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.
List your expenses starting with the most important to the least important. Listing the expenses in order makes it easier to make cuts in your budget if needed. The most important should be things that cover your necessities. You will need to cover your housing, food, utilities (not including cable television), transportation costs, debt payments, and savings goals first. Then you will list luxury items which can include clothing, entertainment, eating out and gym memberships.