The Average Cost of Running a Home

The Average Cost of Running a Home

The Average Cost of Running a Home

There are many costs to consider when you’re just starting out with a new household. Although costs vary by location, looking at national average household expenses can give you a good idea of how you’ll need to spend your income to run your home. The 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on average household spending for American families. You can use this data when planning your own budget.


The average income before taxes per household in 2016 was $74,664. The average household expenses were $57,311. For the average household, the majority of household spending went toward housing. About $18,886 of the average annual expenses was spent on either rentals or privately owned property in 2016. This breaks down to about $1,573 per month and includes repairs to the dwelling as well as the cost of insurance and taxes. Of course, this expense varies depending on the age of the household members and whether the home is owned or rented. Geographic location is another big factor in cost.


Getting to and from work is a priority for everyone who is trying to maintain a household, so it’s not surprising that transportation is the next-highest category of spending for the average family. Besides car purchases and payments on car loans, this category of spending includes car repairs, insurance, fuel, registration and tolls. It also includes fares for public transit. The average household spent $9,049 of household expenses on transportation in 2016, or $754 per month.


The average household spent $7,203 of annual expenses on food. This works out to $600 per month and includes food purchased at grocery stores and prepared at home as well as the cost of dining out at restaurants. It should be remembered that this number is an average and varies widely by income level and geographic location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that lower-income households spend a larger percentage on food in general, while higher-income households spend a higher proportion of their food budget on food consumed away from home.

Health Care

Another major category of expenses for the average household is health care. For the average household, this comes to about $384 per month. The biggest portion of this spending is for health insurance, either private health insurance, group insurance or Medicare supplemental coverage. Other health care spending includes medical services, tests, hospital stays and prescription drugs.

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About the Author

Catie Watson spent three decades in the corporate world before becoming a freelance writer. She has an English degree from UC Berkeley and specializes in topics related to personal finance, careers and business.