Are you having trouble making a budget? It’s really not that difficult! Here’s a simple sample family budget for you to follow as you make yours!
Here is a sample monthly family budget. It was our actual monthly budget for 2006. It was based on a total after-tax income of $2486.00 per month. At the time, we lived in Wichita, Kansas, and owned our home, a 1600 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 2 bath bi-level on 1/2 acre with a mortgage.
We’re sharing this sample family budget so you can get an idea about how to structure a budget and how to determine what level of detail and what kinds of categories to include. Since this budget was from 2006, the costs may not be the same now. The point is to use this sample family budget as an example of how to identify your own income and your total expenses and then make a budget where your expenses are less than your income.
Why A Family Budget Can Be Useful
It is important to make sure you don’t spend more than you earn, so when you subtract the expenses from the income, the budget MUST work out with a net positive, which means that the TOTAL income – total expenses is a positive number.
If you want to improve your family’s financial situation, you should make sure that the income is as high as possible above your expenses. You should look carefully at your expenses to see if there are any expenses you don’t really need so you are not spending money on pointless things that are preventing you from getting ahead. Most people at all income levels spend a lot more than they need to, so unless you have more money than you will ever need, I encourage you to carefully evaluate expenses.
A Family Budget Is Only A Guide
Think of budgeting as a loose plan and be prepared to re-evaluate it every so often. Often times someone will budget a large amount for something, like $800 a month for groceries, when they really don’t need that much. If you realize you can spend less on groceries, don’t feel like you have to spend what you budgeted. Instead, save the extra money you didn’t spend and consider changing the budget later to be more realistic.
On the other hand, if an expense is consistently higher than you budgeted, adjust the budget to account for that. If car repairs are always higher than your budget, adjust the budget to compensate. If you have an emergency of some kind come up and then the next month another unexpected cost comes up, consider adding a budget item for unexpected expenses since you can predict that something unexpected usually comes up.
If you have a very low income, you must still be able to fit all of your expenses within the income that you have. You will just have to decide which items are really needs and which ones are just wants.
As you move forward, it is also helpful to consider how you can increase your income, not just cut your expenses. Cutting wasteful spending that is not leading you to where you want to be financially is important, but even if you’re very frugal, there is only so much you can cut. Thinking of ways to increase your income is equally as important.
Why I Don’t Budget Anymore
I am sharing this sample family budget with you so you can see how to keep track of your spending and plan ahead so you don’t spend too much, but I don’t actually use a budget anymore. Over the years, I trained myself to spend less whenever possible even if we could afford to spend more. For this reason, our expenses are always a lot less than our income.
Most budget systems fail because people are too rigid with them. For example, some people use an envelope system and keep food money in one envelope, car repair money in another envelope and so on. While this might help if you really have no self-control with regard to your spending, it can cause other problems. For example, many people will buy the groceries they need and when there is $200 extra in that envelope, they will spend all of the extra money that is in that envelope because it is there, even when they don’t need to. Our desire is for you to grow more prosperous, so don’t spend more than you need to spend!
A couple of notes about this sample family budget:
- Our credit card debt was at 0% interest. We had to buy a “new to us” used car and our son had medical problems when he was born. Those were put on the card to save interest that the hospital and doctors would have charged.
- All eating out was included in the Social-Entertainment category.
- Our grocery budget included food only. Our food budget was for two adults and 3 children, 8,7 and 3. I buy almost everything at one store and stock up buying only sale items from other stores. I can get paper goods cheaper at Wal-Mart than the grocery store, so I buy them there.
- At the time of this budget, we did not have medical insurance, which we estimated would cost $400 a month. (Note that there was $400 available in the budget for that expense.)
Here’s Our Sample Family Budget:
Monthly Budget (from 2006)
|Tithe (church donation)||$300.00|
|Mortgage (Includes taxes and insurance. Also includes an extra $30 every month toward principal.)||$855.00|
|Sewer, water, and trash||$30.50|
|Electric and natural gas (on the high side)||$200.00|
|Gas for car||$120.00|
|Credit cards (car payment and medical)||$100.00|
|Internet (The book pays for it.)||$00.00|
|Uncovered Medical Expenses||$75.00|
|Wal-Mart (includes all paper goods, some clothes, soap etc.)||$125.00|
|Clothes (mostly from yard sales and thrift stores)||$30.00|
|Car repairs and tags||$75.00|
|Haircuts (Tawra and Elly)||$20.00|
|Social and entertainment||$30.00|
|Net (Income Minus Expenses)||$414.50|
More Budget Resources
For more easy budgeting resources like this sample family budget, check out some of our other posts:
- How to Make A Budget And Easy Downloadable Budget Forms.
- Easier Budgeting – Don’t Make It So Complicated!
- How To Stick To A Budget
- Budget Tips For Married Couples – How To Work Together With Your Spouse About Money
Thank you for posting your budget! It is very helpful to see your actual expenses. Does your budget now look the same or similar?
I had just a few questions. How do you pay for home improvements and repairs? Do you and Mike have any personal spending money? How do you pay for your garage sale purchases? What about kids activities?
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
Betsy their budget is pretty much the same now. Some things have gone up but others have gone down. Tawra and Mike don’t take any personal money like an allowance or anything. If they need something it is included in with the Wal Mart money. They also use Christmas money or birthday money to buy things with if they don’t need it for bills. They try to keep about $2000 in savings for home improvements and use things like tax returns or extra money like rebates etc. for that. Kids activities well they aren’t in many and usually are limited to one. Most of the activities their kids are in aren’t expensive. If the kids want to be in more they have to pay for it themselves. Garage sale purchases comes from her regular shopping money (like the Wal Mart money) or birthday money.
this budget was so haelpful to my social studies s.b.a
thts a lot of money
My biggest “WOW!!!” was 250-300/month on food. Our grocery budget for a family of 4 (my husband, myself, 7 y/o and 3 y/o) is about $700/month. Granted, that includes what would be covered in their wal-mart budget as well (things like light bulbs, paper towels, OTC medicine, etc…), so adding them together, it’s $425. How???? I buy generic mostly, unfortunately I don’t have the freezer space to buy a lot in bulk, and I’ll use coupons on non-generic items when I can, but I don’t get a huge savings from it ($50/month on average).
Can you repost your sample budgets that were on your previous website? Also what does your budget look like for 2013?
Right now we don’t have a “set” budget. We just pay all our bills first and then spend what’s leftover. That may sound like I’m contradicting myself but in reality we pretty much have it memorized so we just do it that way.
Some of our expenses right now are:
food- $500-$600 (I’m buying special foods for my special diet in this too)
car- $450 including gas and insurance
medical – $700-$1000 ($475 insurance and then special things I’m trying to help me feel better)
This is just a few of the things but you can get an idea.
***** HAY JILL i was wondering do you have a post on portion control , what does your budget look like now with the kids at home
I do have this is one of the main ones on portion control I did and I touch on it in several other places. This one hopefully will help and if you need more just type in portion control in the search on the main page. Right now I spend about $50-$60 a month or so. It varies for example I spent $36 this past week but I was stock piling on baking items for the next few months and I got 2 wks worth too. I actually spend more with the kids gone because I have no debt and I only have one person to feed and I don’t need to be as tight with my money.
I LIKE THIS FAMILY BUDGET. IT GAVE ME THE IDEA HOW TO USE MY INCOME IN DAILY EXPANCES
Oooh!! Save $20/month by cutting your girls’ hair yourself. :-) And good job at paying extra on your mortgage to get that principal down. :-)
Wow. I feel shame at how much waste my family has compared to this budget. It’s definitely a “goal” but I’m going to try to move us in that direction.
I love your wal-mart category. And, I honor you and your family for keeping Tithes. Another place, I am ashamed to admit I let slip. May you prosper emotionally and financially in 2016. Your guidance is so very valued.
I always found that if I skip paying tithes the money I thought I was saving would somehow “grow wings and fly away”. When I was obedient and paid it even when I thought I couldn’t afford it, God blessed us in many ways. I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s not! But now we are in a position to bless others financially once in a while. That’s the best feeling ever!
Isn’t that so true Reta. It is hard to explain sometimes to others how much tithing can bless us and not always with more money (although it always seems to work out) but in other ways.
One important thing missing- savings. I don’t know if they have having retirement savings taken out of their paychecks. They need a savings to build an emergency fund.
You have quite a bit of money I live on $800 a month Social security
How many are in your family Barb? They have 7 people. I am on Social Security too and only have a bit over $700. I live by myself now but when I had kids at home I lived on only about $500.
i just started to occasionally watch this live and am i little confused. sometimes i see her “mom” cook. do they all live together and pool their money? or is it just mom,dad and three kids? what about her niece staying with them?? also they show nothing in the income about the book they sell or other products she talks about. her food bill is really not out of line if you only by non prepared items and make everything yourself.
Not sure I totally understand what you are asking but will try to answer. The family dynamics are Tawra and Mike- they have 4 kids and the guardianship of their niece (who lived with them but is now in collage and not there much) and they live in Colorado.They live off of Mike’s income which comes from the book sells and everything connected with it. That is all they have for an income. Just recently Tawra has been selling a small amount of soap on etsy but it is pretty much just a hobby right now.
I am Jill Tawra’s mom and the kids grandma and I live in Kansas. We don’t pool our money. I live alone on my Social Security and that is all. I am on some of the videos because we tape them when I go back there or here at my house.
As far as her food bill she does not buy only non prepared items. By that I am assuming you mean food not prepared from scratch. She does not prepare any more that the average person does things from scratch. What people don’t always understand is that preparing everything from scratch does not mean it will be less expensive and in some cases things prepared from scratch cost a lot more. We teach that you really figure your prices and then decide is this cheaper to make myself or buy prepared and then buy the less expensive.
Bottom line is that they (and I too when my kids were home) live off of 1 income.
I was wondering how this women can get ssi and also her husbands check?
First of all she is not getting SSI she is getting disability – totally different things. She worked very hard for many many years from the age of 14 on and they took out part of her check each month to pay for disability so when she did get sick before they were married she was able to draw from that. SSI is something different and I don’t have room here to go into the details to explain it all. Plus you will notice it is only $300 plus people who get SSI often get way more than that.
So, in that short of time she was able to get all her points in from work to qualify for disability?? I have a friend that because she did not get enough points in she would not get any money. She would have to divorce her husband to get it because they were going by how much he was earning at his job.Also at the time he was both employed and self employed. Now, my son is on disability and did not need points because he was a minor but we had to report our income to social security till he was 18. Then they would decide how much he got that month. Most times he barely got a check. But, we were very thankful for just the medical.
If you are meaning Tawra Marie she started working when she was 15 and by the time she was 18 she had enough points from her work.
Thank you so much Tawra and Jill for all you do, for the advice you so freely give and for helping so many of us with great ideas on prepping, cooking, money management and more. I really enjoy you on YouTube. You are often so encouraging during these difficult times, for sure. So much appreciated!! God bless you both and your families. xoxo
Thank you Nilda. We have the most amazing viewers and I don’t know if you guys realize how much of an encouragement you all are to us too. Things are getting a little more rocky now and even though we have not meant you all in person it feels so good to have like minded friends to talk too and share things with.
I’m so glad that we encourage you guys too. It’s a team effort, right? We are connected. I’m also glad that you ladies are not alarmists, that you address the topics of concern firmly but calmly and with humor. You are realists but you don’t freak us out, LOL. I’m a Christian too, like you ladies are, Awesome!! God is our hope above all! Blessings from Florida!!
(Cat) Kathy Hankins
I have been enjoying watching your shows. I live on SSDI so I don’t do a budget.
Per say I pay rent first then sit down and subtract the rest. My electric bill is the only
Thing I do on a budget. And I do this my self and not through the electric company average program.
Anyways the highest my electric bill is 100 I get extra help. I will not let the credit get below 50.00 dollars so I have 50 credit will pay fifty. To kick it back up to 100. Next time I go with what ever credit I have left and pay the diff rents to kick back up. I try to keep a credit at my drug store. If I can . Oh I have back up groc for a little while Arkansas was getting extra food stamps so I bought extra groc at the time I even got a big trash can with a lid. And put my extra groc in there. I live In a apartment. Thank you for your shows.