Every family's finances are variable, so your ideal budget really depends on your particular expenses. Consider using am online budgeting tool that allows you to input your estimated expenses for things that both stay the same (mortgage, car payments) and change every month (utilities, credit card, groceries). Finance and savings guru Clark Howard swears by free budgeting tools like Mint.com, which keeps track of where your money's going and even lets you know if you're approaching your spending limit.
According to CNBC, the ideal family budget should break down something like this:
- 30 percent to housing
- 18 percent to transportation and related items (oil changes, gas, other maintenance)
- 10 percent to debt
- 14 percent to food and other daily necessities
- 7 percent to household bills (cable, power, etc.)
- 10 percent to short- and long-term savings
- 11 percent to miscellaneous expenses, such as child care, birthday gifts, charity, etc.