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Real Life On A Budget

Let’s Break Down A Monthly Budget!

You know I love a good budget. So let’s have a little fun and break down what an average monthly budget might look like. I promise it will be fun! Stop laughing…I’m serious!

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  • Maria

    if i cant break down anymore bills can we break down where we are saving? to go towards debt? for example you have 290 in savings…or should we save no matter what?

    • Paige

      Hey Maria, When you’re paying debt you can apply that savings money towards debt as you should have your $1,000 emergency fund in place. Just make sure once you pay your debt off to start saving again!

      • Michael Henke

        Paige – Is saving the same as retirement?

  • Tami Matthews Troell

    Did I miss something on the percentages? I added all the above and came up with 82%. Where does the other 18% go?

    • Tiffany

      On the more detailed budget sheet from FPU they give a range in each category instead of just one percentage. For example, food is 5-10%.

  • Tracey

    There is $497 left…that isn’t a 0 based budget. Hopefully that means this family can buy more groceries…$145 would not feed my family.

    • Tu00fcnde Clark

      Yeah on average we spend about $700 a month we are a family of 4

    • Adam Moore

      What confused me is that she seems to be talking about a family budget but the $145 for food seems to only be enough to feed a young skinny lady for a month, lol. I have a family of 5 with two teenagers. We budget $200 per week for groceries. That number does not work with her budget.

      • Chris

        For groceries, we do $300 per month for two adults and one (breastfeeding) infant. This works out just fine in South Carolina where we have a below-average cost of living. This happens to work out to about 5% of our take-home pay.

  • Adam S

    Here’s a link to the Cash Flow Budget from daveramsey.com http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/free-download-budget-form

  • Debbie

    I live in a mid-western rural community. Cost of living is considered reasonable here, and my utilities (electric, gas, water, and garbage) average 10% of my budget not 5%. How am I supposed to budget for phone or internet service?

    • Debbie

      5% on food?! Really?! What am I missing? We eat pbj, grilled cheese, tuna salad, eggs, pasta…how can I possibly lower my budget further?

    • Tiffany

      Call your companies and ask for options. We were able to get a TV package not advertised (although we’re now realizing we don’t really need TV so thinking of cutting it totally), I went back to a basic phone (no internet) because I always have access to a computer and I can handle old fashioned maps on the road – no GPS necessary. We stopped using the garbage cart and changed to bag tag service and started recycling – now we only spend about $40 every 3 months on trash instead of $45-50 every month, etc. You have to get crafty and realize that you don’t NEED everything you spend money on right now. You can do it!

    • lenny

      No kidding! Food, two teenagers in the house and yes phones, garbage service, gas for vehicles. I like the idea of percentages and a set amount each month but this would have to be tweaked for my familyl

  • Abby

    We live on MUCH less than that amount and the utilities are outrageous. We don’t have a place to “cut back” We don’t have a choice of who/how we do trash and other utilities etc. We don’t have any “extras” What are you expected to do when you have no place to cut back and hardly any debt and still cannot make it :*( I think this is great to make you think but it’s not realistic.

    • Been there…done that..

      Abby, this is just my two cents….but if you cannot cut back on anything (I am there with you!) the only other option is to increase your income. A better job or raise, or a 2nd job. My husband and I are at that place and are about to both get a 2nd job until we pay down our debt enough to have more money for a less tight budget. We wish you the best, whatever you decide to do!

  • TimThurman

    I watch most of your videos. One thing I do not know what to do with that I wish you or your dad would address is my income varies wildly, which makes budgeting much more difficult.

    • RichardHaralson

      He does address it. He calls it working a budget on a commission basis. You look back at your income history and decide on a either the average or low number. Then you build your budget from there. From that point, after your budget is built, you decide on what to do in the months you have a larger income. If you make an extra $100, $200… $1,000 where does that go? nIt can be pretty simple – just a bit more work. Get some bookkeeping software and you can monitor it by percentages, which is what I do in Quickbooks.

      • TimThurman

        Thank you, Richard. I like the idea of the low number. Going to try that. Thank you.

    • Tyler Place

      My husbands income changes but we know he will at minimum make 1600$ so thats how we design our budget but if he makes more we just add it to paying debt

  • Brandon

    Hey Rachel, good video. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone…but I think that housing and food are a bit off. Maybe it depends on location. We live in South Florida and our rent is $1,000 alone. That’s for two of us. Now I know that WE could find a cheaper place, but finding a cheaper place with a family or 4-5 would seem very difficult. And feeding a family of 4-5 on $145 a week seems difficult and you only have that for a month…that’s some serious couponing. Anyways, thanks for the video but I think I would forgo the clothing and entertainment for some more food and a better place to live. : )

    • Paula

      We feed our family of 7 around $150 a week. Meal planning is key.

    • Tyler Place

      Agree, its just my husband and i and we spend 300$ on groceries alone. That.s no eating out and sometimes we go over this. We own our house and our payemtn has always been between 500-700$ however we were tossing around the idea of selling and moving. we had the idea to rent for awhile but aparments in our area are 800-1200$. Id rather pay for a house.

  • Naomi

    I agree that 10% should be the tithe, but off of the Total Gross Income. Maybe you could clarify that? Not after taxes are taken from the paycheck. 🙂

    • Justin

      Naomi, there’s not a right or wrong answer, it shouldn’t be legalistic or stressful. Just give what’s on your heart. If it’s 10% of your net or gross doesn’t matter. It’s just the principal of giving and having a heart to give that counts! 🙂

    • Cassie Ogle

      We have always tithed off gross. “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and all that.

      I just looked at our pay stub and God gets 10% tithe, but Uncle Sam gets 4.61% (Federal Withholding and Medicare Tax only) or 10.53% (add Social Security in). Just for funsies, our employer insurances (Basic Life, medical, and dental) is 5.19% of gross…

  • Leila

    What about the cost of health insurance and medical??? Is that considered debt? And we spend way more than $145 for food for a family of 4. But thank you for bringing up the subject of budgets. Now I am going to look at my finances a little more closely.

    • Jolene

      That would come out of your paycheck, so your income would be lowered by the amount you pay out for medical insurance, dental and vision coverage.

  • jj

    You don’t need 3 months to get it right if you are good with numbers and keeping records of everything you spend on.

    • Michael Henke

      you do if you lose your job

  • lzw

    Lefty unite!!! 🙂 <3 budgetting!!

    • Emergency fund first. Replenishing that $1,000 is always first and foremost. Good news is, though, that if you are financially able to save for both that AND the car then that just means you’ll get that $1,000 built back up in no time and can get back to saving for a new car!

      • lzw

        Thanks, Rachel. 🙂 I guess I should explain that we didn’t DRAIN our emergency fund… just dipped into it. We still have enough for 4 months of expenses — just not the 6 months that we originally had. So, given that light, would you still recommend that we replenish the EF to the full 6 month level first? Or should we do that AND save up for the vehicle? Or can we just concentrate on the vehicle fund first?

  • Nancy

    I loved Than you for sharing

  • Michael Henke

    Is saving is different than retirement?

  • Ken

    Is my math off or do you only allocate 82% of income? Where does the other 18% get allocated?

  • Alison Diane Petro

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  • Suzan Petee

    Even in the nether regions of northern Michigan it is impossible to eat on 145 a month. Not to mention we have 3 growing children who play hard and have endless stomaches. I also wondered if the savings you budget is retirement or in addition to retirement.

  • Gary

    Great video and information especially for someone just starting out. Keep up the great work.

  • bob

    this is the most un realistic budget….

  • Althea Barnez

    Hi Rachel the average rule of thumb here in south fl most spend 50% of their income on housing that is how expensive it is to live here and for many it is very hard to locate a job let alone a second job, what do you recommend ?

  • LaUruguaSHa

    Oh how many times are they going to tell you that is not enough for food! ! ! ! Lmao is just % , an idea, help, for everyone is going to be different. nAnyways thank you and I’m trying my best with my hubby income being with tips is driving me crazy! nThank you!!!

  • Chantale

    For our family of four I allocate 150$/week for food and I break it down in categories to make my grocery planning easier. Here’s how I do it: n25$ for fruits and veggiesn25$ for my husband’s and son’s meat (we are two vegans and two omnivores)n15$ for breadn12$ for soy/almond milkn3$ for orange juicen6$ for eggsn15$ for cereal (oatmeal, rice, couscous)n10$ for condiments ( mustard, butter)n6$ for breakfast stuff ( pb/jam)n5$ for spicesn10$ for canned stuff (ex diced tomatoes, tomato paste)n8$ for dried beansn6$ for friday pizzan4$ taxesntotal 150$…..works awsome for us!!!!!

    • Eric Jensen

      awesome grocery budget! I’m definitely going to use this to the T. totally doable! Thanks!

  • Nancy

    As far as giving I am assuming that your teaching is that we are to tithe on net income vs. gross? Thanks for the great videos.

  • Elizabeth

    I love the base model you have shown here! I look forward to implementing and tweeking it to our family. I would love to see a budget model for military families when we have to move, for those who live in on-post housing and for those living in off-post housing. There are a lot of expenses that incur moving out and into a new place. There are also allowances given for certain things based on your branch, rank and where you are going. Those of us in the infant stages of working on our debt snowball might become overwhelmed with all these extra things going on. If this has already been discussed I would love a link or additional info.

  • Eveline

    This video is NOT HELPFULL its idiotic to give away 10% of ones income but only use 5% of it to eat. Thats bullshit and unrealistic in this economy. You need to create a budget that will help people especially since you dont include debt which AGAIN, IS NOT REALISTIC!!!

    • Stacey

      Eveline, I think you misunderstood the purpose of her video. It’s a model, you make up the numbers that fit your particular situation. Do you make exactly $2900/month? Probably not, so you adjust that number to what your income is, then you adjust your budget numbers based upon what you spend, on average, over the course of the month for debt, food, gas, water, electricity, etc. If you’re over or under, you will need to adjust your spending.

  • Paying off debts with higher-interest rates will benefit you more but
    paying the smaller-interest rate ones will kick-start the ‘snowball
    effect’ earlier.