Frugal Budget: My Average Monthly Spending

Because this blog is basically a study in my personal accounting & financial life, I thought it’d be good to actually break down my expenses.

Over the last year and a half things have been fluctuating a lot as I optimized, downsized, and shifted my spending – but I think everything has finally leveled off to a point where I can identify “normal.” I am sure I will occasionally succeed is reducing my expenses further, but this is a baseline I’m comfortable with. Let me know what you think, and how your numbers compare!

Housing Expenses

  • Mortgage & escrow payment – $670/month
  • Home maintenence – $80/month
  • HOA dues & trash pickup – $35/month
  • Lawn & vegetable gardening supplies – $20/month
  • Home services (carpet cleaning, etc.) – $15/month

TOTAL HOUSING: $820/month


  • Electricity – $150/month
  • Water/sewer – $40/month
  • T-Mobile pre-paid mobile phone & Skype unlimited calling – $33/month
  • High speed Internet – $49/month



  • Car insurance – $80/month
  • Fuel – $60/month
  • Auto maintenance – $25/month
  • Car registration – $15/month
  • Bicycle maintenance & gear – $15/month


Food & Household

  • Groceries – $160/month
  • Household Goods – $30/month
  • Lunches “out” at work – $30/month
  • Restaurants – $40/month
  • Alcohol & bars – $40/month
  • Pet food – $16/month


Misc. Personal

  • Medical insurance – $40/month
  • Web hosting – $11/month
  • Domain name renewals – $12/month
  • Gym membership – $35/month
  • Clothing – $20/month
  • Entertainment – $50/month
  • Misc. software, computers, gadgets, video games – $30/month
  • Haircut – $16/month
  • Gifts – $40/month
  • Travel – $50/month

TOTAL PERSONAL: $304/month

GRAND TOTAL: $1,907/month or $22,884/year

In an effort to identify my “minimum” spend, I could easily remove ~$350/month in spending if necessary (in case of a job loss, etc.) and still get by just fine. That puts my minimum spend at about $1,557/month or $18,684/year.

I currently receive $600/month in household expense reimbursement (you might call it “rent”) by sharing my house with others, so with that income counted directly against my expenses, my real life numbers right now are $1,307/month or $15,684/year – and my “minimum” numbers are $957/month or $11,484/year.

Three areas that may have unaccounted for changes in the future are medical costs, travel costs, & “rental” income.

I have a great health track record, and I haven’t ever had to spend much of anything on health care costs (beyond insurance). I hope to keep this trend up, but I realize that I may in some months have healthcare expenses.

I also don’t allocate much toward a travel budget right now, but in the past few years I haven’t done much costly travel. I like to go camping or take a weekend trip occasionally, and I’ve used credit card reward flights to visit family. I think in the next 1-2 years, I may spend more on a “large” vacation, but I have nothing planned.

Lastly, I realize that I may not always have the two housemates that I have now, so my rental income could fluctuate, or be permanently reduced at some point in the future.

Have you laid out your expenses for the world to see? Send me a link in the comments!

[featured image author: trekkandy]

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Musings