How 5 People Live Off 1 Income: April 2019 Expenses

It’s always something. Last month our refrigerator died, the month before that it was car troubles. This month neighbors started complaining, so we finally had to rescreen our lanai.  Here’s a look into my family’s April 2019 expenses and how a family with 5 people live off one middle-class income.

April Expenses

Electricity $84.31
Internet $73.98
Water $35.31
Cell phone $70.00
Restaurant $40.87
Groceries $532.76
Gasoline $109.51
Other transportation expenses $5.50
Home maintenance $2,600.00
Medical expenses $4.63
Kids’ activities $140.00
Other $197.40
Total $3,894.27

Yikes! I aim to spend no more that $900 a month. This is way over budget!

Photo by Charles on Unsplash


Our only source of income is my salary as a clinical psychologist. My husband has been a stay-at-home dad for the past 9 years. He loves it and does not care to go back to work anytime soon. We decided to not disclose my income.

I will say that we are squarely middle-class. Based on this current middle-class income range, we will never even reach upper-middle class status based on my income potential with my current employer. (I also calculated our class using the Pew Research calculator which considers household size and metropolitan area.)


In addition to taxes, social security, Medicare, and a non-optional pension contribution, the following are taken directly from my pay:

Health insurance premium for the family plan through my employer is $145.67 per pay period ($291.34 for April).

Life insurance through my employer is $22.13 per pay period ($44.26 for April).

Health Saving Account contribution limits increased in 2019 to $7,000 for a family plan (including employer’s contributions). With a large family and high deductible, I contribute up to the max. My employer contributes $125 per month and I contribute an additional $211 per pay period ($422 for April).

Employer-sponsored retirement plan matches up to 5%. I contribute up to the match.


While I do not disclose our mortgage payment, I will say that our mortgage is 18% of my gross income and 23% of my net income. This is better than the recommended amount that housing be ≤ 25% of income.

We are contributing additional principle to our mortgage payment each month. Given my personal circumstances, paying off my home is my #1 priority. I need to know that should I become sick or injured (or furloughed), my children will still have a roof over their heads.

Electricity (we do not have natural gas)

At $84.31, our electricity bill was at a record low this month!


Remained the same at $73.98 per month.


Our water bill was at a record high this month $35.31! We didn’t use more water. The water company had a 35 day billing cycle, which includes extra fees for going above a certain limit per billing period.

Along with our bill we received a notice that they would stop this billing practice, but that doesn’t help us this month.

Cell Phone

We continue to use a pre-paid cell service and pay a flat fee of $70 per month for 2 lines. I previously wrote about our cell phones.


We aim to spend $100 per person per month on food.

Groceries (including food, household products, and diapers) came in at $532.76.

This was higher than I had hoped, but considering we only spent $287.74 last month and $318.95 the month before, we had used up most of our staples.

Restaurant spending came in at only $40.87. Not bad!

Between groceries and restaurants, we spent a combined $573.63 on food in April. This was higher than our goal of $500.

Vehicle Expenses

Gasoline costs of $109.51 was higher than usual. We did take a drive to the beach.

Parking was $5.50 at the beach

Insurance we pay every six months.

Registration is due annually.

Car Maintenance $0.

Home Maintenance and Expenses

We paid $2,600 to re-screen our lanai, which was ripped apart during a hurricane. This was a major repair that we had put off for years, but the neighbors were starting to talk.

Image by Gregory Beaty from Pixaby

Medical Expenses

$4.63 for over-the-counter medication for our child’s fever. Unfortunately, Health Savings Account funds can no longer be used to cover over-the-counter medications.

Kids’ Activities

$140 for one child’s sport. This is a lot of money! It’s our third highest monthly expense after mortgage and food. I wonder how this compares to what others spend on their kids’ activities?

Other Expenses

Miscellaneous expenses this month were costly. We registered 3 of us for a 5K run (the youngest two kids are free). My husband purchased a pair of running shoes to train for the event. And I felt guilty about spending money on myself for a much-needed sports bras, running shorts, and athletic shirts. But hopefully this event will bring some fun memories for my family. It’s also consistent with my value of living a healthier lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

Yet another costly expense this month helped to reinforce my choices to live below my means. The $2,600 screen repair is something that we had saved for since getting the quote a year earlier, but the sting of the payment still hurt.


How does my family’s spending compare to yours? How much do you budget for kids’ activities?

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