According to Bundle's first "How America Spends" report, the top-spending Americans lived in Austin in 2009. Households in the Texas capital averaged $67,076 in overall household expenses (excluding mortgage and rent, which are not included in Bundle's breakdown). Austin's annual spending is 77% higher than the national average of $37,782. Households in Scottsdale, Ariz., ranked No. 2, spending $64,687 on average for 2009.
So where's New York City? The five boroughs came in No. 53, with $37,435 in spending for 2009, just below the U.S. average. But if Manhattan were its own city -- and some people do think it is -- the richest of the boroughs would land at No. 3 on Bundle's list, with annual per-household spending at $59,602.
Before you get all up in our faces about spending money we could be saving, and so forth, please keep in mind that we. are. the. best. That's important to remember.
But also, the data seems to indicate that you would spend just as much if you moved here. (Well, maybe not you dear non-Austin-based, frugal reader. But, you know, people.)
Bundle's data excludes spending on mortgage and rent, which explains why New York City doesn't top the list and why the top 25 includes relatively affluent towns with low housing costs. (Ditto for Los Angeles, with its sprawling geography and socio-economic diversity. That city is No. 42 with $39,422 spent in 2009, 4.3% higher than the national average.)
More importantly, the data reveals how spending persists, across circumstances. A lower cost of housing often means that people spend more on food, restaurants and travel. It's why residents of Fresno, Calif., spend more on shopping, gas and auto expenses than their northern neighbors in San Francisco. In other words, you can move to a cheaper city, but you won't necessarily spend less.