What's NOT Included in the Basic Needs Expenses?

There are many expenses the typical family incurs that are not included in the Basic Needs Expenses on this site. These expenses were intentionally left out to demonstrate that families with minimal expenses often can't make ends meet without public programs and tax credits. Listed below are some of the expenses that are usually a part of a typical family budget but are NOT included on this site:

  • Debt payments (credit cards, car payments, student loans, etc.)
  • Entertainment
  • Home internet services
  • Cable TV
  • Cell phone service
  • Transportation to anywhere other than school, work or religious services
  • Additional utilities paid by tenant (basic expenses are based on the assumption that the family rents and only pays for electricity), such as water, trash and heat if not included in electric bill
  • School-related expenses besides lunch (supplies, field trips, uniforms, etc.)
Moreover, there are unexpected expenses that families often incur due to circumstance, accident, or unexpected events. This can include many things such as car repairs, household appliance repairs/replacement, medical bills. 
Ultimately, assets are the key to economic stability. To become truly economically stable, a family needs to build assets such as savings for emergencies, retirement and children's higher education. The Economic Stability Indicator does not include the cost of short term or long term savings in the Basic Needs Expense calculations, but it is important to recognize the need to promote asset building as a necessity for economic stability.