What a Bare Bones Budget Looks Like

Woman doing personal finances and creating a bare bones budget

JamieB / Getty Images

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 other necessary locations
  • Debt repayments: No more than the required minimums
  • Food: Essential grocery items only
  • Phone: A basic landline
  • 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: Magazine or movie rental subscriptions, concerts, trips to the movie theater, etc.
  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • Clothing: Anything beyond what is essential
  • Cell phones and landline extras: Unless a cell phone is vital to your job or safety
  • Restaurant meals
  • Gas for non-essential trips
  • Vacations
  • Hobby spending: After-school activities, gym memberships, hobbies, etc.
  • Non-essential personal care: Cosmetics, manicures, massages and extra hair services (color, highlights, perms, etc.)

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

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles