- Donations: This was our best year yet for donations. If we earn more in the future, we'll be able to give more.
- Taxes: Our taxes are lowered because of donating.
- Savings: We're saving for a house, children, and retirement.
- Housing: Our costs were unusually low because we're renting from Jeff's parents. This will go up soon when we buy a house.
- Food, clothes, transit, etc.: We spend about $200 a month on groceries. We pay $70 each for a monthly public transit pass. We each get about $40 a week in spending money, which covers clothes, cell phones, gifts, vacations, meals out, etc.
- Medical: Jeff's work pays for most of our health insurance, but we pay for some of the insurance and some out-of-pocket expenses.
So let's look at how I might budget if it were just me. This hypothetical budget is based on my earnings as a social worker from the past year, including four months when I was unemployed. My total income was around $38,000 (close to median personal income in the US).
- Saving 15% of income, which is pretty standard financial advice
- $800/month rent and $100/month utilities, which is doable in the Boston area in a small apartment or an apartment shared with friends
- $150/month on groceries, $80/month for public transit and $45/week on other personal spending, which are all more than I currently spend
- My employer might pay 60% of my health insurance, so I would pay $250/month for insurance and out-of-pocket medical spending
- Leaving $8,500, or 22%, for donations. Not bad!