Cost of Living

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This page goes over various cost of living calculations for the USA. The relevance is the achieving freedom: financial freedom, freedom of relationship, freedom of time. Freedom can be achieved once a basic level of life-support is secured. However, in today's world, the preoccupation with just making a living remains a worry for most people. Today only a few people pursue Self-Determination. Most people in the USA do not like their jobs. This begs a question: why does most of the world not pursue their true interests, by removing material constraints from dictating the course of one's life - when technological capacity to produce all needs far outstrips those needs - with modern technology?

Average Yearly Cost

  • $20,194 per person per year according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (value given divided by 2.5 average household size ('consumer unit') - needs updated reference such as [1] with household size of 3 - makes $20k.
  • Of this, housing ($6844), cars ($3442), and food ($2577) totals $12863 per person - about 64% of the cost of living.

Average Amount of Money Spent on Housing

  • $6844/person/year - includes utilities and furnishings - [2]
    • $541 of this is electricity, and 451 is phone
    • $1500 of this is mortgage payments, or about 1/4 of all housing costs

Average Amount of Money Spent on Transportation

  • $3442 per person per year - BLS - [3] (dead link, needs updated reference)
    • Of this, $1086 is for fuel and oil, and $205 is public transportation

Amount of Money Spent On Food

  • $6,602/household in 2013. That's roughly $2,641/person. [4]
  • Of the total - about 60% is at home, 40% eating out. [5]
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics - $2577/person/year - [6]
    • Almost half of this is eating out
  • $150/week/2.6 household = $230 per month
  • $2700/year according to [7]
  • $300/month for moderate - [8]

Average Debt

  • The above statistics don't tell much about debt levels.
  • $8500 is the average debt per person in America in 2008 - [9]. This is not $12k/person in 2019! (same source). In other words, people are living on money they do not have, which means in practice they are paying 15-20% interest rates [10], adding this 15-20% to their overall cost of living.

Other Data on the Average Highest Cost Sources for the Average Person

From [11]:

  • Pensions,personal insurance, social security- $2242/person/year
  • Healthcare - $1190/person/year
  • Entertainment - $1134

Cost over a lifetime

Say a person lives 78 years [12], and you take the average cost of living from BLS.

Over 78 years, one spends an average of about $1.6 million dollars just to survive.

Of this, one spends about $1M on housing, food, and cars ($12683 per year * 78)

More specifically:

One spends an average of $530,000 to put a roof over their head over their life.

One spends an average of $270,000 on their wheels.

One spends an average of $201,000 on grub.

This certainly makes a case for buying out at the bottom.

Other Costs

Other Countries

What are the above figures for other countries?

Useful Links


Why does OSE study these numbers? And did you know that this wiki page the most visited page on the wiki? Why is that? Cost of living is a real concern, one closely related to the pursuit of Self-Determination. OSE emphasizes that using today's technology, and the 10000 Factor, imply that providing for one's basic necessities should not be a preoccupation for most people on the planet. Even in wealthy countries, the cost of living is so high that tremendous pressure is put on households just to get by. This means thorough obliteration of one's deeper dreams and pursuits - a sad state of human evolution indeed. This is one of the fundamental Pressing World Issues that OSE aims to address.


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