What are reasonable amounts to spend on common household expenses? Well, it varies widely, of course. Where you live is a major factor in how little you can manage to pay for some products and services. Car insurance, for example, can cost arms and legs in some regions and fingers and toes in others. Likewise, housing costs can be sky-high in some parts of the country and quite reasonable elsewhere.

Aside from your location, your personal situation, needs, and preferences might mean that you should spend more or less on some things than other folks would.

Here are some very rough guidelines on how much of your after-tax income you might aim to spend on various categories:

  • Housing and utilities: 25%-30%
  • Food: 10%-15%
  • Vehicles: 10%-15%
  • Insurance: 5%
  • Saving and investing: 10%-15%
  • Entertainment: 5%
  • Clothing: 5%
  • Medical: 5%
  • Childcare and education: 1%-8%
  • Gifts and charity: up to you

To learn more about ways to save money and spend less, check out our Personal Finance area, which is chock full of guidance on insurance, buying a car or home, paying for college, banking, setting up short-term savings, getting out of debt, lowering your tax bill, and more.

You'll find even more useful advice, customized for everyone from recent grads to retirees, in the pages of our Motley Fool GreenLight personal finance service. Try it free for 30 days!