Cents and Sensibility

How the Black Community Spends

Credit: Thinkstock

In 2009, Black households spent an estimated $507 billion across 27 product and services categories. The estimated Black buying power will reach 1 trillion by 2015. Below are areas where money is spent in the Black community and ways to cut back on some of the spending.

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Housing: The African-American community spends more than $205 billion on housing and related charges.

1. Housing should not be more than 34 percent of your income.

2. If your rent or mortgage is more than 34 percent, consider downsizing or searching for a cheaper place to live.

3. Also consider a responsible roommate to help out with the mortgage/rent, utilities, and upkeep of the house.

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Apparel Products and Services: More than $30 billion was recently spent on apparel in the Black community.

1. Take care of your clothes and you will get years of wear out of them.

2. Skip expensive workout clothes and check cheaper retailers for more affordable gear.

3. Re-purpose old clothes by turning something you are no longer wearing into something else that you can wear. For example, turning an old shirt or sweater into a purse or wallet.

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Food: On average, $65.2 billion is spent on food each year in the Black community.

1. Use store and manufacturing coupons to save on your purchase. Find coupons in store ads, newspapers, and online such as and

2. Shop stores that have your grocery list items on sale. You may end up shopping at three different stores because all stores had items from your list on sale.

3.Check the sale prices and compare between brands before buying the products. Look for offers on sale, too. Buy One Get One Free Offers are a great example.

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Telephone: On average, the Black community spends $17.2 billion to talk on the phone.

1. Research to see if it is cheaper to purchase a bundle pack (Internet, cable, and phone services) with one company versus having three separate bills with three different companies.

2. Research family plans and share cell minutes as a family rather than paying for individual phones and monthly bills.

3. Downgrade on cell phone services that you do not need (Internet, text, etc).

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Travel and Transportation: The Black community spends at least $6.0 billion annually on travel and transportation.

1. Travel when no one else wants to and it will give you a better chance at a greater deal. Think of the supply-and-demand system when researching deals.

2. Seek all-inclusive stays and pay for it all in one lump sum.

3. Keep your vehicle serviced. Routine maintenance will help prolong the life of your car’s engine and in the long run, helps you save money.


About Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Karen Ratliff

Dr. Ratliff is a certified life coach and professional educator, assisting many people in accomplishing financial, career, and educational goals.  She is also the author of “Tightening Your Bootstraps: 104 Tips to Kick Your Debt to the Curb Now.” Keep up with her budgetary advice via Twitter @drkarenratliff and her website at