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I read an article last week about trying for 60% of your income to be committed expenses. Then dividing the rest into spending and savings.

It can be a bit difficult to figure out, since some savings (like 401k's) are in pre-tax dollars. So your 'committed expenses' of income tax will go down if you save more into your 401k.

Anyway, I did a rough cut at figuring ours.

Our committed expenses for 2005 look a bit like this:
FIXED AMOUNTS:
Taxes: 22% of gross
Mortgage/property tax: 22% of gross
Charity: 10% of gross

VARIABLE COMMITTED EXPENSES:

My other expenses vary quite a bit. For example, utility bills over the last year have varied from $150 to $400. It's still a committed expense, though.

For me, these variable expenses are groceries, gifts, utilities, education, insurance, vacation, household expenses, and car expenses.

CONCLUSION:

So, if I want to increase savings ... or fun money, the easiest way will be to work on those VARIABLE COMMITTED expenses.


So, how do your committed expenses stack up?
 

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well, theres no flexing in the house--mtg, the taxes, insurance, car insurance so those are not variables

and heat, light, and gasoline are all going up but we scrimp on them as much as possible so they are variables along with food.

not sure of the percents, but we do a payroll deduction for the savings and treat it like a fixed expense. It comes off with the mtg paymnent
 

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When I take Dh's student loan, family bonus and GST credit and figure out what we have to live on per month after all fixed expenses are paid for. We have only 97$ left for food. Nothing left for clothes, or any other unexpected expenses. So the money I make gardening, tutoring. Is added to my grocery budget. But it is variable income so my grocery budget is usually between $170 and $200 a month (now you can see why Dh has to go to the food bank sometimes). If an unexpected expense comes along we have to pay it from our student loan which means we run short in Dec. or April, May. Not good.
 
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