How Much Do We Spend On Our Bodies?

by Liz Colville

Personal care! The greatest thing about life on Earth except for love, but a fine substitute for love, if you must. Bundle did some serious research on how Americans around the country spend their money when it comes to personal care, which for Bundle’s purposes includes cosmetic stores, spas, gyms, salons, and drugstores, and the results (see the blown-up image here) are a little surprising.

Austin, TX spends the most on personal care out of the 100 largest cities in the country: a whopping $143 per month, which is more than twice the national average. What!

This helps explain some things: Bundle found some correlation between personal care spending and fitness. Big-spender cities like Austin, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. also ranked quite high in the fitness category in studies by the American College of Sports Medicine’s American Fitness Index, Shape magazine, and Men’s Health. Detroit, which spends the least amount on personal care — $18 per month! — is also one of the fattest cities, according to Men’s Health research. But! Portland, OR spends about the national average per month on personal care, and it’s also one of the fittest cities, so that correlation isn’t across the board. Perfect, perfect Portland.

Clearly, location has a lot to do with fitness: if you live in a beautiful, outdoorsy place like Portland, maybe it motivates you to invest more in fitness. As for the other aspects of personal care, like how shrunken your pores are, how many acupuncture needles you’ve had in your body, and how many times you got your hair done last year, that probably has as much to do with income level as it does with where you live and what you do there. Arlington, VA, a hub of D.C. types, also ranks really high in personal care spending, as does Los Angeles. New York, meanwhile, is quite a few cities down the list, spending only in the double digits: $81 per month, which barely gets you a New York Sports Club membership, or two items from Sephora, or an unfinished dye job.

How much do you spend, and what the heck do you buy? Is it me, or does your spending fluctuate wildly from month to month? I may spend $18 in January and $143 in February. I’m crazy like that!