15 Biggest Costs in Life

11 February 2021

Staying Alive Is Costly, but Dying Isn’t Cheap Either. Carry on Reading to Find Out What All Your Necessities Cost.

The best things in life are free… If you want proof, we don’t have it here. What we do have are costs and necessities…and sadly, they are not free. It takes some personal finance management to get that right.

Here are the 15 biggest costs in life.

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Living Expenses

Aluxers – being alive is costly. There’s no doubt about it. If we look at our monthly expenses, we all have a similar list of expenditures:

  •         Housing – The Department of labour says the average household spends $1,674 on housing a month. This figure can fluctuate greatly.
  •         Transport – According to quicken.com, is roughly $813 including cost of vehicle and gas.
  •         Food – Here an average of $660 is spent monthly.
  •         Utility Bills – These can fluctuate depending on where you live, but anything from $344 / month to $731 / month which is what Hawaiians pay according to move.org.
  •         Mobile Phone – again this can vary depending on your usage.
  •         Health insurance – According to thebalance.com – the average cost per month is $495, an average annual deductible of $5,940.

Often there is not enough left to put away for retirement, fun activities, repaying student loans or car insurance.

But if you thought living was expensive, dying will also cost you an arm and a leg.


Funerals – Between $7,000 and $12,000

It’s said that there are only 3 things certain in life… death, taxes and Chuck Norris. And despite death being a certainty, we are never as prepared for it as we’d like to believe.

Funerals are expensive. And it’s a tricky one to balance, because obviously you want the best for that person, but the reality is, they won’t even know about it. But, you want a lovely tombstone, a beautiful casket and a floral arrangement so that it brightens the mood, even just a little.

It’s never fun to think about dying but getting death insurance will alleviate the financial stress for the family you leave behind when you pass away.

Aluxers, we cover many other sensitive topics with decorum, be sure to subscribe to watch them.


College Education – Between $17,000 and $52,000 +

Topuniversity.com broke down the cost of US Universities for 2018 / 2019 and along with College Board estimated the following annual budgets for undergraduate students:

$17,930 (community college)

$25,890 (in-state students at a four-year public college)

$41,950 (out-of-state students at a four-year public college)

$52,500 (private non-profit four-year college)

That doesn’t include additional costs like room and board, textbooks and other study supplies. These costs are a big chunk of personal finance management and have to be considered with all the details. To find out more about why things like textbooks are so expensive, be sure to watch our video:


Insurance – $50,000 +

Essential and expensive. Those are the two words used to describe insurance. There are all sorts of insurance policies that you need to consider.

Life, car, household, health, disability, dental and we can go on.

If you opted for life insurance, that could cost over $20,000 through the course of your lifetime. So we’re not discounting the incredible financial boost it will leave your loved ones, but it is a financial drain while you’re alive.

Then factor in all the other insurances, and it works out to a fair amount.

You can reduce the monthly premiums by comparing prices and shopping around, but at the end of the day, it’s still an expense that eats away at your monthly earnings.



Tax is a sliding scale in most countries and an area of contentment in many too, particularly from the uber wealthy who find innovative ways to, shall we say, work around the system.

A poll by Pew Research Centre shows that 79% of the respondents were of the opinion that “some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share.”

In the USA, the amount of tax paid for those earning over a $1 million is 27.4% while those earning less than $10,000 received a rebate in the form of refundable tax credits.

Tax doesn’t have to be complicated. To polish your personal finance management with taxes, we suggest this fantastic listen on Audible.com – Taxes for Small Businesses 2020. The Beginner-Friendly Practical Guide to Understanding Taxes for Your Startup, Sole Proprietorship, and LLC Even If You’ve Never Submitted a Tax Return Before.

Claim your free listen alux.com/freebook.


Clothing – $161 / Month

According to creditdonkey.com, “spending $161 per month on clothing and services is average for adults. Middle-age adults spend about $50 more per month. They also make more money, so they have more to spend.”

They expand by saying that women have an average of $1,000 to $2,500 of clothing in their wardrobe, with 9% of women owning more than $10,000 worth of clothing.

Shoes are an extra expense, with an average of $388 a year for a family’s footwear.

We repeat the honest words of Carrie Bradshaw, “I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closest.


Sports and Training Gear – Varied

In our video, Top 10 Most Expensive Bicycles in The World, we showcase bicycles ranging from $40,000 right up to $1 million.

Being a professional athlete is a huge expense and being a novice, even more so. You know someone like that, we’re sure. They get a taste for snowboarding and they go out and buy all the gear, only the best, and do it for a few months and the desire wanes.

Then it’s scuba diving. They buy all the gear, get their licence and go down once. And then it’s on to the next sport. Such compulsive habits are sure shot recipes to personal finance management disasters.  

A Burton 2014 Mystery Camber snowboard will set you back $1,499, and a Jimmy Lewis M-14 Paddleboard – $2200. These sporting items need to be stored safely and they need to be insured, which also adds to your ever-growing monthly expenses.


Pets and Pet Insurance – Varied

According to the nytimes.com – more people than ever before are buying pet insurance.

A decent coverage costs between $30 and $50 a month. And that’s just for one pet. What about Charlie, Molly and Cleo?  

As Ann Carrns wrote in the article, our pets are, “members of the family, feeding them gourmet food, paying for day care and throwing them birthday parties.” And she’s not wrong! I mean, we can all relate to the “No, I don’t want to come to your dog’s birthday party… freak. My cat is getting married that weekend.”  

Then there’s their monthly food expense, their 22k Gold-Thread Pet Mattress that costs $3,000, and the Swarovski-studded Cat Flap at $1,644.

Even cnbc.com confirms that “your beloved pet is making you broke.” Illustrator, Charrow, was quoted as saying, “There are recurring costs, such as dog walking ($50 a week), pet insurance ($38 a month) and yearly check-ups ($150 each). Then there are incidental costs. So every family trip is now $200 more expensive. When, at the park, the dog bites another dog or gets bitten, or eats something rotten, the bill can be stroke-inducing.”

And Aluxers, if you thought pets were expensive – let’s have a look at children.


Children – Endless!

From birth to the age of 17, it’s estimated that one child costs roughly $233,000 with higher income families shelling out in the region of $372,210. So this is a core part of a family’s personal finance management, and it is only justified why it should be thoroughly planned.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture breaks it down as follows:

Housing – 29%

Food – 18%

Childcare and education – 16%

Transportation – 15%

Health care – 9%

Miscellaneous – 7%

Clothing – 6%

Aluxers, don’t let those figures scare you though – they are an estimate put forward and regardless of your income, or whether both parents are working, or one is stay-at-home, it is possible to still provide your child with what they need.


Weddings – $5,000 – $105,000

We just recently highlighted why lavish weddings are a waste of money, and where you can save plenty of money while still having the most beautiful, special day.

We mentioned that “It’s been proven the more money spent on a wedding, the shorter the marriage lasts.”

Several studies have been done linking the cost of the marriage to divorce rate, and one done by economics professors Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo M Mialon concluded that “weddings that cost less than $1,000 showed a significant decrease in the likelihood of divorce and weddings costing more than $20,000 increased the likelihood by 1.6 times in the sample of women.”

Be sure to watch the full video here:


Vacations – Fluctuates

So, you got the wedding done and dusted and now it’s time to have the honeymoon of your dreams. Where will you jet off to? Croatia? Mauritius? What about Zanzibar?

And then you need a break, and another break and a break from your break. Until it’s you breaking your personal finance management.

If you’re not careful, you’ll find that your travel plans are a massive drain on your finances and instead of “Mai Tais sippin’ in the middle of the afternoon,” you’ll be filing for bankruptcy and longing for the days when you could at least dream about sippin’ Mai Tais.


Divorces – $15,000

A study done by Bankrate estimated that the average divorce in the US cost $15,000 per person. And that’s just the basic. So if the divorce is a whole of, He Said, She Said business and who gets sole custody of the dog, never mind the children kind of vibe, well then you’re going to accumulate even more costs.

Business Insider says the divorce rate is going down, perhaps it’s because of the high costs.

They gave a rough breakdown of costs:

  •         Filing for divorce – $300
  •         Attorney fees – from $2500 up to several thousand.
  •         Mediation up to $200 / hour
  •         Then it’s refinancing a home, parenting workshops if there is dual custody of the dog… we mean kids and other unexpected fees.

But like Willie Nelson said, “Do you know why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it.”

Despite it being expensive, many marriages end in divorce. Want to know why? Check out 15 Reasons Why 50% of Marriages End in Divorce.


Maintenance – Both Car and House

Sadly, no one can predict what their house or car maintenance will be in the long run.

You don’t know if you’re going to attempt to hang a picture, hit once with the hammer and next minute you’ve fallen through your floorboards into the basement.

Home Advisor reported that the average annual maintenance was $1,105 with 30% of that going to emergency repairs, like when you fall through the floorboards.

The rule of thumb to follow is to save 1% of the value of your home. So, if your home cost $300,000 – each year you should save $3,000.

The balance.com believes that for maintenance and repairs, we should set aside $1,186 and to always check the little niggly problems out before they become larger than life and drain your bank account. So this is an effective personal finance management tip, straight from the pros.


Gym – $58 / Month

In our video, 15 Dumbest Purchases You Make in Your 20s, we mentioned that “a Planet Money podcast had an interesting take on gyms. In their opinion, “Gyms need their members not to come, but they can’t just lock the doors. They can’t tell people not to show up. So, they have to rely on consumer psychology to get you excited enough that you’ll sign up for a gym membership but not so excited that you’ll get up an hour early to do some crunches before work.”

Aluxers, we understand you’re keen to get your pre-marriage pre-baby body back, but at $58 / a month, there are definitely other ways to attract a new partner after the costly divorce.  


Retirement $49,000 / Year

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, it costs $49,000 a year to retire. If your retirement lasts 20-years, that’s $980,000!

Good retirement plans include income from several places including Social Security, pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s and annuities. And there are other income streams too, investments could pay out or non-taxable income sources.

Suffice to say, money isn’t going to just fall into your bank account, and you need to save it and that is one of the biggest expenses in life today… saving up until the day you die.


Aluxers, what is the biggest expense in your life at the moment? We’d love to hear from you.