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Create a Budget

male healthcare student

Make plans for your money so that you can meet your needs today and in the future.

Start With What You Need

What you need is very different than what you want. "Cost of living" is what you pay for necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and health care.

The cost of living in Minnesota varies in the different areas of the state. Check out costs for things like rent, gas, groceries, and other expenses in the places you want to live. It also helps to look at the wages offered for jobs in your area. This knowledge helps you set realistic goals for your budget and salary needs.

Lifestyle Choices

Think about how much money you want to spend in categories such as housing, clothing, and entertainment. For example, do you plan to have a small budget for food and groceries, and eat at home most of the time? Or do you plan to eat out a lot, which is more expensive? How you choose to spend your money affects how much you need to make.

Your income is also affected by the amount of education or formal training you have or plan to complete. In general, positions that require more education pay better than lower-skilled jobs.

Create Your Budget

Make copies of the Personal Budget (178k, .pdf). You can create a budget to use now. Then make others that show how much money you might earn and spend in a few years. See how your money plans change when you add or cut expenses. You can also change your income to make a different budget.

Review Your Budget

If you are married and/or have children, plan your money with your family members.

  • Do you have enough for savings and the things you need?
  • Can you spend less on the things that are "nice to have" but not needed?
  • Where can you cut costs? Sometimes people eat out less or buy fewer supplies to save money.

Sometimes people learn to live without cable TV or use a cheaper cell phone service.

Think about how to budget for your long-term goals. How much money will you need for job training? How will you pay for school? Will you need a uniform or tools for the job you want? Make sure you've thought about these expenses when you make your budget.

Additional Resources

Use the resources below for general advice about budgeting.

Resource Use if I'm looking for... Source
Reality Check A dynamic way to see how lifestyle choices affect the amount of money I will earn. CAREERwise Education
FinancePlan Information about money management skills and creating a financial plan. GPS LifePlan
Value of Your Dollar An exercise to connect my values to my spending. Job Seekers Guide