How Much Money You Should Spend on Living Expenses - Budgeting Guidelines for Income
Develop your budget with the money you have available after government deductions from your pay cheque, but before voluntary deductions (e.g. RRSPs, pensions or other savings).
If you have expenses such as high debt payments, childcare, school expenses or giving, you will need to reduce your spending in other areas to accommodate these higher expenses.
This guideline is only a starting point. Based on your income and family circumstances, your allocations may be very different.
Breakdown of Budgeting Categories
- Housing: 35%
mortgage / taxes / strata / rent/ insurance / hydro
- Utilities: 5%
phone / cell phone / gas / cable / internet
- Food: 10 – 20%
groceries / personal care / baby needs
- Transportation: 15 – 20%
bus / taxi / fuel / insurance / maintenance / parking
- Clothing: 3 – 5%
for all members of the family
- Medical: 3%
health care premiums / specialists / over-the-counter
- Personal & Discretionary: 5 – 10%
entertainment / recreation / tobacco/alcohol / eating out / gaming / hair cuts / hobbies
- Savings: 5 – 10%
Plan to save money for expenses that don’t occur every month, as well as for your future. Then you’ll have a little extra available when you need it.
- Debt Payments: 5 – 15%
Many people find that their budget is quite tight because their monthly debt payments are closer to 25% of their net income.
How to Create a Budget With Irregular or Fluctuating Income
If your income fluctuates, creating a budget with irregular income can be hard. However, focus on planning your spending so that as your income goes up and down, your spending doesn't have to. Three ways to create a personal budget plan with irregular income are...(read more)
* The list of guidelines is available as a PDF download for offline reading and sharing.