How does the Bay Area spend its money?

Have you ever wondered how the people in the Bay Area and elsewhere spend their cash? Wonder no more. The New York Times has produced an analysis of spending habits, breaking down results into geographic regions nationwide. The graphic that accompanies this article breaks down just how people in the Bay Area use their hard-earned money.

And what have we learned? Here are a few tidbits:

  • We spend 43 percent more on watches than the national average
  • We spend 97 percent more on housekeeping than the national average
  • We spend a whopping 170 percent more on women’s “costumes” (ie, outfits) than the national average
  • We spend 250 percent more on both alimony and elder care outside the home than the national average.

In addition, as compared to the national average, we spend 10 percent more on bicycles, 43 percent more on social and health clubs (and we’re number-one in the nation in that), 44 percent more on books (number two, second only to Seattle) and 64 percent more on charity.

The analysis was done by using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey to track differences among cities when it comes to household spending from 2007 to 2012. Here are some other observations:

  • In New York City, favorite items for purchase include shoes and luxury watches.
  • In Boston, lots of money tends to go to private-school tuition.
  • In Dallas, clothes garner some of the most cash.
  • In Phoenix, it’s high-end makeup.
  • In Washington, D.C., plenty of people are buying encyclopedias and reference books.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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