Families' weekly spending rose to around £483.60 a week last year - an increase of £10 a week on the typical levels recorded in 2010, official figures have shown.
Spending increased for the second year in a row and the 2011 average expenditure is the highest recorded in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) annual Family Spending report series.
The biggest costs were taken up by transport, which rose to £65.70 per week, up 80p from the previous year.
Recreation and culture took up the next highest chunk of families' spending, costing £63.90 a week on average.
This included a £2-a-week increase on spending on recreational services, including cinema tickets, leisure classes and admission to sporting events, taking the cost to £19.80.
The cost of audio-visual equipment, including computers, edged down slightly to £6.30, representing a decrease of 90p a week compared with 2010.
Spending on several other items in this category, including games, toys, garden equipment, newspapers and books, remained fairly constant compared with 2010, the ONS said.
Housing, fuel and power took up the third largest amount of households' spending at £63.30 a week in 2011, showing a weekly increase of £2.90.
Within this category, rents rose by 70p to reach £40.60 and average expenditure on electricity, gas and other fuels was £22.10 per week, also representing an increase of 70p.
Families are set to come under further pressure from rising fuel bills this winter after a string of energy companies recently announced price hikes.