How do your living expenses compare with these government guidelines? The Allowable Living Expense National Standards come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey and are used by the IRS to help figure affordable repayment structures for delinquent taxes.
|NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE FOLLOWING FIVE NECESSARY EXPENSES (per month)||Number of People in Family|
Food eaten at home purchased from grocery or other food stores, excluding non-food items… also all meals and snacks eaten in restaurants (includes fast food, take-out, delivery, and tips)
Laundry and cleaning supplies, miscellaneous household products, lawn and garden supplies, stationery supplies, postage, and delivery services
|Apparel & services
Clothing, footwear, material, patterns and notions for making clothes, alterations and repairs, clothing rental, clothing storage, dry cleaning and sent-out laundry, watches and jewelry, and repairs to watches and jewelry
|Personal care products & services
Hair care, oral hygiene products, shaving cream, razors, etc., cosmetic and bath products, electric personal care appliances and other personal care products
Expenses taxpayers incur that are not included in any of the other categories, or expenses that exceed the allowed amounts above, or for credit card payments, bank fees and charges, reading materials and school supplies
|For families with more than four people…
start with the four-person total allowance and add $298 for each additional family member
So how do our expenses compare? Well, we never eat out because of the soy allergy thing, so we have no restaurant or fast food expenses… which is probably offset by the fact that we buy almost entirely organic food now and the fact that living in this part of New England means that food is more expensive than most other places. However, our food costs still fall well within the government guidelines. In all of the other categories we spend far less than the allotted amounts… natural cleaning products, an aversion to chemicals, and avoidance of soy additives can really pay off. The miscellaneous category for us is almost entirely taken up with natural and additive-free cat, dog, parrot, and wild bird food, mandatory vaccines and vet visits, and such… but overall I found the comparison of our expenses to these government standards to be extremely encouraging.
How about you?