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.
A personal or household budget is an itemized list of expected income and expenses that helps you to plan for how your money will be spent or saved as well as track your actual spending habits. Though the word budget has taken on a more negative connotation over the years invoking an image of pinching pennies or limited spending, a budget is really just a tool_and a great tool at that_to gain better and more accurate insight into your spending habits.