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