Are You Living Below Your Means?

If you take the time to create a budget, you can quickly find out if you are living below your means.

Are You Living Below Your Means

Are You Living Below Your Means?

There are guidelines that you can follow to check and see if you are overspending in certain areas.

I follow Dave Ramsey’s philosophy that you should budget every dollar so you know where all of your money is going.

When you create your budget, or if you have one already, check to see if your numbers fall within these guidelines:

  • Charity/Giving: 10-15%
  • Savings: 10-15%. This includes Retirement and College savings.
  • Food expenses includes Groceries and Restaurants and should fall between 5-15%.
  • Clothing expenses: 2-7%. This includes clothing purchases as well as dry cleaning and laundry services.
  • Housing expenses should be between 25-35%. Housing expenses includes mortgage payments, real estate taxes, repairs and homeowner association dues.
  • Transportation costs for gas, oil, auto repairs, taxes and registration fees should fall between 10-15%.
  • Utilities: 5-10%. This covers expenses such as phone, gas, water, sewer, electric, mobile phone, cable, internet and trash.
  • Medical and Health expenses: 5-10%. Of course this percentage can be adjusted depending on your needs.
  • Insurance: 10-25%. This includes renters, homeowner’s, auto, disability, health and life insurance.
  • Recreation expenses including vacation and entertainment should fall between 5-10%.
  • Personal expenses like personal spending money, hair care, babysitting, child support, alimony and whatever you feel should go into this category should not exceed 10%.
  • Debt payments should not exceed 10%. The ultimate goal is to have debt at 0%.

So if you can keep your budgeted items within these ranges, it is evident that you are living within or below your means.

If some of your categories are above the recommended guidelines, you now know which areas you need to concentrate on.

The goal is to ultimately have zero debt and reduce expenses in the other categories so you will be in a better position to give and save more.

Have you created a budget? How do you determine if you are living below your means?

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13 thoughts on “Are You Living Below Your Means?

  1. makeupandme says:

    Not sure if the previous comment went through but thanks for visiting! Just got onto the DR train and am working on BS0 &1. Love how clear and concise this post is!

  2. Beate says:

    Very helpful! I hope I posted it correctly to my blog. I am preparing to write about money management next week. I am still not finished writing about tragedies, depression and set backs.
    God bless you!

  3. Jackie Cameron says:

    I don’t think you’ve given enough budget for savings or food expenses. I guess your budget should be tweaked, depending on where you live. Here in the UK you’d need less money for medical (which is provided by the state), but food costs are exorbitant. Still interesting article Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • SimpLeigh Organized says:

      I would definitely say that you are correct in the fact that each person should tweak their budget to meet their specific needs. I guess if you needed more money for certain categories, you could decrease the amount you spend in other areas to balance it out. The goal is to budget every dollar so you know where it’s going. Thanks for your comment!

  4. healthfulsave says:

    Can’t live without the budget! Ours is in an spreadsheet so we can both access it. We track our expenses out 12 weeks, and on a separate tab, savings. The budget is also where we “fund” expenses like back-to-school needs, summer classes for child, holiday gifts. If you don’t have a written plan, it’s really hard to know where you stand.

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