How 5 People Live Off 1 Income: May 2019 Expenses

There were no car problems, appliance failures, or other major costs this month. So why did my May 2019 expenses still come in over budget?

May 2019 Expenses

Electricity $96.60
Internet $73.98
Water $33.01
Cell phone $70
Restaurant $15.84
Groceries $412.74
Gasoline $70.30
Other vehicle expenses $0.00
Home maintenance $0.00
Medical expenses $0.00
Gifts/Entertainment $57.53
Kids’ activities $181.73
Other $78.17
Total $1,089.90

My goal was to spend no more than $1,000 on expenses, excluding housing costs.

Breakdown of Expenses


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. Although he is busy every second of every day, he does not care to go back to work anytime soon.

We decided to not disclose my income. I will say that we are middle-class by every definition of the term. (You can calculate your status using the Pew Center’s online calculator.)


May had three pay periods rather than the usual two, so deductions were higher this month. 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 ($437.01 for May).

Life insurance through my employer is $22.13 per pay period ($66.39 for May).

Health Saving Account contribution limits for 2019 is $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 ($633 for May).

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 remains my #1 priority. I need to know that should I become sick or injured, my children will still have a roof over their heads.

Electricity (we do not have natural gas)

At $96.60, our electricity bill was lower than it was this month last year! Our electricity saving hacks have been working!


Remained the same at $73.98 per month.


Our water bill was $33.01 this month. My goal is for it to be less than $30, so I will continue to work on this.

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.


Food is most people’s largest variable expense. We aim to spend $100 per person per month on food. For my family, that’s a goal of $500 total for groceries and dining out.

Groceries (including food, household products, and diapers) came in at $412.74.

Restaurant spending came in at only $15.84 (dining out pizza plus tip).

Between groceries and restaurants, we spent a combined $428.58 on food in May. Yay! After going over budget last month, it’s nice to be back on track.

Vehicle Expenses

Gasoline costs of $70.30 was higher than usual. We have been driving more than usual this year.

Insurance we pay every six months.

Registration is due annually.

Car Maintenance $0.

Home Maintenance and Expenses

$0! What a welcome change after last month’s lanai screen replacement and the month before that’s refrigerator replacement.

Medical Expenses


Kids’ Activities

$181.73 included monthly fee for oldest child’s sport and replacement gear. This is a lot of money! It’s our third highest monthly expense after mortgage and food – and we already took our middle child out of her activity for the summer.


We spent more on gifts this month than usual ($57.53). This includes spending for my husband’s birthday and a gift for my mom on Mother’s Day.

Other Expenses

It’s getting hot! After getting dizzy on a jog one afternoon, I decided we needed to start taking water, a phone, and my ID with us. So I purchased 2 water bottles for running that slide on your hand come with a case ($40.77 for both). I also found some great deals on work-out clothes and purchased 3 dri-fit shirts and 2 running shorts for $37.40.

Final Thoughts

Even without costly expenses, I still came in over budget this month. My splurges on workout clothes, water bottles, and once again pizza put me over my $1,000 budget. But I don’t regret it. I’ve used the workout gear every day, and they are consistent with my values of living a healthy lifestyle and not passing out due to heat exhaustion.


How does my family’s May 2019 expenses compare to yours? 

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