#NewDecadeNewYou: American Budgeting Habits Through the 2010s

#NewDecadeNewYou: American Budgeting Habits Through the 2010s

Here we are again — another year passing us by before we’ve even properly adjusted to its presence. While every year offers us an opportunity to look back on where we started to where we’ve grown, the beginning of a new decade provides us with an even deeper metric. 

Over ten years, you could enter college, graduate, begin your career, get promoted, change jobs, travel to different corners of the world, get a pet, get married, or even start your own family. No matter the path, the person you are now is vastly different than the one you were at the start of the 2010s, and, before you know it, in another ten years you will likely become a whole new person once again. 

And even though 2030 feels like a lifetime away, 2010 feels like yesterday.


Throughout the course of the next few weeks, we will examine some of the money trends that defined the 2010s, parse through the financial advice that we should take with us into the next decade and the advice that we should leave behind, explore the long-term financial goals we’ll be setting across the 2020s, and break down long-term budgeting tips and best practices for goal setting that will help ensure that we are prepared to reach our big financial goals, whatever they may be. 

To kick things off, we ran a survey asking participants to answer a variety of questions comparing their budgeting habits in 2010 and 2019. Covering topics such as entertainment, food, and self-care, the message was clear: over the last decade, people have focused more on investing in themselves.

23% of respondents said they prioritized budgeting for TV/Film streaming services in 2010. By 2019, that number nearly doubled to 51%. Knowing exactly what they want to watch, people are opting for the platforms that best suit their interests instead of being at the whim of what’s on cable, which dropped in priority from 53% in 2010 to 35% in 2019. 

When it comes to food budgeting, respondents revealed that they are eager to cook more at home, where they can better control what they eat and how much they spend. Groceries saw a jump in priority from 68% in 2010 to 80% in 2019, whereas fast food dropped by 8 points over the decade to 6%, and restaurants dropped by 5 points to 10%.

NewDecadeNewYou budgeting survey graph 2

Incorporating more self-care into our schedules has been a growing trend over the past couple years, and it’s apparent that this message is resonating well. When asked about their self-care practices, 36% of respondents said they very rarely or never budgeted for self-care in 2010. By 2019, this dropped by 10 points, with 33% of those saying they budgeted for self-care pretty frequently or all the time throughout the year (a 9 point jump from 2010).

We were thrilled to see that the number of respondents who said they used an app to keep track of their budget more than doubled from 2010 to 2019. While we are always proud of our Mint family, we love seeing the evidence that you all are dedicated to keeping track of where your hard-earned money is going.

It was also reassuring to see the number of respondents who selected “What’s budgeting?” drop from 10% in 2010 to just 4% in 2019.

NewDecadeNewYou budgeting survey graph 3

Abubakar Norman

Abubakar his MA Economics from Concordia University in Montreal and BA Economics from the University of British Columbia, with special emphasis on environmental and industrial economics. He has written on a variety of different topics including Bitcoin and finance.

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