Survey: Millennials spend an average of $838 a month on nonessentials

Millennials also reported feeling the most pressure to spend money on things they didn’t need.

What your favorite necessity? Maybe you’d choose coffee over vacations, or your technology over takeout.

TD Ameritrade’s new survey of 1,100 American adults is called “The New Basics,” and breaks down the things we consider modern basics, from travel to coffee (sensing a pattern?) to dining out.

What are the basics for your lifestyle? Apparently, they are:

  • vacations or travel: 61%
  • dining or (or takeout): 59%
  • coffee: 46%

The not-so-basics

Then there’s non-essential spending – you know, cocktails and cabs and clothing. While the average spend per month in this category is $697 per month, Millennials spend by far the most in this category – at $838.

In fact, 16% of Millennials spend in the $1,001-2,500 range – Baby Boomers spend $683, and Gex X spends the least, $588.

Interestingly, Millennials also reported feeling the most pressure to spend money on things they didn’t need. They rated high in pressure from every single category:

  • Family and friends: 43% (compared with 31% for Gex X and 30% for Boomers)
  • Boredom: 33% (twice as high as Boomers)
  • Advertising: 20% (five times higher than Boomers)
  • Social media: 21% (nearly three times higher than Gen X, and 10 times higher than Boomers)

Be careful, Millennials, because the next stop is credit-card debt – 32% of respondents said their non-essential purchases contributed to debt, and the percentage (49%) was much higher for Millennials.

Two lessons: Don’t confuse your luxuries with your basics. Also, bad credit has been shown to lead to roommates.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.