Costs of living for family of three in Central Texas

Family Budget Items
Monthly Estimate
Food at home
384
Housing (HUD data for central Texas)
509
Utilities and fuel
228
Household operations
68
Housekeeping supplies
46
Clothing
165
Health care
162
Gasoline & motor oil
106
Auto maintenance
67
Personal care
31
Entertainment (videos, cable, etc.)
191
Insurance
40
Reading
14
Education
66
Miscellaneous
91
Total monthly family expenses
$2,168
 
 
At 40 hours/week
$12.51

The cost amounts, except housing, are from Census Bureau data in the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 2001 (www.census.gov/statab/www); housing is HUD data for central Texas.

You may eliminate lines or reduce amounts, but these reflect a minimum standard of living. All of these items must be increased proportionately for a larger family. This list does not include medical emergencies or quality child care among other necessary additions.

Note that the minimum wage is less than half of the bottom line.

Intact families in order to have approximately the income above often have both parents work and teen-age children work. The results are less time for family, parenting, and school work and drop-outs. Family vacations are often unknown, except for weekend outings.

Single parent families face impossible budget problems. If the parent is the mother, she probably earns 2/3 what a male earns. Most jobs have no benefits. Many jobs if you or a child is sick, you are fired. Management styles are often dictatorial and dehumanizing. Often after school children come home to empty houses, unless there are neighborhood after school programs.