Survey finds Americans spend an average of $18,000 per year on 'non-essential items'

Whether or not you think drinks with friends or Netflix is a necessity, the reality is that Americans spend a lot on both of those activities.

According to a survey commissioned by Ladder and conducted by OnePoll, respondents said they spend an average of $1,497 per month on "non-essential items."

Define "essential..."

It may come as a shock to find that your gym membership or even watching "Game of Thrones" is non-essential when it comes to budgeting, but those expenses add up -- to approximately $18,000 a year.

The survey interviewed 2,000 people revealing how much Americans spend on "luxuries," and they found that the average person spends $20 on coffee drinks and $209 on restaurant outings per month.

Sorry, not sorry.

The survey found that 70 percent of people felt that they could make smarter decisions with their money on a monthly basis, while 24 percent admitted to not even budgeting.

While ordering takeout and delivery ranked third on the list of "non-essential" monthly expense, 35 percent of those surveyed claimed they couldn't afford a life insurance policy. What's living if you can't enjoy a little avocado toast and cold brew, right?

You only live once.

A 2019 survey from First National Bank of Omaha found that 74 percent of people asked put 10 percent or less of their paycheck toward savings. Regardless of spending habits, 79 percent of respondents said they like to feel secure in their financial decisions.


Dinner out at a restaurant $209.38
Drinks out with friends or co-workers $188.68
Takeout or delivery $177.88
Purchasing lunch $173.62
Impulse purchases $108.97
Using a rideshare (for non-essential trips) $96.11
Receiving personal care $94.25
Subscription boxes $93.96
Cable $90.57
Online shopping (for non-essentials) $84.11
Gym, fitness classes and/or a personal trainer $72.53
Paid apps $23.24
Streaming services for movies/TV $23.09
Streaming services for music $22.41
Coffee $20.25
Bottled water $17.47