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What Percentage of Our Income Goes to Each Category in Our Budget…

April 11, 2011

There are a lot of items in the news/blogs about how much of your budget should be dedicated to housing, car payments, food, etc. I’m not sure our percentages are “right”, but we’ve tried to keep everything realistic and balanced. I thought you might be interested to see what our family’s percentages are. I wouldn’t get too caught up in comparing our numbers to yours because:

1. Our families are different (in size)

2. We live in different areas (cost of living is different)

3. Our feelings about money are probably different (you may be more conservative/liberal than we are)

I spent a lot of time before we decided whether we could buy or build a house determining what the “experts” say about how much people should spend in each category. I know Dave Ramsey is pretty conservative, and so am I. So, I was very interested in seeing what he thought.

Dave Ramsey suggests the following amounts:

Charitable gifts 10-15%

Saving 5-10%

Housing 25-35%

Utilities 5-10%

Food 5-15%

Transportation 10-15%

Clothing 2-7%

Medical/Health 5-10%

Personal 5-10%

Recreation 5-10%

Debts 5-10%

I used Mint to see what we had:

Mortgage: 24.5% (this includes principle, interest, taxes and insurance) We’re on the low end here, which makes me happy!

Miscellaneous: 19.0%

Groceries: 16.3% (includes all food, including eating out) We’re a little high on “food”, but we’re also feeding 7 people…so maybe this could use a little work.

Gasoline: 8.2%

Utilities: 11.4 % (this includes phone, power, gas, etc.) We’re a bit high on utilities, but I’m not sure what Dave includes in Utilities.

Piano Lessons/Gymnastics: 4.6% (this is covering 3 children who are currently participating. Seasonal sports comes out of “miscellaneous”)

Tithing/Fast Offerings: tithing is 10% and fast offerings is personal (we pay tithing before other bills, and fast offerings on the first of every month)

Keep in mind, these figures only measure the percentage of our monthly budget each category eats up. It doesn’t measure what percentage of income each category eats up. I purposely budget less money than we make each month. Also, we save money right off the top, which I don’t even count in our Net Income. A certain percentage of our paycheck is automatically deposited in our savings account, before we ever see it. Also, since we’re budgeting less than we make, a small percentage of our income just sits in our checking account, slowly adding up to a small amount that I’ll move to savings when I get around to it (about once a year).

You ought to take a minute and see where you are at, compared to suggestions. If you realize that you are spending a ton more on food than is suggested, you should look at how often you eat out. If you spend a ton more on gas, look at public transportation. If you don’t spend anything close to the suggested on entertainment, live a little, or make sure you put it into savings. Try Dave’s site. Or try the Washington Post’s. Or try this site from

4 Comments leave one →
  1. David Mickelson permalink
    April 11, 2011 8:38 pm

    We spend 125% of our budget on housing…

    • April 11, 2011 8:56 pm

      Luckily you’re on the road to making 137% of last year’s wages…


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