to just under $14.9 trillion in 2020, according to credit-reporting company Experian.

Looking for a life preserver that can help you swim back to the shore of solvency? Check out our tips in “8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP.”

3. Entertainment

Two women watching a movie
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Respondents who feel they overspend on this: 21.5%

Most of America spent much of the past year or more hunkered down at home. So, maybe it’s no surprise that we are now making up for lost time by overspending to entertain ourselves.

2. Groceries

Man surprised by his grocery receipt
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Respondents who feel they overspend on this: 32.2%

Like so many goods and services, the cost of groceries seems to be on the march higher. As we have reported, everything from meats and eggs to fruits and vegetables has gotten costlier this year. And the CEOs of several major food companies, including PepsiCo, ConAgra and McCormick & Co., recently said more price hikes are in store.

1. Dining out

Woman with empty wallet
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Respondents who feel they overspend on this: 39.1%

Now that restaurants are open again, survey respondents appear only too happy to overspend at their favorite haunts.

Even if you have a tough time pushing yourself away from the table, you can still find ways to save when dining out. For more, read “9 Ways to Save up to 50% on Your Next Restaurant Meal.”

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