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Determining your Budget

Total Monthly Income $ 0.00
Fixed Expenses $ 0.00
Variable Expenses $ 0.00
Total Monthly Expenses $ 0.00
What's Left $ 0.00

Your Income - Salary

Enter an annual salary. If you don't have a good idea of what you may earn, look through Starting Salaries and find the salary of a job that interests you.

Annual salary: $ 

However, you won't get to take home that entire salary. You will have to pay federal income taxes, perhaps state income tax, and Social Security taxes. Then there are other costs deducted from your check, like health insurance, dental insurance, and contributions to a retirement account.

To learn more, visit Decoding Your Paycheck. Right now, however, let's keep it simple and just work with subtracting your federal income tax from your chosen salary.

Monthly salary after taxes: $ 000000

build your budget

Your Income - Savings

Enter the amount you wish to save: $ 

Select a savings option:

  •  
  •  
  •  

Now that you know what your monthly take-home income is, you're ready to begin making your own budget by deducting expenses.

fixed expenses

Your Fixed Expenses - Housing

Fixed expenses stay the same from month to month, like rent and a car payment. These are the easiest to track in your budget. Select the expenses you want to use to build your budget.

Monthly Rent (includes utilities)
Share a 2 Bedroom aprartment with a roomate
One Bedroom, all on your own
One Bedroom in a choice location
continue

Your Fixed Expenses - Communications

Select the expenses you want to use to build your budget.

Cell Phone
Basic Package
Unlimited Minutes & Long Distance
You text message a lot
Land Line Telephone
Cable TV
Basic
Ultimate Package
Broad Band Internet
continue

Your Fixed Expenses - Transportation

Select the expenses you want to use to build your budget.

Public Transportation
Car Payment
Used (old Ford Escort)
New Mazda A3
New RAV4 or Honda Element
Go for Luxury!
continue

Your Fixed Expenses - Insurance

Select the expenses you want to use to build your budget.

Auto Insurance
High Deductable
Low Deductable
Renters Insurance
continue

Your Fixed Expenses - Savings and Debt

Select the expenses you want to use to build your budget.

Savings
Select the percentage of your salary to transfer
to savings. Remember, pay yourself first.
College Loans
Enter a payment. We have indicated a typical
payment, but you can enter a higher payment.
variable expenses

Your Variable Expenses - Food

Variable expenses are those expenses that change from month to month and can be hard to track.

Groceries
Mostly fresh food - you like to cook
Lots of prepared foods from the deli or frozen
Very little, you eat out a lot
Lunch
Pack your lunch for work ($2 a day)
Buy Lunch 6x a month ($7 a day)
Buy Lunch every workday
Dinner
Eat out 10x a month ($15)
Eat out 20x a month ($15)
continue

Your Variable Expenses - Miscellaneous

Variable expenses are those expenses that change from month to month and can be hard to track.

Fill in the number of purchases each month
Movies and snacks $15 x = $ 000.00
Books $15 x = $ 000.00
Clothing $50 x = $ 000.00
Concert tickets $40 x = $ 000.00
Tank of gas, if you own a car $45 x = $ 000.00
Trips to a coffee house   $4 x = $ 000.00
Fill in an estimate of cash that you may spend each week and not track.
For example, $20? $30? x 4 weeks = $ 000.00
the result

The Result

How much do you have left?

  • Are you spending more than you're making? Go back and adjust the figures until you are spending less than you earn.
  • Are you breaking even? Did you allow enough for savings? If you have, congratulations! You're spending is under control. If you feel deprived in any area, go back and adjust numbers to see if you can shift your spending and still live within your means.
  • Do you have money leftover? Terrific! You might want to invest this money and get it working for you. You could save for a house of your own or treat yourself to a vacation.
try again

TheMintGrad.org has even more information about making your paycheck work for you. When it comes to saving, spending, giving and earning consult with TheMintGrad first! Wondering about your spending habits? Try the What Kind of Spender are You? quiz.