Recommended Percentage of Salary for Food, Housing, Vehicle & Miscellaneous

by Aaron Marquis ; Updated July 27, 2017
Budgeting your monthly salary helps you to save for future needs.

Whether you are a single individual or the head of a multi-person household, budgeting is necessary to avoid spending money you do not have. If you have a predictable monthly income, you can choose the approximate percentage of your income that goes to various expenditures such as food, housing, vehicles and miscellaneous. Sticking to your budget helps to climb out of debt or save money for future big-ticket items.

Food

Your food expenditures for the month should make up about 10 percent to 15 percent of your monthly take-home pay. Food expenditures are typically classified as anything you purchase at the grocery store, including non-food items like toilet paper, toothpaste and other products. Consumers can save money on their food expenditures by taking advantage of coupons and lower-priced non-edible items. Saving money with lower-quality food is not recommended. Food expenditure percentages typically do not include money spent on restaurants or dining out.

Housing

The housing allowance of your budget should be about 30 percent or less of your monthly salary. Housing includes money spent on repairs, upkeep and utilities, in addition to the monthly amount you pay to live in the home. For example, if your net monthly salary--the money left after taxes are taken out--is $2,000, you would spend $600 or less per month on your home. Cable and Internet are not taken into account for your monthly housing costs.

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Vehicle

The amount of your salary spent monthly on vehicle-related expenses should fall between 10 percent and 15 percent. This figure includes car payments, vehicle insurance, repairs and gasoline. For example, if you earn $3,000 a month, your monthly vehicle expenditure should be between $300 and $450. A monthly vehicle loan payment that takes up too much of your budget allotment could leave you with no money to pay for gas or critical repairs.

Miscellaneous

Following the previous percentage allowances for food, housing and vehicles, your miscellaneous budget will equal about 40 percent to 50 percent of your monthly salary. Though this percentage may seem high, the miscellaneous category must cover all other expenses, including those that are unforeseen. For example, you might know that you need money for entertainment, clothes, savings and paying off any debts. However, medical needs are not always known, and keeping miscellaneous money for those needs is necessary.

About the Author

Aaron Marquis is a University of Texas graduate with experience writing commercials and press releases for national advertising agencies as well as comedy television treatments/stories for FOX Studios and HBO. Marquis has been writing for over six years.

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