It is suggested that your housing expenses should be no more than a third of your income. Before my husband went back to school, we paid $400 in rent, while he was making $1200 per month. We were doing fine.
Now that we've moved closer to my husband's school, he makes $980, and we are paying $600 in rent, heat included, not electric. So our rent takes a little over 60% of our income. Here is the breakdown of our fixed expenses:
Phone: $6.09 (low income reduced)
Auto Insurance: $31.22
Satellite Radio: $12.95
Total Fixed Expenses: $697.25
That leaves us $282.75 for food, gas, any auto repairs, birthdays and holidays, unforeseen needs, and investments. This is more than enough.
I do not have a fixed budget for food and gas because they are fluid. Some months, I spend nearly $200 on food, and other months I spend closer to $75 dollars. This is something I will spend many posts discussing, so stay tuned.