Last year, millennials spent an estimated total of $200 billion. Women were responsible for an overwhelming majority of that amount: $170 billion—or about 85 percent. This year, they are considered the largest spending power of any generation. Which got us wondering: How much does the average woman spend in a year?
It’s true; millennials, especially women, are a spending force to be reckoned with. Why else would brands and influencers spend so much time and money trying to reach them?
Of course, not all millennial women have the same spending power (so, check your privilege). The ability to spend money on different things varies depending on factors like income, debt, and other financial stressors.
Sample sizes for studies on millennial finances are usually small, and some communities face more financial obstacles than others, so the stats don’t provide great representation of *all* millennial women.
They can, however, tell us a little bit about how millennial women are generally spending their money, and what that reveals about their attitudes and anxieties about finances. Here’s what some recent studies of millennials revealed.
How much does the average woman spend in a year?
They’re spending on rent
- Almost half of millennials polled by Bank Of America say they spend more 30 percent of their income on rent, the recommended percentage for those wanting to save for a home.
- This means they have less saved funds for a down payment on a home, even though 72 percent of millennials report home ownership is a priority.
They want experiences
- About eight in 10 millennial women occasionally indulge themselves with a big-ticket purchase, with 45 percent of respondents reporting that their biggest purchase over the past year was on experiences, according to a study by Merkle and Levo.
- 72 percent of women said that spending on experiences, like a big vacation, is what makes them the happiest.
They’re spending on weddings…but not their own
- Growing older means more friends get engaged, which means the inevitable costs of attending a wedding. About 17 percent of millennials who reported that they have gone into debt to keep up with their friends have done so by spending more than they can afford to be part of someone else’s wedding, according to Credit Karma.
Some are spending outside their means…
- FOMO is real, and it impacts finances. 39 percent of millennials say they’ve spent money they didn’t have in order to “keep up” with their friends, according to Credit Karma.
- They’re often saying yes to dinner and drink invites they can’t afford, as most of this overspending ends up being on food and alcohol.
…And some are on a budget
- 63 percent of millennials are actively saving trying to save money, and 54 percent are on a budget, according to Bank of America.
- And most are pretty responsible: 73 percent of millennials who have a strict budget say that they stick to it every month, or most months.
They’re feeling the pressure
- A 2018 Visa study showed that millennial women are more financially stressed than men, and generally have more negative feelings about their relationship with money than men do.
- 89 percent of women think overall it’s more expensive to be a woman, and 63 percent of men agree.
They’re not talking about it
- Money is still a huge taboo. Most millennial women are three times more likely to talk to their friends about their sex lives than their salaries, according to Visa.
- This gap, however, closed slightly when women had empowered views about money, for instance if they self-reported as breadwinners or feminists.