Institute of Consumer
Financial Education
Institute of Consumer
Financial Education

Rising Housing and Energy Costs Require New Budget and Expense Guidelines

Suggested Budget and Expense Guidelines (for Californians) and others in high rent, high energy cost cities nationwide.

Net Income: $1000 per month
Category % Of Income Dollar Amount
Housing 70-85% $700-850 per month
Utilities 10-15% $100-150 per month
Food 5-20% $50-200 per month
All Other
Net Income: $1250 per month
Category % Of Income Dollar Amount
Housing 56-68% $700-850 per month
Utilities 8-12% $100-150 per month
Food 15-20% $187-250 per month
All Other 5-6% $50-75 per month
Net Income: $1500 per month
Category % Of Income Dollar Amount
Housing 47-56% $700-850 per month
Utilities 7-10% $100-150 per month
Food 15-20% $225-300 per month
Auto/Bus 10-20% $150-300 per month
Savings 10% $150 per month
All Other 2-11% $30-165 per month
Net Income: $1750 per month
Category % Of Income Dollar Amount
Housing 40-48% $700-850 per month
Utilities 6-12% $100-150 per month
Food 15-20% $262-350 per month
Auto/Bus 10-20% $175-350 per month
Savings 10% $175 per month
Personal 5-10% $87-175 per month
Clothing 3-6% $52-104 per month
All Other 5-15% $87-262 per month
Net Income: $2000 per month
Category % Of Income Dollar Amount
Housing 40-47% $800-950 per month
Utilities 6-9% $125-180 per month
Food 5-20% $300-400 per month
Auto/Bus 10-20% $200-400 per month
Savings 10-15% $200-300 per month
Personal 5-10% $100-200 per month
Clothing 3-6% $60-120 per month
Medical 3-12% $60-240 per month
Debt Payments 4-18% $80-360 per month
All Other 2% $40 per month
Net Income: $2500 per month
Category % Of Income Dollar Amount
Housing 32-38% $800-950 per month
Utilities 5-10% $125-250 per month
Food 5-20% $375-500 per month
Auto/Bus 10-20% $250-500 per month
Savings 10-15% $250-375 per month
Personal 5-10% $125-250 per month
Clothing 3-6% $75-150 per month
Medical 3-12% $75-$300 per month
Debt Payments 5-20% $125-$500 per month
All Other 4-6% $100-150 per month
Categories
Housing Mortgages, rent, property taxes, repairs & improvements.
Utilities Electric, gas, water, telephone, trash removal.
Food All food items, pet needs, and meals out.
Auto/Bus Lease/purchase and installment payments, gas & oil, repairs, insurance and parking. The IRS guidelines allow $700 per month for a car in CA, while public transportation cost average $265.
Savings Investments
Personal Cable TV, postage, cosmetics, haircuts, club dues, tobacco, etc.
Clothing All clothing purchases, shoes and alterations.
Medical Insurance, prescriptions, doctor and dental expenses.
Debt Payments Credit & charge cards, personal loans, student loans, other debt payments.