Step One: Calculate Your After_Tax Income. Your after_tax income is what remains of your paycheck after taxes are taken out, such as state tax, local tax, income tax, Medicare, and Social Security. If you're an employee with a steady paycheck, your after_tax income should be easy to figure out. Look at your paystubs. If health care, retirement contributions, or any other deductions are taken out of your paycheck, add them back in.
If you already own your home or you're locked into a lease, you're pretty much stuck with that ũ귔 payment. Consider relocating when your lease expires to make your budget more manageable or take a look at your other "needs" to see if there's a way that you can reduce any of them. Maybe shop for more affordable insurance or transfer the balance on that credit card to one with a lower interest rate so your minimum payment drops a bit. Your goal is to be able to fit all these expenses into 50 percent of your take_home after_tax income.