How do we compare to our European neighbours?
Have you ever wondered what someone like you spends their cash on in, say, France or Belgium or Germany? It’s easy to assume that we’re all the same when it comes to spending priorities but there are actually some pretty key differences in how we spend the money that we earn and also the money we borrow on loans of all kinds and credit cards. And those differences can be quite telling. If you want to get some insight into different European cultures then look at what Europeans spend their money on.
A chart created by The Economist shows that the EU-28 as a whole spends more on restaurants and hotels than any other area. Housing, fuel and utilities are also a priority but food and transport are, surprisingly, much less of a spending focus. Health is also a low priority when it comes to European spending – although that may have more to do with the availability of free or subsidised healthcare in many of the major EU-28 countries than a lack of care for wellbeing. Interestingly, despite the fact that France is one of the largest producers of wine in the world – responsible for around eight million bottles a year – alcohol is not something that many Europeans spend their cash on.
So what do Europeans spend their money on compared to other countries? These comparisons are based on the percentage of income that goes on each type of expense.
- People living in the EU spend more on restaurants and hotels than any other location in the world
- EU households spend less on transport than Mexico or Canada
- EU citizens have some of the lowest health spend in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia
- Housing, fuel and utilities is a top spending priority for EU households
- Russian, Mexican and Indian households spend more on food than those who live in the EU
- EU households have some of the lowest communications spend in the world, second only to countries like India
- EU households don’t have to budget much to spend on education, in fact it’s one of their lowest spending priorities
- Alcohol and tobacco are low on the spending priorities list for people in the EU – unlike Russia, which tops the chart for blowing the budget on booze and cigarettes
- EU citizens allocate an above average spend to recreation and also to home furniture and furnishings
- People in the EU have an above average rate of spend when it comes to clothing and footwear, although still rank behind spending levels in Russia and India
What conclusions can we draw, then, in terms of what Europeans really spend their money on? Well, food is not a priority but eating out is. Living in the EU means you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of your cash on healthcare or getting around but you do face a pretty high bill for housing. And finally, if you don’t want to be alone spending a larger proportion of your monthly salary on wine or beer, then it’s time to move to Russia.