Student Borrowers Are Now Spending More on Their Loans Than Groceries

October 7th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Crippling student debt is no longer just trapping young people in their parents' basements anymore—it's beginning to have a trickle-down impact on the families of the nation's college-educated.

According to new data analyzed by the Associated Press this week, previous loans block many parents from being able to fund their children's educations, with nearly 35 percent of education debt belonging to people 40 and above.

But perhaps one salient indicator of the state of student debt is this finding: the average college-educated head of a household under 40 pays more each month in student loan debt than in groceries, according to government figures. AP notes that debt often dominates many family budgets.

Average car payments have fallen to $2,462 a year from $4,118 in 2001, according to the Fed survey. And student debt obligations are $130 more than what a typical college-educated family devoted to groceries in 2013, according to Census Bureau figures.

Here's a graph depicting the change in household spending on education debt, groceries, and car payments since 2001.

Student loan spending surpasses groceries

Add groceries and car payments to the long list of things student debt is holding back, including Black Friday spending, the dating economy, and maybe in some cases, a fully intact set of internal organs.