6. In 2012, the total amount of outstanding student loan debt hit the $1 trillion mark for the first time in U.S. history, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The average student amasses more than $20,000 in student loan debt to earn the first degree, and an additional $17,000 to earn a master's degree. That's a lot, but not compared with medical school students, who leave school owing roughly $113,000.
7. The average amount of a new car loan is now more than $30,000 — a 40 percent increase over the past 10 years — and about 45 percent of those loans are now longer than six years. Americans own 439 cars per every 1,000 people, which is actually fewer cars per capita than many European countries. Despite that fact, Americans use roughly twice as much energy as most Europeans.
8. Paying $199 to buy a new iPhone 5 (basic, 16 GB model) doesn't seem too outlandish if you really have your heart set on owning one. But your appetite for all the latest apps may not be so great when you take a look at this data compiled by the firm Avalaunch Media. When you factor in monthly service plans and other costs, the true cost of owning that iPhone 5 is likely to run between $1,000 and $2,500 per year.
9. According to a 2012 Employee Benefit Research Institute survey, only 14 percent of American workers say that they are "very confident" that they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement and 30 percent of workers said they have less than $1,000 in savings and investments. Maybe ignorance is bliss, since the institute also found that 56 percent of workers have never even attempted to calculate how much they will need to save for a comfortable retirement.
10. And finally, prepare for shock and awe. According to the website CreditLoan.com, the average American will now pay more than $600,000 in interest over the course of a lifetime! Think about how much of that interest you could avoid by adopting the old-school philosophy many of our grandparents lived by: If you can't afford to pay for it now, you really can't afford it.
Jeff Yeager is the author of Don't Throw That Away!, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com; you can friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.