What Do You Absolutely, Definitely Need to Spend Money On Every Month?

Is one of your major financial concerns the fact that money just dribbles out of your bank account month after month?

It is pretty much impossible to save money well when you are spending more money than you need to. So what about the things that you simply have to spend money on, is it possible to save on these?


You aren’t going to go through the full month without eating, are you? Food is one of the biggest expenses for most of us, although the percentage of your income you spend on it will depend upon the country you live in. For example, in highly developed countries like the UK and the US we spend a relatively small percentage of our cash on food. In less developed countries people tend to spend a lot more of their income on their food. In fact, there is a theory – known as Engel’s Law – which states that as your income rises the percentage you spend on food falls too. In the US it has been calculated that average household spending on food has fallen from 17% to 11% in the last 3 decades, would you agree with these findings?. It is clear that no matter how much you earn you can’t avoid spending on food. However, you can be smart about it and keep the spending as low as possible by looking for bargains and not wasting food.


Is it better to buy a few clothes each month or to wait and buy a big lot in bulk at some point? The best piece of clothes shopping I ever did was a few years ago when we were really short of cash. We bought a load of clothes during the January sales for next to no money and this meant that the next year or so went by without us having to buy any new garments at all. This was a huge benefit to us during that year and helped us put our finances in order. You might not realise how much you spend on clothes if you buy something here and something there every single month. Of course, buying in bulk only works as long as your taste, your needs and your weight doesn’t change too much in the near future. For example, I still have a rather silly little chequered waistcoat from that January sales splurge which I have never worn and never will. It only cost about a pound though, so maybe I’ll find someone to buy it off me for the same price.


You also can’t get through the month without a roof over your head either. Probably the biggest financial improvement I have ever felt was when I went from renting a home to moving into a property that we had built. My monthly outgoings on shelter went from about £550 on rent to zero, as there was no mortgage on our new home. Nothing else really changed in our finances but the removal of that whopping big rental amount was a massive relief. The rent had been a massive percentage of our monthly income and getting rid of it was amazing. For most of us our rent or mortgage will be our biggest single monthly expense. You might think that there is nothing you can do about it but moving to somewhere else or remortgaging your current home can give you a lower outgoing each month. If money is really tight then another suggestion which has helped me out in the past has been to rent a room in a shared property. This is a lot cheaper than renting an entire house and can help you save a lot of money even if you only live like this for a few months.

Is there anything you simply can’t not spend money on every month?

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15 Responses to What Do You Absolutely, Definitely Need to Spend Money On Every Month?

  1. Mortgage, utilities, medications, and food. I almost never buy new clothes. I could certainly opt to rent out my house and find a cheaper place if I wanted. That would cut down on the monthly shelter necessities.
    Cashville Skyline recently posted..MyRA: What Do We Know and Will it Help?My Profile

  2. Hmm, that’s got me thinking!…Unless you want to get into trouble it’s impossible not to spend money on council tax rates – but not if you’ve set it up with the council to pay it across 10 months of the year. So I’m definitely going to sock away into savings the money I would have spent on my rates this month and next.
    Wealth Tortoise recently posted..Control Your Finances Or They Will Control YouMy Profile

  3. I’m trying to cut down on my entertainment expenses like shopping, dining out, and watching in cinemas.
    I agree with you that buying clothes in bulk can really help you save more money in years to come than buying every single month.
    moneysavingdude recently posted..7 Characteristics That Successful Business Owners Have In CommonMy Profile

    • Robert Bell says:

      Those things all add up over a month, don’t they MSD. I tried a month without eating out recently and it made a big difference

  4. Heat and electricity, especially this time of year. Transportation to get to work, even on the bike, there’s still costs.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Carnival of Personal Finance #449: Recommitting to ResolutionsMy Profile

  5. These are three thing that one needs to spend on every month (though I’ll dispute the clothes item. One doesn’t need to buy clothes every month and it is likely you have too much stuff already). The TB is right and you need to pay council tax; watter rates, energy bills, insurance (depends on how it’s been arranged by life and personal isurance is usually monthly and yes it is important)and transport. Knowing what you absolutely have to pay for every month is very useful when calculating your survival budget – and may people never be on one ’cause life is not much fun.
    maria@moneyprinciple recently posted..Housing for first time buyersMy Profile

  6. for homeowners, there’s always property taxes (at least there are in the US). My wife and I went through an exercise once to figure out how little we COULD live on each month if we had to. If you really strip it down, throw out cell phones, cable, car payments (use public transportation), bare necessity food, etc – it’s amazing how little you could live off of if you had to!
    Brock @cleverdude recently posted..The Frustrating Tale Of a Teenager And His Cell PhoneMy Profile

  7. Robert, I’ll bet you can sell that coat on Ebay for more than you paid for it. We like to shop the clearance sales too for clothes – saves a ton of cash!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Debt Payoff Recap January 2014My Profile

  8. Alex says:

    I suppose a 4th expense would be if you had children. They can literally take food off your plate (or chuck it on the floor, whichever seems more amusing at the time). I haven’t got kids, but I do look after my elder brother who I live with by cooking and knowing what food to buy etc. Yet maybe it’s he who looks after me in the long run.
    Alex recently posted..Carnival of Money Pros: wealth of topics, wealth of viewsMy Profile

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