What Are the Different Types of Living Expenses?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2019
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Living expenses can include housing, food, supplies, and other necessities people may need to survive. Some living expenses may be listed for consideration in taxes, bankruptcy proceedings, and in other financial matters. They are typically a basis for consideration when applying for student financial aid or negotiating wage increases. Regionally, the cost of living can be quite variable and it is important to take this into account with living expense estimates. Guesses based on one region may not apply to another, and could cause problems with budgeting.

Housing can be a significant expenditure in some regions. Necessities like food and housekeeping supplies are also considered living expenses. Depending on where people live, transportation can be an issue. Professional services like insurance for homes and cars, or accounting services, may also be considered under the cost of living for the purpose of some calculations.

Personal care, such as soap, shampoo, and even medical services are all examples of living expenses. Apparel along with things like alterations and repairs to garments and accessory items like shoes and jewelery is another example. The proportions of the budget occupied by different expenses can vary, and there may be measures people can use to cut down. Food, for example, can be less expensive when prepared at home, and when people work with raw ingredients rather than packaged products.


Allowances for living expenses may also include a miscellaneous category, for things that do not quite fit in the above. Entertainment like going to the movies, for example, may be slotted into this category. This allowance is typically small, and in some cases may be audited to determine whether people are using it appropriately.

Other costs can also come up as part of the cost of living for people in certain positions. Students, for example, may have tuition bills, books, and school supplies. These may not be directly necessary for living, but can be critical to pursuing a career. Likewise, childcare may be an expense to consider for some people, along with costs like nursing supplies, diapers, and so forth.

In personal budget preparation, people can arrange their living expenses using a method that suits them. For activities like preparing taxes and other financial declarations, it is important to comply with standards. Errors may result in a delay, and in some cases could be grounds for an audit that may result in needing to pay more or change a statement. Deliberate misstatements may result in fines and other penalties.


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Post 3
@fBoyle-- These terms are mostly interchangeable, but I feel like "living expenses" is a wider category.

Household expenses are straightforward: your rent, your utilities, food and maybe communications. But the cost of living expenses usually also include personal needs like clothing, hygiene products and things like cell phone bills and how much you spend on gas.

Think of it this way, if the expense is required to run a home, it's a household expense; if the expense is required to live somewhere in general, it's a living expense.

Post 2

Is there a difference between living expenses and household expenses? I have to write about living expenses in California, but I'm getting confused about what to include.

Post 1

I have a scholarship from my school program that covers monthly living expenses and it's only for rent, food and transportation. I have to pay for everything else out of my pocket, which is absolutely fine.

The good thing is that I don't have to tell them how much I'm spending for what. So if I don't spend much for food and transportation one month, I can use that money for my other needs. I try to do this by walking instead of taking the bus and cooking at home.

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