Best Budget for Family of 4 Making 60K (Tips & Strategies)

Despite improvements in the economy, many people still struggle to provide for their families. With the typical family being 4 people, the top question is what is the best budget for a family of 4 making 60K?

For a family of 4 making $60k a year, plan on:

  • Spending no more than $220/week on groceries
  • Limit eating out to a few times per month
  • Focus on paying off debt before investing heavily in retirement
  • Don’t spend more than 25% of your monthly net income on rent or mortgage
  • All household expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, and food costs) should be no more than 50% of your total monthly income
  • Buy late-model used cars rather than new cars
  • Save up each month for vacations, and Christmas spending rather than using credit cards

But that’s just a quick glimpse of my budget tips for a family of 4 making about $60,000 per year. You can provide for your family AND make sure everyone’s needs are met.

You just need a roadmap.

In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of budgeting. We’ll look at the top questions families making 60K a year have on budgeting, talk about different budgeting methods, and the average amounts families just like yours are spending each month.

Specifically, though, we’re looking at exactly how to budget for a family of 4 making 60K a year.

How much does it cost to feed a family of 4?

The food costs in a budget for family of 4 ranges from $128.90/week on the low end, up to $295.30/week. The best way to keep costs low is to limit eating out, using digital and paper coupons, and buying store brands rather than brand name products.


They break that out by the age of the kids and 4 different cost levels.

Of course, the age of your kids and the state you live in will change those numbers a lot. Feeding 2 hungry teenagers in California or New York? Expect to be at the top end of that range.

Most of us, however, will probably fall right down the middle of those ranges. Splitting up costs in this way is one of the best budgeting tools to stay out of debt, according to Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys.

What is the average grocery bill for a family of 4?

With the average food costs for a family of 4 ranging between $128 and $295, that puts the average weekly grocery bill at $211.

My family is now a family of 5 with the addition of my newest daughter born in Nov 2017.

That being said, our grocery budget hasn’t changed that much since her birth. We spent $160/week on groceries for our family around that time. Now that she’s grown and our older 2 daughters are in middle school, we’ve expanded that to $220/week.

But when money was tight a few years back, we spent about half that.

How much money does a family of 4 need?

A family of 4 needs a minimum of $50,000/year to live modestly but comfortably. However, location and lifestyle choices will impact that significantly. In expensive states like California or New York, expect that number to be 2-3 times higher.

As I mentioned above, what state or country you live in will affect this number greatly. Thus there isn’t a one-size-fits-all number I can give you.

Live in a small town in Texas? You probably need at least $55,000 for a family of 4 to live comfortably. However, in the Bay Area, that number will probably triple and the lifestyle will be less lavish.

Thankfully, the Economic Policy Institute has a Family Budget Calculator. The calculator allows you to plug in where you live and how many adults and kids live in the household.

While I couldn’t find my city (Wimberley, which is outside of Austin), I was able to find my county.

It showed that we needed to make just under $100,000/year

Luckily (since we didn’t make that much at the time I originally wrote this) some of the expenses they listed (childcare for instance) aren’t necessary for us.

But it’s a great place to start.

If you are starting to wonder if your family can make it on your current income, I highly recommend you take a moment and check out my recent article on all the ways you can Earn Extra Money on the Side.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Many can be done from home and don’t take tons of time.

What is the poverty level for a family of 4?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for 2023, the poverty level for a family of 4 is $30,000 in the lower 48 states. Hawaii is slightly higher at $34,500 and Alaska comes in at $37,500.

Anything above that is considered middle class and higher.


Thus, if your family of 4 makes that or less each year, you are technically classified at the poverty level.

Luckily, if you do fall into that boat, there are programs available to help you including:

  • Head Start
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • The National School Lunch Program
  • The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program

You can learn more about the Federal poverty levels and program eligibility on the government’s FAQ page.

What is the 50 20 30 budget?

A variation of the 50-30-20 budget, the 50-30-20 has you put 50 percent of your income toward basic household expenses, 20 percent towards saving for retirement, and thirty percent of your income goes towards more frivolous expenses.

But that’s just a quick snapshot. So let’s look at it more closely.

Essentially with the 50-30-20 rule, you put 50 percent of your income toward basic household expenses; mortgage/rent, utilities, etc.

Then you put 20 percent towards long-term financial goals such as paying off debt and saving for retirement.

Lastly, thirty percent of your income goes towards more frivolous expenses, like eating out, vacations, etc. In the 50 20 30 budget, those last 2 categories get flip-flopped.

If you’re totally new to budgeting this could be a good place to start with the ease of it makes it accessible to even the most math-challenged among us.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of it, especially for a budget for family of 4 making 60K.

For starters, I think if you’re broke or deeply in debt, 50% is too much to allocate to household expenses. I also think the other categories should be on hold until you clean up the mess.

But if it gets you started on learning how to budget money on low income that’s vastly superior to NOT getting started.

If your income is too low or your expenses too high, you’ll never succeed financially or otherwise.

For a detailed plan of what to do when you’re Budgeting When Broke, take a moment and review my recent article on that to help get you started. Just click that link to read it on my site.

So let’s recap my . . . 

11 Best Budget for Family of 4 Making 60K Tips & Strategies

1. Try and keep your weekly grocery budget at or under $140

When trying to craft your budget for family of 4 making 60K, it’s essential that you keep your grocery bill in check. These are my best tips:

  • Use your store’s coupon app to save and look for deals before you go shopping so you know what to get
  • Always make a list; that way you aren’t grabbing everything that looks good
  • Use a calculator on your phone to tally as you go to stay in budget
  • Don’t shop while you’re hungry; I guarantee you will end up with too much stuff

2. Eliminate cable TV

Get the top-rated digital antenna from Amazon for under 30 bucks, or get a Roku stick and stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and other similar channels.

Don’t have Amazon Prime? It’s got tons of channels, movies, and TV shows. Try Amazon Prime free for 30 days! You’ll also get their famous free 2-day shipping on all qualified purchases.

3. Use a monthly budget spreadsheet each month

The budget is your key to being intentional with your hard-earned money.

This way you are in control of when, where, if, and how you spend it.

If you simply reach for the debit card or credit card every time you get tempted and your spouse does the same thing, there’s almost no way to keep your budget for family of 4 making 60K successful, and you’ll almost never succeed financially in the long term.

Get a FREE Copy of my Customizable Budget today and start saving your financial future tomorrow.

4. Pay cash for expenses other than bills

Cash is king! I know it seems old-fashioned to not use a credit or debit card when you buy food, gas, groceries or pay for entertainment.

But when you pay in cash, you WILL spend less.

You see when you give yourself an allowance for those things and you see the bills flying out of your wallet, it causes you to think about and scrutinize these purchases in a way you never will just reaching for plastic.

Get all the details on just how easy it is to set up your Cash Envelope System in one of my most pinned Pinterest posts.

5. Sign Up for Trim

I just signed up with Trim. They negotiate with the bill companies of your choice. If they can lower your payments, they take a small percentage of the savings. If they can’t reduce your bills, it costs you nothing.

In my case, they cut my monthly phone bill by $30 bucks a month and all that cost me was a one-time payment of $13 bucks!

Talk about easy money! Check out Trim and see if they can’t save you money too. Some folks have saved thousands! Just click the link to learn more.

7. Use a Family Budget Calculator to see what typical household expenses are in your area.

Everyone’s household situation is different so you can’t quite compare apples to apples.

But if you run the numbers on their Family Budget Calculator and see your spending is way off in a certain category, that’s a good place to start cutting back.

8. Raise your insurance deductibles

It might seem counter-intuitive, but I personally liked to have my insurance deductibles as high as possible.

After all, insurance is designed as something you hopefully rarely if ever use (especially home and auto).

The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly or annual payments will be on the coverage.

9. Have an emergency fund

If you’re nervous about having a $2000 auto or home deductible, I don’t blame you.

That’s why my family has an emergency fund of between 3 and 6 months of our household expenses in our savings. That way if we need it, it’s there.

Don’t have an emergency fund built yet?

I highly recommend you get started, so check out my highly shared post that walks you through exactly how to set one up.

You probably want to wait to raise deductibles until you have that cushion. Alternately, if you trust your discipline, you could have a credit card set aside for emergencies only.

But personally, I don’t use credit cards and love having our emergency fund easy to reach in the bank when we need it.


10. Start a side hustle

A side hustle doesn’t have to mean delivering pizzas or flipping burgers.

This is the modern age.

There are loads of jobs you can do to make money online in just a few hours a week that can add anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars extra on top of your regular income.

Aside from the ideas I listed above, one of my top suggestions is for you to Start Your Own Blog.

Blogging, done right, allows you to help thousands (maybe tens or hundreds of thousands) of people and add extra income and can be done anywhere your laptop (or desktop) can get internet service.

And you can work on it whenever you want to; no more trading time for money!

11. Consider a long-term career change

In some cities and states, a budget for family of 4 making 60k works great, but maybe not if you regularly like to go to Disney World.

However, if you’re in a bustling metropolitan area like Austin, New York, San Francisco or other similar areas, you’re likely finding it very hard to get ahead.

Thus, while you apply the above strategies, it’s also a great idea to think about long-term career options that can get the household salary up closer to 6 figures.

After all, healthcare and other expenses are likely to continue to go up at several times the rate of wage growth.

Thus, like many across the globe, you’ll continue to see less and less disposable income left over after paying the bills unless you take charge of your future now.

Final thoughts

In this post, we took an in-depth look at family budgets.

We explored different ways of budgeting and answered all the top questions around making a budget work for a family of 4.

Specifically, we walked through exactly how to budget for family of 4 making 60K a year.

That way you can quit sweating the bills and get back to enjoying life. Budgeting isn’t hard and doesn’t take hours of time. It’s simply being intentional with your hard-earned dollars so that they get spent exactly how you want them to be spent.

While I have years of successful financial & budgeting experience and run several million dollar businesses and handled the accounting, P&L and been responsible for the financial assets of them, I am not an accountant or CPA. Like all my posts, my posts are my opinons based on my own experience, observations, research and mistakes. While I believe all my personal finance posts to be thorough, accurate and well-researched, if you need financial advice, you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small comission from qualifying purchases if you click to Amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase. You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details.

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