Step 1: Note your net income. The first step in creating a budget is to identify the amount of money you have coming in. Keep in mind, however, that it's easy to overestimate what you can afford if you think of your total salary as what you have to spend. Remember to subtract your deductions for Social Security, taxes, 401(k) and flexible spending account allocations when creating a budget worksheet. Your final take_home pay is called net income, and that is the number you should use when creating a budget.Tip: If you have a hobby or a talent, you may be able to find a way to supplement your income. Having an extra source of income can also be helpful if you ever lose your job.
If you carry a credit card balance, the minimum payment is a "need" and it counts toward the 50 percent. Anything extra is an additional debt repayment, which goes toward this 20 percent category. If you carry a mortgage or a car loan, the minimum payment is a "need" and any extra payments count toward "savings and debt repayment."