May 26, 2010
Boston, Mass. – It may be a stretch to say that financial management is next to godliness, but there's no doubt that our vices are expensive. Americans would save billions each year if we didn't regularly engage in these Seven Deadly Sins.
Pride: Pride goeth before the facelift. Collectively, Americans could save upwards of a billion bucks if vanity didn't lead them to shoot artificial filler into their faces. The North American market for so-called "facial injectables" is expected to hit $1.1 billion by 2014, $700 million of which will go toward Botox, according to the Millennium Research Group, a Toronto firm that studies the medical device industry. In 2009, doctors performed 12.5 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures and nearly 11 million "minimally-invasive" skin procedures (like Botox) in the U.S. alone, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Sloth: When the Grebo rock band Ned's Atomic Dustbin sang "Kill Your Television," perhaps they were just trying to save you some money. The average monthly bill for digital cable TV service is about $75 per month, or $900 per year, according to Centris, a market research firm in Port Washington, Pa.
Plus there's the cost of the TV itself. The research firm DisplaySearch predicts TV sales to exceed 228 million units in 2010, with LCD TVs alone predicted to exceed 180 million units sold -- a 24% increase over 2009. This isn't surprising, considering the average American home now has 2.93 TV sets, according to Nielsen. Traditional TV usage in the U.S. remains at an all-time high, with Americans logging an average of almost 154 hours per month watching TV in the fourth quarter of 2009, an hour more than the same period in 2008, according to Nielsen.
Gluttony: As Americans watch their aforementioned 154 hours per month of TV, they're prone to pigging out. American snack food industry sees annual revenues of $25.8 billion, with Pepsi (PEP) subsidiary Frito-Lay owning a whopping 51% of the market. Almost 27% of that revenue comes from potato chips and 23% from corn chips, according to IBISWorld, which predicts snack food revenues to increase at a rate of 2.1% for the next five years. Sales of chocolate-covered salty snacks saw a 23% increase from 2008 to 2009, with an 8% increase in the purchase of "indulgent salty snacks," according to a recent report by Information Resources.
Wrath: We'd save millions on emergency room-related health insurance deductibles if rage didn't instigate us to lash out at walls and each other. American men between the ages of 18 and 24 make about 2.3 million injury-related emergency room visits per year, 279,000 of which fall under the category of "struck by or against objects or persons," according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. For women between 18 and 24 those numbers are 1.8 million and 126,000, respectively.
Injured males aged 25 to 44 make about 3.7 million ER visits annually -- 387,000 of which are borne of someone striking or getting struck. For women aged 25-44, the total number of injury-related ER visits is 3.8 million annually, 234,000 of which are due to someone striking something or somebody.
Lust: Lust can lead to marital infidelity, which can lead to divorce, and it's no secret that divorces are expensive, thanks in part to the aforementioned wrath. But life after divorce is expensive, too, in the form of basic utilities. According to a study at Stanford University, divorced households in 2005 spent 46% more on electricity and 56% more on water per person than married households.
Envy: We'd save bundles if we could keep ourselves from wanting what the neighbors have. And nothing epitomizes keeping up with the Joneses like an in-ground swimming pool in the backyard. While the swimming pool industry did take a recession hit last year, Americans still installed 54,000 new in-ground pools in 2009, a total investment of $1.6 billion, according to market research firm P.K. Data.
Some 130,000 new hot tubs, worth a total of $551 million, were installed throughout the U.S., according to the firm. The Joneses kept up with each other more than twice as much in 2008, when Americans bought 129,000 in-ground pool installations worth a total of $4.1 billion and 2008 new hot tub installations worth $1.1 billion.
Greed: Anyone hear about the recent financial crises? Just saying.
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