Monthly budget examples of average household expenses can help you find chances to save more money. These examples give you something to go on rather than what your family spends. Or what your parents spent when you were growing up.
Times change and location matters too. Looking at these budget examples will go a long way toward cutting out redundant costs, overspending, and allow you to put more savings aside for the future.
Necessities in a Budget
Cutting out food, shelter, and clothing is impossible for anyone’s budget. If you accomplish the impossible, let the rest of us know! Rent and mortgage payments are part of life, just like cereal and bread. And the clothing budget has to be stitched in for each season and every member of the family. Especially if some of those members are growing like weeds.
Let’s start with groceries. The average grocery bill for an American came to:
● $4,942 per year
● $411 monthly
● $13.53 daily
Thirteen dollars per day sounds reasonable. The yearly total in that budget example is a bit more eye-opening. Especially when you think of all the food we waste and unhealthy options that can cost us in the long run due to health issues.
Rent and Mortgage Average Costs
Now for the average rent in the typical American’s budget:
● $1,789 monthly
● $21,468 per year
● About $60 per day
It’s 2022 and renting is a big concern on two different fronts. Many have begun promoting their belief that renting gives you more freedom to move about. Others are concerned with hedge funds buying up residential real estate then renting to families.
So how do monthly budget examples line up between rent and mortgage payments? Look at the breakdown for mortgage averages below:
● $1,487 monthly ($302 less than avg. rent)
● $17,844 per year
● Roughly $49 a day
$302 saved versus renting is a crucial number. Plus the total rent amount is wealth that could stay with you, invested in your home - also known as real estate investing. Seeing the monthly breakdown and yearly totals show just how important it is to build solid credit and look to homeownership as one piece of your financial plan.
A quick look at clothing costs shows Americans spend:
● $1,434 per year
● $119.50 per month
● $3.92 per day
Buying young children’s clothes will make those average budget totals grow like a ninth-grade linebacker as some of you know!
Utilities and Extras in the Home
After the basics are covered, utilities come in right beside those. You have to have power to heat and cool the home along with add-ons that make the house into a home. Like cable and landscaping to make things more enjoyable.
The average cost of utilities was shown to be:
● $4,158 each year
● $346.50 monthly
● Just over $11 daily
The totals could include electricity along with gas services for heating and cooling as they were not separated in the data from Gobankingrates. One way to save on the power bill is to keep the temp set at 78 degrees in summer and 68 in winter. Experts claim you can lower the utility costs by as much as 15 percent. That’s $623 yearly that could be put into savings and invested.
Plus with apps, you can change settings on the go even if you forget to adjust the thermostat when you’re at work or on a vacation.
Lifestyle-type Home Budget Expenses
Fido and Tom Cat cost Americans on average about $690 per year. Pets are wonderful additions to the family and well worth it. Here’s the breakdown monthly and weekly:
$57.50 per month
$13.26 per week
Aging pets often cost more as they develop injuries and other health issues. Yes, just like us. And many studies show the health benefits to humans that come from having a pet. One Harvard study found that dogs helped their owners make friends and find social support which improves our mental health.
Modern Phone Line Budget Line
Most Americans abandoned landlines a while ago and use their mobile phone at home as well as on the go. And a family of four smartphones is a major cost compared to families all using a single landline back in the day. These family plans now can cost $200 per month and more depending on add-ons.
*Americans aged 25-64, paid $114 a month on average for cell phone service in 2018 (moneysavingpro.com)
One reason cell service is so costly? Upgrading to the newest smartphone. Service providers make it easy but expensive to roll most of the cost of an upgraded phone into the monthly bill. Which adds up to $1,368 annually, based on the average for a single line listed above. Just cutting that total back 20 percent leaves $273 available for emergency funds or yearly investing.
By the way, this same data set lists the average American retirement account contribution at $6,760 per year. As you can see with budget expense examples already noted and more coming, retirement funding could get increased by redirecting some other funds!
Money can get away from us. Probably due to being on the go with busy lives. The biggest cost of mobility is, you guessed it, car ownership. Here’s the breakdown (no pun intended, keep that oil changed):
● The average annual cost related to transportation was $9,049 in 2016
● That’s $754 per month
● $25 daily
A more detailed look at personal automobile budget costs is worth a look as well. Because finding savings and preventing wasteful spending is a detailed process.
● Vehicle maintenance / repairs $879 yearly ($73 monthly)
● Car insurance $1,575 yearly ($131 monthly)
● Gas $1,568 yearly ($130 monthly)
There are major costs with transportation but that also means there are opportunities to cut costs. Shopping for better deals on insurance is one smart move. Also, you can usually save on premiums if you pay for the entire year instead of monthly. Buying pre-owned can save money versus new. As can being informed about which vehicles hold their value longer.
Dining Out Costs
This category of the budget will affect another category down below. So keep that in mind.
Dining out means fast food, DoorDash, or sit-down restaurants. Even a sandwich at the local deli for lunch. A wide range of pricing and it’s dependent on where you eat. And these dining costs are usually lower if you spend more on groceries and have time to cook.
● Dining out costs $2,375 yearly
● $197.91 a month
● About $45 weekly
● $6.52 daily
It’s not hard to imagine that yearly cost being cut in half. You would only have to curb your dining out by half. Make it a point to bring lunch to work three or four days a week. Or use an envelope system with a strict amount you can only spend at cafes each week. Saving roughly $1,200 a year is nothing to sneeze at. Especially without a major sacrifice.
High Costs of Health
There’s nothing more valuable than our health. What we eat makes a big impact on that. So where we dine out impacts us for years to come. What we cook at home as well. Exercise plays a role, as does how much we socialize. We’ll look at the realm of fitness first, then totals for health insurance.
Health / Fitness runs $1,860 annually, on average. Lots of ways to reduce that but if a gym gets you motivated versus working out at home, then your health is worth the added cost.
Now for health insurance. It’s not a small bill as you all know:
● $3,667 per year
● $305 monthly
● $10 a day
*For a decade of coverage, nearly $37,000 (if premiums never go up, which is not reality)
Extra Example Budget Expenses
The average expenses for Americans we covered above, well, there are ways to reduce those. Not easy but savings are available. But the final expenses we will look at now can definitely be reduced or cut to zero if you were getting serious about saving for retirement.
Let's start with an American classic, coffee. Starbucks and Dunkin get invested in by loyal fans in more than one way. And it is more costly than making that java at home. Skipping $4 coffees won’t make you rich but learning to not overpay for things can sure help.
What do Americans spend on coffee per year, regardless of where it gets brewed? $2,130 according to this data set. That is a pretty high number for caffeine, when longer sleep is totally free!
Other random yearly budget expenses we found interesting were:
● Miscellaneous - pretty vague, so some savings are possible there $907
● Charity $2,203
● Holiday gifts $648
● Holiday food / decor $231
● Alcohol $478
● Tobacco $337
● Credit card interest $1,530
● Bank fees $329
Savings to be Investigated
If you feel blown away by all the costs that come with just living a normal life in America, don’t be. Rather, see all the budget categories as opportunities to dissect your spending so you can increase savings by cutting back where you can.
And apparently Americans have plenty of cut-back chances since we spend at least $18,000 per year on non-essential items. What’s essential to one family is not so vital to another family though. So keep that in mind as you go through your personal budget.
Plus, a family budget is a combined effort between the heads of the household. And together with the right information and a look toward the future, there are places to save money. A dollar saved today may not excite you. But a dollar saved then compounded over thousands of days should interest you much more.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or strategies may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.