Anyways. There are a lot of ways to save money on all bills and costs of living. So it really is hard to say. But I can say this:
- You need a savings fund. You need to put away at least 1 month's worth of living (not just bills), and preferably 3+ months worth.
- You need to keep in mind that you need a slush fund. Some things always come up. If you're trying to make a hardcore budget, you'll forget SOMETHING somewhere. The car registration. A birthday. A beer with your friend that just got dumped by her relationship of 5 years. A new girlfriend walks into your life. Etc. etc. A slush fund is important--do NOT tie all of your money up every month.
- Plan for everything in advance. I don't care how grumpy you are about holidays, or how Scrooge McDuck you try to be about your own birthday, if you don't allow a financial thought to those events they will SOMEHOW bite you in your ass.
I would say, if you live in a meager apartment in a city that isn't high cost of living like DC, San Fran, or NY or something like that...
Electricity, water, trash, and rent.. probably somewhere around $1000. If you conserve. You can get away with less than that for sure. My apartment costed me about $600 for everything. But I also never used my electricity unless I had to and conserved water.
Internet and phone bills vary, I pay about $70 for both currently, but I split my internet bill.
Transportation--either way at least $100-200 if you live in a city with good public transportation system and use a bike and the occasional "Can I borrow your car for gas money" from a friend. If you have a car? It's significantly higher.
Insurances. You probably want health insurance. Or car insurance. Or both. Either way, that's a good $200ish for both. That's what I paid anyways as a young adult female that's single. That was before Obamacare though. The site will tell you how much it'll be now.
Medical expenses. You'll still have those. Colds need NyQuil. Headaches need Aleve. Sick days cost money from work. I was healthy and didn't get bothered much with medicine when I was living on my own, I escaped with $50 for co-pays and the occasional script.
Laundry--I rented a washer and dryer, and I paid $30 a month for the both of them. It worked out really well for me. I highly recommend just buying small electric washers and dryers for an apartment unless you just LOVE the washateria. Laundry still will cost you around $5-10 a month depending on the kind of soap powders you use.
Cost of living--I just did a basic "I get x amount for whatever I need" per month. Needed shoes for a job? It came out of there. Hair cut? Comes from here. Soap? Here. Broke my hairbrush? Yup. I had mine at $100 a month, and that was REALLY really meager. Thrift shops and free samples helped a lot here.
Food--Depends on how organic or how cheap you want to be. You can EASILY feed 1 person for $20 a week. If you don't mind eating the same things over and over again and you cook it yourself and do your research. I lived off of $10 a week at my apartment at its worst times, and it pretty much sucked that way but I made it happen. Like I said, neighbors helped. I recommend at LEAST $20 for balanced nutrition, and at least $50 a week for decent high quality food... So, $200 a month.
Entertainment--It's a real category that need attention. Cable TV goes here. Netflix goes here. Beers go here. Its separate from the slush fund in that you anticipate this stuff. The money comes from here FIRST before elsewhere when something comes up. I did not have this at my worst of times, but you can easily get away with $15-20 a month if you just attend free events, house party, or stay home and play video games a lot. But this adds up a lot if you like events or going to new places.
Savings--Keep putting money away. Trust me. 10% of what you earn should be put into savings. Do it like the mormon's do, except the temple is your savings account.
Slush fund--Somewhere around $50-100 a month. It's an important fund separate from savings. It's the buffer for your buffer. Entertainment money is like free floating money. Slush money is like "Okay, shit got serious." Savings money is like "Jeezus Christ. What happened?!"
There's stuff I'm missing for sure, but that's the jist of what I dealt with starting out young and dumb. You can see how the $1000 was the bare bones material with everything slashed. No insurances being paid for, no entertainment money, hand washing clothes, no extras.
I bought this e-book when it was on a 99 cent sale, and I really love the way it breaks down the concepts of living in meaningful, concrete terms with no bullshit. Everything in there was useful to me.
This.. was less so, but I remember liking it, so I added it anyways to here.