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A financial planner breaks down exactly how you should be spending your money

CNBC logo CNBC 8/3/2017 Kathleen Elkins

How much of your paycheck should go toward housing expenses? What about savings? Or entertainment and vacations?

While the specific answer varies from person to person, there are certain rules of thumb that can be useful across the board. So certified financial planner Mark Baird created a percentage guideline that breaks down how much you should spend in various categories, from savings to entertainment, depending on your household income.

"All of these ranges are guidelines, not strict rules," he writes in his book "Rules to Riches." "But if you do adhere to them, you'll be in a much better financial position than you would otherwise. You will be mindful of what you spend, and that's half the battle."

Note that "I take a very conservative approach and realize some of these guidelines will be tough to meet in areas where housing prices are extremely high," Baird writes.

For instance, he recommends spending only between 18 and 23 percent of your income on housing, at most. "Housing costs can have an extreme impact on achieving your overall financial goals," he writes. "Housing costs are extremely dependent on the region in which you live, and keep in mind this is a zero-sum game; if one category increases, you must decrease in another."

He also mentions that the actual percentage of taxes will depend on local, state and federal rates.

Here's how much of your paycheck you should be directing toward a total of 16 spending categories, broken down by household incomes ranging from $25,000 to $300,000:



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