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Consumerism is generally, an economic and social order based on the fostering and systematic creation of a desire to purchase services or goods in ever greater amounts (Andrew, Matthew, Nick & Richard, 2010). Consumerism in United States has truly been a sturdy driving force since the old times around its strong foundation. In spite of the open criticism by several sectors of society along the entire period of history, the concept of consumerism has thrived in the consumer society of the country as can be seen on the high consumption levels all along its history to the present time (Paul & Leslie, 2008). It might be argued that we are living in a consumer-oriented, materialistic culture, but comparatively, necessities still supersede the spending on luxuries in United States.
From a Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program that has two surveys including the Diary Survey and the quarterly Interview Survey, we can access general information on American consumers' buying habits, which includes data on their income, expenditures and consumer unit (single and family consumers) characteristics (Andrew, Matthew, Nick & Richard, 2010). A cross section of the population indicates that Americans have a habit of lavish tastes and tend to use money freely. It is a general perception that applies accurately than ever especially with a closer looks at the general population and their spending habits in the country (Paul & Leslie, 2008).
Paul & Leslie (2008) in their research on the American Population compared the United States habits of spending before and after the crashing of the economy revealing that they now pay most of their purchase through credit cards. It has been all along okay with many Americans spending on luxuries and impulse buying has been evident across the market for the past decades (John, 2005). However, he was quick to note that the collapsing of the economy was a blow since Americans since then has tightened their belt to get by, but the clearest thing is that their spending priorities remain the same.
From a United States Department of Labor report, the average American family ideally earns roughly $63,000 in a year (Paul & Leslie, 2008). The lion's share of the money earned goes to housing that accounts for just about 34% of the amount the Americans spend. However, Andrew, Matthew, Nick & Richard (2010) revealed that 67% of families in America live in their homes, but the statistic is troubling with numerous financial experts and lenders recommending that housing costs are more than 30% of the income (John, 2005).
John (2005) works also analyzed the spending for Americans quoting that transportation is also on the list of the high spending areas of the Americans. It was revealed that an average American household has only fewer than two vehicles because the maintenance of the vehicles is expensive, with upkeep and gasoline being largely parts of the statistic (Matthew, Andrew & Richard, 2010). With the transportation costs combined, they were analyzed to make up of 17.6% of the American household's budget (Andrew, Matthew, Nick & Richard, 2010).
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Two more areas of astronomical spending in America are insurance and food, with food taking up an estimated 12.4% of the budget and 11% being the insurance (Paul & Leslie, 2008). With food costs having increased in a dramatic sequence, over the last few years because of the recession, there are expectations that the estimated numbers will go up in the next calculations and evaluations by the Department of Labor. John (2005) looked at the spending on food in a rather broad way and noted that the shocking part of the statistic is that Americans normally spend much in going out to eat compared to what they spend in buying food for their own groceries. Dining out remains a prodigious expense for the Americans, and the fact that it still holds to be such an enormous part of the budget in American families the families persist in such behavior despite the shaky economy.
The luxurious spending, however, cannot be denied across the demographics as it is evident among many young people. A great study by Andrew, Matthew, Nick & Richard (2010) was quick to note that the younger generations in the country spend most of their cash in luxuries with fast foods, chocolates and gifts being on the top list. Exchanging gifts has become behavior among the youth on occasions and ceremonies for instance birthdays, therefore, increasing the expenditure on luxuries (Paul & Leslie, 2008).
With the preceding statistics making it seem that Americans are not noticing of the faltering economy, significant studies do not seem to support this idea. While the statistics are this much surprising, they represent the population's spending in a recession. It is apparent that people are cutting back on expenses on foods with much money being used on the luxuries. A great area to be hit by the drastic change is dining out since the behavior of Americans if changing and making much concerted effort to eat in their homes and eat cheaply. However, it is clear that necessities still holds as the foremost of the spending in these families with transportation and housing topping the list. Gasoline spending also is predicted to go down in with expectations that Americans will continue being more frugal in their expenses. It is clear that the spending habits in United States are reflecting the average American attitude on money subject to recession.
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