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Kip Tips

How to Divvy up Your Paycheck

Here's how much you can expect to spend on various categories each month.

We show you four ways to trim your spending in the January issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance. And you can use your household budget worksheet to track your spending. Your budget should be both flexible and personal. The January issue provides some guidelines to help you get started:

Expect 30% of your household's after-tax monthly pay to go toward your mortgage or rent
15% toward food
10% toward debt payments
10% toward utilities
10% toward transportation
10% toward savings
5% toward clothing
5% toward entertainment
5% toward miscellaneous expenses

To personalize the numbers, track expenses for several months, then reexamine your priorities.