Personal finance newbie here.

So I've been looking into how to manage one's monthly expenses and one way to prevent overspending was to allocate a certain percentage of your monthly earnings to the necessities.

For example, 15% goes on food. However, does this apply globally?

What I am trying to ask is, say you need to spend 15% of your monthly earning on in USA, would 15% apply in the UK, too? Or would the % be drastically different?

1 Answer 1


The exact percentages depend on many things, not just location.

For example, everyone needs food. If you have a low income, the percentage of your income spent on food would be much higher than for someone that has a high income.

Any budgeting guidelines that you find are just a starting point. You need to look at your own income and expenses and come up with your own spending plan.

Start by listing all of the necessities that you have to spend on. For example, your basic necessities might be:

  1. Food
  2. Clothing
  3. Housing
  4. Utilities
  5. Transportation

Fund those categories, and any other fixed expenses that you have. Whatever you have left is available for other things, such as:

  • Debt reduction
  • Retirement savings
  • Entertainment
  • Charitable giving
  • Technology
  • Insurance

and anything else that you can think of to spend money on. If you can save money on some of the necessities above, it will free up money on the discretionary categories below.

Because your income and priorities are different than everyone else, your budget will be different than everyone else, too.

If you are new to budgeting, you might find that the right budgeting software can make the task much easier. YNAB, EveryDollar, or Mvelopes are three popular choices.

  • just an aside, is asking for resources on-topic here? I am more used to StackOverflow and asking for resources is off-topic.
    – An SO User
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 19:59
  • 2
    @LittleChild Asking for specific product recommendations is off-topic here. If you want to ask for recommendations on budgeting software, you could ask at Software Recommendations. They already have a bunch of questions tagged finance. But if you have specific questions about a particular software app, you can ask those here.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 20:05

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