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Americans Are Spending Less on Some Things During the Pandemic

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

(Photo via

(Photo via

Many things changed during the pandemic, including the cost of household items and services. The price of some of those items and services increased, but some of them also decreased. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has given some valid reasons why people are spending less during the pandemic.

More people worked from home, which caused their spending habits to change. According to federal data, American households spent an average of $63,036 a year before the pandemic compared with $61,334 the year during the pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that because employees were allowed to work from home, they saved money on travel and car maintenance. Also, they didn't spend money by going out to lunch or from taking trips to the vending machine while at work. They did not go out to dinner as they had been accustomed to doing. Also, people saved money because their entertainment was limited.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported other things people did not spend money on.

(Photo by Lance Asper via unsplash)

(Photo by Lance Asper via unsplash)


Because of the initial lockdown in March 2020, there was a decrease of about 40% in mileage, gasoline, motor oil, tolls, and car maintenance because people were not driving to work or to other places as often.

The average household spent $2,094 in 2019 but only $1,568 in 2020 for using their own vehicles.

In 2019, the average household spent $781 on public transportation. In 2020, families spent only $263. That was a 66.3% decrease. That amount includes fees for mass transit, airlines, buses, boats, taxis, and trains. In fact, rides on buses in some cities were entirely free during the initial phases of the pandemic.

Clothes and Dry Cleaners

People didn't have to dress up to go to work, to go out to dinner, or to go to church. While they spent an average of $1,883 before the pandemic, they spent only $1,434 during the pandemic for clothes and dry cleaning services.The biggest decrease came from not buying men’s and boys’ clothes and footwear.

Personal Care

Personal care includes going to the beauty parlor, barber shop, gym, and spa. The average household spent about $786 in 2019 but only $646 in 2020. Parents began to cut their sons' hair. Mothers began to give themselves a manicure and pedicure instead of trying to find a spa that was open.

(Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash)

(Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash)

Eating Out

Many restaurants were ordered to be closed. While they lost money, households saved some money. In 2019, the average household spent $3,526 to dine out. In 2020, the amount for dining out decreased to $2,375 because people weren't eating out.

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People weren't eating out, but they still ate. Therefore, spending on groceries increased by 6.4%. Also, people were ordering food to be delivered. They spent money on delivery services such as Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub.

Since schools and restaurants were closed during the initial phase of the pandemics, dairy products fell 2.7% percent.

(Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash)

(Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash)

Alcoholic Beverages

Spending on alcoholic beverages while dining out decreased from $579 in 2019 to $478 in 2020. The 43.9% decrease was because people were not drinking out as much. On the other hand, spending on alcohol for home consumption increased by 4.5%.

(Photo by Isaiah Rustad via Unsplash)

(Photo by Isaiah Rustad via Unsplash)


During the lockdown, families made their own entertainment instead of going out to movie theaters, concerts, sporting events, and other forms of entertainment. The events weren't offered anyway. Those organizations were also on lockdown. Therefore, the amount families paid for entertainment was cut in half. In 2019, households paid $880, and in 2020, they paid $425. That was a significant 51.7% decrease.

(Photo by Obi Onyeador via Unsplash)

(Photo by Obi Onyeador via Unsplash)

Medical Services and Supplies

In 2019, the average American household spent $984 on medical services and supplies. In 2020, people spent $864. They were reluctant to go to the doctor, dentist, and other medical professionals unless they just had to do so. Some physicians offered virtual visits.

In 2019, some people paid only $194 for over-the-counter products such as band-aids, bandages, topical treatments, antiseptics, first aid kits, syringes, vitamins, pain relievers, and allergy medications. In 2020, the average total was only $170.


US Bureau of Labor Statistics

10 Things Americans Spent Less on During Pandemic

Things Cheaper Due to Pandemic

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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