Bare-Bones Budgeting

What a Bare-Bones Budget Looks Like

Building a budget

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Has job loss, debt or another life change left you strapped for cash? If so, a bare-bones budget could be just the thing to get you back on track.

What Is a Bare-Bones Budget?

A bare-bones budget is a budget that takes your spending down to the minimum required to survive and fulfill your financial obligations. It'll get you through a rough patch, but it won't leave you with a lot of extras in the meantime.

What a Bare-Bones Budget Includes

  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Gas- only enough to get you to work and the other places that you have to go
  • Debt repayments– no more than the required minimums
  • Food- essential grocery items only
  • Phone- a basic land-line
  • Insurance payments- health, auto, life, and disability premiums
  • Essential family expenses- daycare, school tuition, alimony, child support
  • Personal care- prescription medications, toiletries, work clothes, haircuts (as needed to look presentable for work)

What a Bare-Bones Budget Does Not Include

  • Entertainment spending- no magazine or movie rental subscriptions, concerts, trips to the movie theater, etc.
  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • Clothing- anything beyond what is essential is out
  • Cell phones and landline extras- go down to a basic landline, unless a cell phone is vital to your job or safety
  • Restaurant meals
  • Gas for non-essential trips
  • Vacations
  • Hobby spending- after-school activities and gym memberships should be canceled, and all hobby supply spending suspended
  • Non-essential personal care- spending on cosmetics, manicures, massages and extra hair services (color, highlights, perms, etc.) should be discontinued

    Does a bare-bones budget sound like what you need to get caught up? Then, start planning yours now.