💰Where you're saving and where you're spending

Jun 19, 2024

Today, we're diving into some fascinating financial insights from the latest stories. We'll explore the surprising twists in the housing market, uncover your eating habits, and discuss how inflation is affecting our everyday expenses. Plus, we'll debunk a common myth about investing and highlight why it's accessible to everyone, regardless of income. Let's jump right in and explore how these topics impact your financial journey.

- Milan


Rent Is Fluctuating 

Let's chat about the rental market in the U.S. right now. In May, the national median monthly rent was about $1,404, which is slightly down from last year. But interestingly, some cities are bucking that trend and seeing rents climb.

Take California, for instance. In places like Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura and Stockton, rents for one-bedroom apartments went up by about 1.4% and 1.2% from last year, respectively. And then there’s Honolulu in Hawaii, where rents jumped by 3.3% year-over-year, reaching $1,841 for a one-bedroom. That’s a pretty hefty increase, especially considering Hawaii's already high cost of living due to things like pricey imports and high gas costs.

So, while the overall rent picture might be leveling out, certain places are definitely feeling the pinch. It's a reminder that housing costs can vary a lot depending on where you are in the country. If you’re looking to move anytime soon, these tips could help you save some major money.

Americans Are Dining Out More 

America’s restaurants are on track to bring in a whopping $1.1 trillion this year, marking a record high, according to the latest scoop from the National Restaurant Association. The restaurant sector is the hottest ticket in retail real estate right now. What’s driving this food frenzy? Well, it turns out more Americans are opting to dine out than ever before.

Data from the USDA shows that over half of our food spending—53% to be exact—is now on dining out. That’s up from just 41% back in 1997. From the rise of quick bites to the explosion of foodie culture, not to mention higher incomes and the convenience factor, there are tons of reasons why cooking at home is taking a backseat. Even as inflation makes budgets tighter, it seems splurging on dining experiences remains a top priority for many.

This trend isn’t just about food; it’s a reflection of how we live today. As our spending on eating out continues to climb, it’s reshaping both the way we enjoy meals and how the restaurant industry operates. Ensure you aren’t going overboard with your spending by tracking and budgeting your expenses. Learn more here.

Where You’re Spending And Saving 

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed no change in May compared to the previous month, with prices up 3.3% over the past year, down slightly from April's 3.6%. Despite headlines suggesting a slowdown in price hikes, it's important to note that costs are still climbing, just at a slower rate. This means everyday expenses like groceries and utility bills are still higher than they were a year ago, making it challenging for many to feel the economic strength the data implies.

Housing costs, the largest monthly expense for many Americans, have surged 5.4% from last year, while attending sports events and insuring vehicles have jumped around 20-22%. On a brighter note, gas prices have eased from April but remain 2.2% higher year-over-year. For those dining out more, expect restaurant bills and fast-food orders to be about 4% pricier, adding up over time.

In better news, traveling is becoming more affordable with airfares down 5.9% and car rental prices dropping 8.8% year-over-year. Even keeping kids entertained is cheaper with toys down 7.8% and new TVs down 6.6% compared to last year, offering some relief amidst ongoing economic uncertainties. If you want to get ahead of your money but aren’t sure where to start, answer a few simple questions to get your very own customized money plan here.


“Investing Is Only For The Wealthy”

Let's bust a common money myth today: "Investing is only for the wealthy." The truth is, investing is more accessible than ever, regardless of your income level. While it's true that having more money to invest can accelerate wealth growth, anyone with a few dollars to spare can start investing wisely.

Thanks to technological advancements and the rise of investment apps and platforms, you can begin with as little as $5 or $10. Whether it's stocks, bonds, ETFs, or even cryptocurrencies, there are investment options tailored to various budgets and risk appetites. Starting small and gradually increasing your investments over time can help you build wealth steadily.

Moreover, investing isn't just about buying stocks or bonds. It's about putting your money to work to generate returns that can outpace inflation and grow your wealth over the long term. By starting early and staying committed to a diversified investment strategy, even modest investments can potentially grow significantly over time, helping you achieve your financial goals faster. The easiest way to multiply your money is through a high yield savings account. Get my top recommendation here and learn more about investing here.


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