How To Determine Your Household Budget Percentages

How To Determine Your Household Budget Percentages

McKinzie Bean
McKinzie Bean
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Trying to figure out your household budget percentages? This detailed budgeting guide will help!

If you have a family or household of your own, you’ve probably experienced planning or setting up a budget for your household. Sometimes it can be a challenge to create your budget. This is why it can be beneficial to know your typical household budget percentages.

Make sure to check the bottom of this post for your free budget templates too!

Ideal Household Budget Percentages

When you plan your cash flow, you can ensure you have control over your finances and money doesn’t slip away from you. These percentages are there to help guide you with your own budgeting for your household. They can also act as a benchmark to make sure you are on your way to financial freedom and not debt.

Giving – 10%

This can either be through donations to charities, church, organizations, or worthwhile causes you may support or believe in. Giving back is important because it teaches you to be grateful for what you have.

When you are satisfied with what you have – even if it isn’t a lot – you can truly feel happy. When you give back to others, you aren’t only helping them, but you are also helping yourself become a better person.

Savings – 10% to 15%

In reality, we probably don’t save as much as we want to. This could be due to a lot of factors. If we you are carrying a lot in debt saving can feel impossible.

This is why it is important to get out of debt, so that you’ll have more to allocate towards your future. At different points in your life, you may have more or less to put in your savings so it would really depend on your current situation.

Having savings is crucial for unexpected emergencies, for big purchases, and in order to build your wealth. It is suggested to invest in a starter emergency fund as a sort of protection for you in case anything happens. Try to put in $1,000 in the beginning.

By having an emergency fund you won’t need to get in debt when you get into a sticky situation.

At some point in life, we typically like to make big purchases or investments like getting a new car or buying a house. These take a large sum of money but if you have saved for them, it is an easy transition into the next step.

When building your wealth, you can also start to save up for your retirement. Once you are out of debt, you can start to invest 15% of your budget for savings.

Food – 10% to 15%

This category involves groceries as well as eating out. Sometimes this can be hard to stick to, especially if you tend to eat out often.

One way you can control your spending is to do meal planning. You can do weekly meal plans so that you would know what exactly you are going to buy from the grocery and how much it would all cost.

When you have a list and a goal and you can control yourself from buying unnecessary things (I’m looking at you family-pack of Oreos).

When it comes to eating out in restaurants, you can also budget to only do that once a week, for example. This will allow you to control your eating out costs. By doing meal planning, you will actually also avoid those unexpected restaurant trips since you have prepared ahead of time.

Housing- 20% to 30%

The housing category involves your rent, mortgage including tax, insurance, or homeowners association fees. When it comes to the percent of your budget for housing, make sure you don’t go over. Many banks will approve you for more than this, but being house poor is not fun!

You don’t want to be stuck paying a huge amount for your mortgage every month – no matter how nice the place may be. This will also ensure that you can still have enough to budget for other categories.

Utilities – 5% to 10%

This includes your electricity, water, natural gas or propane, trash services, phone, cable, and Internet. These are things we all need and use in our daily lives so we have to make this budget allocation for them.

Clothing- 1% to 4%

This is your budget for your whole family.

Transportation – 10% to 15%

Your budget for transportation depends on where you live, your public transportation situation, your commute to work and back, and others. Car payments, gas, maintenance, parking, oil changes, license and registration, and many more go into this category.

Medical – 5% to 10%

This is to cover whatever medical or health issues you and your family may have. Aside from the current health situation of your family members, you may also have to budget for unexpected health-related sickness or medication that you may need.

Insurance- 10% to 20%

Part of providing for your family is to also make sure that you are ready for anything and one way you can do this is by investing in insurance. This includes home insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, and life insurance.

Recreation/Entertainment – 5% to 10%

This can involve a lot of things for the whole family including hobbies, movies, games, and other kinds of activities and fun that your family might enjoy.

Personal – 5% to 10%

It’s perfectly okay to budget a little something for yourself as a sort of treat every once in a while. This could be a spa day, makeup that you’ve always wanted, or those shoes you’ve been eyeing. As long as you stay within the budget and know how to space apart the expensive ones, you should be fine.

I’ve found that if I give myself a little wiggle room for personal expenses it goes over better than if I feel restricted like I can’t buy anything. That leads to “splurges”.

Sample Household Budget Percentages

Here’s a sample budget based on income based on a $60,000 household income (This is also roughly the median household income in the United States) :

Total income for a month (after taxes): $4,000

Budget Percentages:

Giving- $400

Savings- $400

Food- $400

Housing- $1,040

Utilities- $200

Clothing- $160

Transportation- $400

Medical- $200

Insurance- $400

Recreation- $200

Personal- $200

When creating your own budget, you can tailor it to fit your own family and specific needs so feel free to change it up as you go.

The goal of having budget percentages is so that you can make sure you aren’t spending more than you are earning, keep track of your expenses, monitor them, and close out your budget every month.

Dave Ramsey budget percentages

The Dave Ramsey recommended budget percentages are a simple yet effective way of coming up with your budget plan. If you are new to all of this, you can try his method out.

Here is the Dave Ramsey budget breakdown:

Food – 5% to 15%

Charity – 10% to 15%

Savings – 10% to 15%

Housing – 25% to 35%

Clothing, transportation, insurance, & entertainment – 35%

Dave Ramsey’s recommended budgeting system involves an allocated spending plan. This means you would be allocating your expenses per pay period.

For example, if you are paid on the 15th and 30th of each month, you can then budget for the 1st until the 14th, and then from the 15th through the end of the month.

Other budgeting methods

Reverse budgeting method

The simple way of looking at this method is that you would first pay yourself, or allocate funds for the things that you need. After this, you can then spend whatever you want.

50/30/20 budgeting method

This means 50% of your income to your necessities, 30% on the things that you want, and 20% for your savings.

Tips on how to stick to your budget

Cash envelope system

When using our credit card or debit cards, it can get easy to keep on spending and not realize how much you are already shelling out. When you are using cash, since you can actually see the actual amount, you could be more aware of the amounts you are spending.

Put your budgeted cash in an envelope for those “fluid” expenses like groceries, meals, entertainment, and others. Once it is all gone, then that means you have closed out the budget for that certain category for that month.

Breakdown bills between checks

As much as possible, try to separate different expenses between your checks so that you can allocate certain funds to particular expenditures. In this way, you will stay within your budget.

Use Apps

There are some apps out there that you can use to track your income as well as your expenses. These are helpful since they are easy to use and you can conveniently plan your budget accordingly.

Tweaking your budget

It’s okay to change up your budget percentages until you find one that fits you and your family. You can also analyze your expenses and how you spend your money each month in order to determine the necessary changes that you need to do to improve your financial plan and budget.

Benefits of household budget percentages

Optimize your expenses

In order to gain financial freedom and make the most out of your income, creating household budget percentages can be really helpful. It’s also a step closer to getting free from your debts and building your wealth.

Guidelines

Having set budget percentages can guide you in creating your own budget plan and customizing it according to your lifestyle, family, and certain needs. If you have focus and direction, you will be able to plan your finances well.

What factors determine your household budget percentages?

Income

Of course, this is a big factor in determining how much you’ll be spending per category. The most essential thing to remember is not to spend more than you make.

People in your household

The more members there are in your family, the more expenses you would have and the bigger percentages you would have to allocate. This impacts categories like food and clothing more than consistent bills like utilities. 

Where you live

This all depends on the cost of living. If you live in an area that has a high cost of living (and your income doesn’t correspond to this), you might have a hard time making an ideal budget for your household.

If you are living in a lost cost area, you would reach financial freedom faster and build your wealth quicker.

Stage of life

Depending on where you are in your life right now- single, married with no kids, married with lots of kids, – it will dictate how much you would be spending per category.

Debts

This is an important factor that would determine if you can stick to your budget and plan for your future. The best thing to do is to get out of debt as quickly as possible so you can finally do what you want with your hard earned money.

Debt

If you have debt, what you can do is find money and create a budget in order to pay your debts as quickly as possible. If you have any unnecessary expenses, try to cut them out so you can use that money for paying off your debts.

You can also try to do the debt snowball method. This is when you pay your debts starting from the smallest to the largest. Pay a minimum for all your debts but try to pay the most you can for the smallest one.

When the smallest one is finally paid off, you can then start to pay off the next one and continue to do this until all your debts would be paid in full.

Conclusion

When you create a budget for your family, you should keep in mind what works the best for your household. Different factors may affect how you make your family budget planning. This can be due to the size of your family, where you live, or what your financial goals are. The key is to not have expenses that exceed your income.

Are these examples similar to your household budgeting percentages?

FREE BUDGET TEMPLATES

Ready to create your budget? Download our free printable budget templates below!

McKinzie Bean
McKinzie is a mom of two, and a personal finance enthusiast. She loves teaching other moms how to save money, make money, and take control of their financial situation. She has started five profitable businesses and in college, she double-majored in Financial Planning and Psychology. You may have seen her in publications like Forbes, The US Chamber of Commerce, Yahoo Finance, Money.com, The Penny Hoarder, & more.

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