What do South Africans spend their money on

Statistics South Africa conducts an Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) every 5 years. The IES seeks to establish what South Africans spend their money on, so that the basket of goods which makes up the Consumer Price Index (CPI), used to calculate the inflation rate, can be updated. The last IES was conducted between September 2010 and August 2011.


Over the survey period (Sept 2010 – Aug 2011), 32,0% of overall household consumption expenditure went to housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels. An average household would have spent approximately R 30 505 on this item during the survey year. Black African-headed households spent approximately a quarter (26,5%) and coloured-headed households spent three-tenths (30,4%) of their consumption expenditure on this group. Indian/Asian (36,9%) and white-headed (37,9%) households spent more than a third of their expenditure on housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.

When combined with expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages, which is the fourth-largest expenditure group at 12,8%, these two items account for almost 50% of household expenditure. Essentially, one out of every two Rand spent by South African households goes towards housing and food expenditure items.

Transport is the second largest expenditure group and is estimated 17,1% of total household consumption expenditure. The average South African household spent R16 319 on transport between September 2010 and August 2011. Roughly one out of every six Rand spent goes towards transport.


The proportion of household consumption expenditure spent on transport by Indian/Asian-headed households was 20,5%. This was the highest among all population groups, followed by white (17,5%), black African (16,9%) and coloured-headed (14,7%) households. The share spent on transport among male-headed households (18,4%) was larger than the corresponding proportion for female-headed households (13,7%).