Post-College Budgeting

Congratulations! You've officially made it to the "real world!" A huge part of being a responsible adult is managing your finances, and in order to do that, you need to have a budget. Without a budget, it's nearly impossible to keep track of your expenses and income.

When you're making a budget for the first time, you may have to estimate some figures. However, if you keep track of your receipts and paycheck stubs for a few months, you should be able to get a pretty accurate picture of what your regular income and expenses will be. You should always remember that unexpected circumstances can arise - things like a flat tire, car repairs, or home repairs can be costly. On the other hand, you never know when you'll receive a gift, a tax refund, or a bonus at work, resulting in some extra income! This budget will help you track your regular monthly income and expenses.

Step One: Monthly Income
Monthly Take Home Pay After Taxes $
Other After Tax Income $
Total Monthly Income $
Step Two: Monthly Expense
Rent $
Gas and Electricity $
Water $
Phone $
Cell Phone or Long Distance $
Student Loan Payments $
Credit Card Payments from existing balances $
Car Loan or Public Transportation $
Clothing $
Personal Items (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) $
Groceries $
Dining Out $
Health Insurance $
Prescription $
Entertainment (Movies, Nights Out, etc.) $
Cable T.V./Satellite Dish $
Internet Access $
Gym Membership $
Miscellaneous $
Total Monthly Expense $
Step Three: Remaining Funds
Monthly Income After Taxes $
Monthly Expenses $
Total Monthly Remaining $
Step Four: Analysis

How much do you have left each month?

If this amount is a positive number, you stayed within your budget! While it might be tempting to spend this extra money, there are several much smarter things to do with it. You can put it toward an extra payment on your student loans or credit card debt or you can save or invest it.

But if it's a negative number, you need to take another look at your income and expenses. You will have to find ways to reduce what you're spending or earn more money. Look closely at what you're spending and see where you can save!


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