How much should I be spending?

How much should I be spending? Written by Shekinah Ade-Gold on behalf of Budget Leaf

There are different things that we all spend our money on. Just as we are each unique in our own ways, so are things that we consider important when we allocate our expenditure. We know that the main divisions in budgeting are for needs, savings and wants – but what exactly can these categories entail?


Your needs can include rent, mortgage payments, property taxes, or home maintenance. You might be paying for homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, your security service, and will have to set aside some money for the gardener to take care of your lawn and/or garden. Living somewhere will definitely require payments for utilities such as electricity, cooking gas, water, sanitization, phone service, internet and cable so these must also be considered. Grooming is a necessary expectation for living and working in any community, so expenses for haircuts and various cosmetic choices will always be budgeted for.

You may have to deal with car payments, car insurance, vehicle registration/fitness, vehicle maintenance, and even pay for parking in certain areas. Of course, having a vehicle will also require you to pay for gas and oil/coolant to keep the machinery going. For those who take public transportation, fare will also have to be considered.

Your health is paramount, and this will be noted in terms of payments for health insurance, different kinds of medical and dental visits, prescriptions, disability insurance, life insurance and long-term care insurance. Going to the supermarket for food items will be important as well.

If you have a child, you will potentially be looking at tuition, health costs, hiring a babysitter, daycare, extra-curricular activities and school supplies.


Your savings budget can be expanded to include your investment and debt payment requirements. This covers your emergency fund, tax payments, investment contributions (such as with real estate) and credit card debt payments. Different loans that you may have taken from financial institutions can also be factored into the equation. Of course, it has come to be expected that the banks will have their own fees as well.


Your wants cover the fun part of your budgeting plan. You may feel like going to restaurants,

bars and coffee shops. You may apply for a gym membership, and purchase clothing, electronics,

subscriptions or gift items for special occasions. Sporting and entertainment events are often

well-attended, and books, games, music and movies are purchased/streamed depending on your

artistic tastes. Traveling is a major part of expenditure when analyzing the costs of airfare,

hotels, rental cars and/or taxis; these costs help to make the trip a more pleasant experience.

If you have pets, then vet visits, grooming, food and toys have to be thought of. You might even consider donating to charity.

Your Budget Is Your Choice

These are just examples of the ways in which income can be split between the budgetary

divisions that one uses in order to prioritize expenditure. Once you have decided what your

absolute necessities are and which things you can (possibly) do without, you will find that the act

of controlling your spending will become a much easier habit with time and practice.

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