About that data ... A deeper dive into the methodology behind Bundle's spending data
We built Everybody's Money with the goal of becoming the most complete free resource for information about how Americans spend and save. It took more than a few statheads to turn millions of data points — a mix of anonymized credit card transactions and data from the government and other sources — into an accurate, useful and (we think) fun visualization designed to give you a glimpse of what we call "the complete wallet." Obviously, this is a work in progress — we're adding new data, seeking new sources, and continuing to develop the model and the tools. Some questions about our data are answered in the FAQ, but we thought it was worthwhile to tackle more detailed questions here.
If you have questions we haven't answered, or if there's data you'd like to see or sources you think we should check out, post a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll update this document periodically with new answers and information.
What's considered a household? How does that affect the data?
This may be the only way Bundle is like the IRS. Everybody's Money considers a household to be all the people who live there, and whatever you choose, the results reflect spending for the household as a whole. Select "married," and the green "Shopping" bubble reflects the shopping patterns of two people, not one.
What's in the categories?House & Home: Doesn't include mortgage and rent. Home maintenance includes home repair and services (e.g. the plumber); Home Improvement includes renovation and remodeling expenses and services (e.g. the contractor).
Travel & Leisure: Travel includes airlines, hotels and rental cars, as well as taxis, subways, buses and other mass transit. Entertainment means movies, video rentals, theater, music, pool halls, amusement parks, wax museums and dolphinariums, among other diversions.
Getting Around: Gas, auto maintenance, car stuff. Doesn't include mass transit (see Travel) or car insurance (see Insurance).
Health & Family: Healthcare includes doctors, hospitals, labs and drug stores; doesn't include health insurance (that's in Insurance); Personal Care means cosmetics, dry cleaning, laundry, health clubs, spas and salons; School & Child Care includes childcare and tuition and fees for elementary, secondary, college, vocational and correspondence courses.
Shopping: General shopping includes department and discount stores, wholesale clubs, miscellaneous specialty shops. Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Super Centers are evaluated separately, because Super Centers are more like grocery stores. Hobbies includes books, antiques, sporting goods, recreation, and arts & crafts stores.
Where's the rent and mortgage data?
We hope to add it very soon. Currently, Bundle's spending data is based primarily on transactions made with credit cards, and most people don't pay their mortgage or their rent with a credit card. (Which, arguably, is a good thing.) We're actively investigating other sources of for that information, and when as soon as we find it, we'll build it in.
Sometimes I can drill down by zip code, sometimes I'm kicked up to the city level, sometimes the county. Why?
Even with millions of data points, sometimes there aren't enough to populate a particular search or deliver a meaningful result, especially for small geographies. In those cases, in order to ensure both the accuracy and the anonymity of the data, we roll up the data to the next biggest place.
What does an asterisk mean?
If we don't have enough data in a particular spending category, we might roll up only that category to the next biggest available geography. If, for example, we don't have pet spending in 98115 (a Seattle neighborhood northeast of downtown), we might replace it with the number for pet spending in all of Seattle, and mark it with an asterisk.
How do the merchant listings work in your "Get Stats" section?
The "top merchants" are exactly that: notable businesses where the folks in the place and demographic you've chosen are spending their money, listed loosely in order of the amount of money spent there. If you see the term "unknown merchant," it means we were not yet able to clearly name that particular business in a way that makes sense, which is an issue with the data we'll be trying to remedy. We are continuously working to expand these listings to cover as many categories as possible. For more on the merchants, click here.
I'm noticing a big difference between the average and the 50th percentile in "Get Stats" (the median). What do those numbers mean?
Where's that old stats textbook? Obviously, the average is the average-the total amount spent, divided by the total number of transactions. Averages can get skewed by super-high and -low spenders (technically, "outliers"), so sometimes those numbers can't tell the whole story. This is why we decided to add the median — basically, the midpoint of the data as well as a breakdown beyond percentiles. When you click "Get Stats" you'll see the full spectrum — what high and low spenders are doing with, say, groceries, as well as those right in the middle. We think all these numbers can help give people better context about what they're doing with their own budgets.
What kind of Saving data will you have? And when is it coming?
Our saving data will tell you how much people like you have saved, and how much debt they have, broken down by category-cash, retirement savings, investments, college savings, insurance, mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, etc.
Can I dig into your database? Will you be offering an API?
We're continuing to look into other ways that our community can get the most out of Bundle and to help Americans get better context about for their spending and saving decisions. Tell us what you'd like to see, and we'll do our best to make it happen.