Have you been wondering where all your money seems to go each month? If you’re supporting a family of four on either a single or joint income, it can feel as though your paycheck does a disappearing act. If this sounds familiar, then a sample family budget is just what you need to take back control of your finances.
Although each family’s finances will be entirely different based on your salary, the area you live and your outgoing expenses, there are certain budgeting categories that can help you to keep track of how much you should be spending on each.
To get started, check out this guide featuring a sample budget for a family of 4.
Can a family of 4 live on 100k a year?
Are you looking for a budget for a family of 4 making $100k? Or even wondering if it’s possible to live off this amount? This question is frequently asked and is often answered positively on the basis that the average US household income is $73k according to the US Census Bureau.
The problem with this statistic is that the majority of US households aren’t made up of families of four; in fact, they contain just 2.5 people.
If you’ve been wondering ‘how much money do I need to support a family of 4?’ then the great news is that all you need is the right sample family budget.
With a household budget planner, it’s perfectly possible to stretch your money across all four people in your family, although this will vary depending on where you’re based.
Which states are affordable for a family of 4?
MIT’s Living Wage calculator has pulled data to reveal which states are most affordable for a family of four, in comparison to those where it is harder to make ends meet.
The great news is that all states fall well beneath the $100k mark.
If you live in Mississippi, then you could expect to get by on an annual salary of just $54,933, based on estimated housing costs of $9,009 and food costs of $8,822.
At the opposite end of the scale, families living in New York will need a heftier $88,056 to handle housing costs of $17,896 and food costs of $10,245.
The standard and size of housing that you might afford in New York could also be substantially less than the average family home in Mississippi also.
What is the average monthly budget for a family of 4?
When putting together a sample budget for a family of 4, you’ll need access to some key financial figures before drilling down into the facts.
First up, take note of your total monthly income. If you’re suffering from one income family stress then remember that you can also earn decent money from side gigs to contribute to your regular wage.
Next, you’ll need to know how much tax you pay, as well as any 401k contributions and other deductibles.
Once you know how much money is coming in, you can work out how much you’re allowed to spend.
Note that this should always be LESS than your incoming funds so that you avoid getting into debt.
If you’ve already accumulated debt, then your repayment contributions will form part of your outgoing expenses.
Typically, the average family of 4 will have their mortgage or rent payment as their highest monthly cost.
This will fall alongside other general household costs including utilities, internet, insurance, gas, and food.
Costs that are specific to families might include the cost of childcare, entertainment, birthdays and parties, pets, clothing, and saving for college.
Ideally, your family budget calculator will also include saving for both short-term goals such as family vacations as well as long-term goals including retirement as a priority.
Putting together your sample budget for family of 4
Now you know what should be included in your sample family budget, you’ll want to know how much of your funds might be allocated for each category.
For example, what is a good food budget for a family of 4?
Again, the costs included in your personal budget will very much depend on your individual circumstances, but here are some general guidelines to help you stay on track.
Bills for a family of 4
- Mortgage cost – the US Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey of 2020 revealed that the median monthly payment for homeowners is now $1,100.
- Electric – you might spend around the $50 mark, but remember that there are plenty of ways to save energy including air drying your laundry and turning appliances off completely rather than using the standby function when not in use.
- Water – you can easily hit the $40 per month mark, but it’s important for the environment as well as your wallet to try and save water. Avoid using sprinkler systems, don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth, and only turn the dishwasher on when it’s full to keep costs down.
- Internet – keep your eyes open for the best deals in the market and be aware that providers tend to entice their new customers with low offers. You might find prices as low as $40 for six months if you’re prepared to shop around.
- Car insurance – if you’re a two-vehicle family of 4, then $80 a month will usually be a reasonable amount to set aside for car insurance. If your work situation has changed during the pandemic, then you might consider switching to a single car to save more money for your family.
- Cell phones – if your kids aren’t yet old enough to have their own mobile devices, then you might expect to pay $60 per month for a pair of mobiles. Again, be prepared to shop around for the best deals, and be aware that your provider may hike the prices after your initial tie-in period has subsided.
Necessities for a family of 4
Once you’ve paid out your monthly bills, you’ll also need to account for these major expenses.
- Food – from meal planning to freezing leftovers and packing lunch for the road, there are plenty of ways to be frugal about your food bill. Set aside just $500 a month and you can create delicious, nutritious recipes for your growing family to enjoy. Remember to include money for diapers and formula if you have young children.
- Transport – the cost of gas or public transport will vary considerably based on the distance you live from your place of work. If you have switched to remote working, then you might find you have plenty more room in your budget now that you’re not traveling each day. Others may find they need to set aside an average of $100 per month.
- Couples nights – keep your sanity by setting aside money for a babysitter so you can spend time with your other half. If you’re lucky, then a family member might offer to sit for free, but otherwise, you might set aside $75-100 for a monthly evening out including childcare, meal, or cinema tickets.
Savings for a family of 4
A 50/30/20 strategy is where you spend 50% of your wages on your needs (bills and necessities), 30% on your wants (entertainment or luxury items), and 20% on your savings or getting rid of debt.
A family of 4 will have plenty of saving to do, whether you’re putting money aside for next Christmas or planning a Disney vacation, being a parent doesn’t come cheap. By factoring your savings into your budget, you’re accounting for the cash and will be much less likely to spend it on unnecessary items.
Now it’s time for you to create your own sample budget for family of 4. Start by going through your current finances and locating the important incoming and outgoing figures you need to make a clear financial plan.
The Finances Hub offers a wealth of personal budgeting advice for American families and households. Check out our blog today.