Largest Household Expenses

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.

What are the Largest Household Expenses?

The three largest household expenses in most households are housing, food, & transportation.  If you have an infant or toddler requiring childcare or young adult children in college Child Care or Education can be one of your largest household expenses.

Housing $1,255
Childcare $1,200
Food $1,000
Health Care $1,000
Transportation $600

Largest Household Expenses :Housing

According to the balance, the median monthly mortgage payment in the United States is $1,030 per month.  According to Abodo the average rental payment in the United States is $1255.  I recently published a post about budgeting for your first apartment, learn more by visiting Moving out on Your Own: Helpful Tips to Create a Budget.

Largest Household Expenses: Food

The grocery budget varies depending on household size but is often one of the largest household expenses for families. For a family of 4, the grocery budget can be close to the same costs as housing expenses.  I recently wrote an article about creating a grocery budget, learn more by visiting How Much should you Spend on Groceries.

Individual $301.60
Couple $613
Family of 4 $1,062.70

Largest Household Expenses: Childcare/ Education/Student Loans

Childcare is a large household expense for families with young children. Tuition is a large household expense for families with students in a private school or with kids in college.  


Both my husband & I work full time and we require full-time child care for our 2-yr old son while we are at work. According to the US Department of Labor, more than 70 percent of women with children under 18 also work. So having a working mom, is now the new norm. Childcare is an important part of the household budget for families with young children.  

The average cost of infant and toddler child in the United States ranges from $800 to $1200 per month (American progress,). That is as much as the average housing payment in the United States.  


For families with college-aged students, tuition is a large household expense.  The average cost of in-state tuition is close to $10,000 per year. The cost of out-of-state tuition is around $25,000 per year.  That is about $850 – $2000 per month! On the High end, that exceeds the average housing payment in the United States.

Student Loan

For young families, another large household expense could be Student Loan Debt. The average student loan payment is more than $350. It could be as high as $1000 per month for post baccalaureate student loan debt.  


According to Experian, the Average car payment for a new car is $554, and the average car payment  for a used car is $391. Most couples or family have two car payments, this easily is one of the largest household expenses.  That’s without accounting for the cost of insurance, parking, and maintenance.

I grew up in New York, and neither of my parents owned a car. Instead we relied on public transportation. If you live in a large Metropolitan Area and do not own a car, transportation will probably not be a large portion of your monthly Household Expenses.

Largest Household Expenses: Health Care

According to eHealthInsurance, the average unsubsidized health insurance plan in the United States costs $440 for an individual plan and $1168 per month for a family plan.  For a family, Health Care Expenses can easily account for as much of the household budget as housing expenses.   This does not account for co-pays, deductibles and other out of pocket health care related expenses.

If you have employer-sponsored Health Insurance, the cost of insurance premiums can be significantly lower.  For companies with employer-sponsored health care, employees pay for a portion of health insurance premiums. The out of pocket expense for the employee will be lower.  

Mimi D.

Mimi D is the creator of Dream Plan Smile. An NYC native, she is a wife and mom with a passion for crafting. She holds a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Project Management. In her current role as a working wife and mom, she is getting a crash course in budgeting, planning, & organization.

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