What Percentage of Income Should I Budget for ________?

Brent Pittman —  01/11/2012 — 2 Comments

Photo by Duncan

Are you weird in your spending? Are you outside the box of normal? How do you know?

It’s generally ok to be spending less than others unless its for savings or retirement. What we worry about is if we’re spending too much money in certain categories. We could all use some budgeting tips right?

Thanks to some smart nerds (have you ever met a dumb nerd) we’ve got charts that show how much you should be budgetting for certain categories. Of course if you’re super rich or live in relative poverty, these percentages will be off.

Keep in mind that if you are a little higher or little lower in certain categories, it’s o.k. Don’t freak out. Take a hard look at your situation and your budget to see if any adjustments need to be made. If you’d like a second opinion, I’d also be happy to take a quick look.

Obviously you can’t spend on the higher % end for all categories or you’ll be in major trouble. It is also recommended that you don’t try to save for retirement and pay off debt at the same time. Focus will have a powerful affect.

Recommended Percentages for Household Spending

Budget Category Percentage
Charitable Giving 10-15%
Savings 10-15%
Retirement 10-15%
Mortgage or Rent 25-35%
Food 5-15%
Utilities 5-10%
Clothing 2-5%
Transportation 10-15%
Health and Medical 5-10%
Recreation 5-10%
Personal Expenses 5-10%
Debt 5-10%
Mad Money 2-5%


Action: Examine at your budget and calculate the percentages you are spending in major categories. Determine  if any adjustments need to be made. Comments are welcome below.

[This is part of my How to Budget Like a Pro blog series]

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.