Saturday, May 23, 2009

How Much Money Should I Spend in each Category?

Working on a magazine article this week I realized I had never put a budget percentage guide on here. The guide is just that. Your budget may not fit all the suggested categories exactly. The point is to equal 100%.

Suggested Guidelines from several sources.
Charitable Giving 10-15%
Housing 25-35%
Utilities 5-10%
Food 5-15%
Transportation 10-15%
Medical 5-10%
Clothing 2-7%
Insurance 5-7%
Debt Payments 5-10%
Invest/Save 5-10%
School/Childcare 5-7%
Misc. (personal, recreation, vacation, gifts) 5-10%

Our typical monthly percentages for a family of 6 :
Tithe/Charitable Giving 15%
Housing (no mortgage) 6%
Utilities 10%
Food 11%
Transportation (no car payments, mostly gas) 14%
Medical 5%
Clothing 1%
Insurance 3% (medical ins through work)
Debt Payments 0%
Invest/Save/College 15% (pay debts first, then retirement, then kids college)
School/Childcare 7%
Misc. (personal, recreation, vacation, gifts) 13% If you have debt this should be your lowest category.

Remember when budgeting to follow these steps:
1. Track your spending. Write down everything.
2. Priortize your money. What can you cut?
3. Categorize your budget.
4. Make your budget work for you.
5. Don't give up. It will take several months before it starts to work and you will have to tweak it often. But don't give up.

I know it is overwhelming. We tried budgeting off and on for over 3 years before we finally stuck to it. But it is the best thing we could have done for our family. Please leave questions and comments. I know what I'm trying to get across and sometimes I leave things out. Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

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