Budget for a Family of 5

by Chris Newton ; Updated July 27, 2017
Budgeting helps you save for special occasions that your entire family can enjoy together.

Budgeting is important for any family to help it pay all its expenses, save and invest money and have some money for entertainment. A budget helps you track where your money is going, and make adjustments where they are necessary. Families of five must have a budget to ensure all family members have the basic essentials like food and clothing, and that the family manages all housing, utility, food and other expenses wisely. Families of five must often make each dollar stretch a little farther than smaller families.


Housing is typically your largest expense, and is an important one, as it gives your family a place to live. Your housing costs should be between 25 and 33 percent of your total budget, including utilities. If your housing expenses are more than that, you might be struggling in other areas, and should consider increasing income with a part-time job, or doing your best to reduce housing expenses by refinancing, making an effort to keep utilities costs down or even moving.


Savings is another important item in a budget for a family of five. Putting money away each month allows you to save for your kids' education, your retirement and any other purchases your family needs down the road. It also provides a sense of security that if you lose your job or have a large, unexpected expense arise, you have money set aside to help pay for your daily expenses while you recover. Your savings and investment money should be between 5 and 10 percent of your total budget.

Necessary Expenses

There are several other necessary expenses you must include in your budget. Food, including groceries and dining out, should be between 15 and 20 percent of your budget. This is an expense you can control if you are overspending; avoid meals out and buy less-expensive and generic groceries to cut food costs. Clothing is also important for a family of five, and should encompass about 5 to 10 percent of your budget. Transportation costs, such as car payments, insurance and gas, should be between 10 to 15 percent. A family of five might be on the higher end of this range, especially if you have two cars and kids in sports and other activities. Medical costs, such as doctor appointments and medicine, should be about 5 percent of your budget.

Other Budget Items

Families of five likely have several other items that need to be acknowledged in the budget. Insurance costs for the family should be between 2 and 10 percent, depending on how much your employer covers. If you owe money to credit cards or have other debt, you should allocate about 15 to 20 percent of your budget towards paying down that debt. The money might need to come from other categories, but once the debt is paid, you can disperse that 15 or 20 percent back into a number of other budget items. Finally, it is important for a family of five to allocate some money, at least 5 percent, towards entertainment and fun, like a family vacation. You work hard to earn a living and raise your family, and you should use some of your money to spend time with your family doing something you all enjoy.

About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.

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