Deciding between paying down loans and building your savings can be tough

Deciding between paying down loans and building your savings can be tough

Car Payment: If youre making payments on a car loan or lease, enter that monthly amount in the budget calculator here. If you have more than one payment, simply add them together.

Car Insurance: Enter your monthly car insurance payment here. If you pay your car insurance premium every 6 months instead of monthly, divide that payment by 6 to get the monthly amount. Enter that number in the budget calculator on this line.

Gas/Fuel: If youre not sure what to enter here, think about the last time you filled your cars gas tank. How much did you pay? Then, ask yourself how many times you fill your tank in an average month. Multiply the two numbers together and enter that amount on this line.

Remember, if youre creating a joint or family budget and you pay for gas for more than one vehicle, add the amounts for each vehicle together to get the total for the monthly budget calculator.

Car Repairs: Even if your car is under warranty, most car owners still need to pay for routine maintenance like oil changes, brake pads, and new tires. This is another place where the amount can vary wildly from one month to the next.

  1. Do the best you can to estimate your actual monthly cost
  2. Choose an amount to set aside every month toward a maintenance “fund”
  3. Use your “emergency fund” to cover maintenance and repairs

Educational Expenses

School Supplies: This line can be used for anything from college books to pads and pencils for your elementary-school kids. If this doesnt apply to you at all, simply leave it blank.

College Tuition: If you pay tuition fees by the quarter or semester, add up your total annual tuition and fees and divide by 12 to get a monthly amount. Just remember to set the funds aside each month until that bill comes due.

Student Loans: If youre carrying student loans, use this line to enter the total amount you pay on those loans every month. You can also use this line to budget extra money toward those loans if you want to pay them down faster.

If youre not sure which way to go, check out the FAQ below: Is it more important to pay off debt or build my savings?

Food and Personal Expenses

Groceries/Household: These 2 items are grouped together to cover groceries and supplies. That includes food, personal care items like soap and shampoo, and household supplies like grocery bags. Estimate your monthly grocery and supply expenses and enter that number on this line.

If youre not sure how much to include, add up all your grocery store bills from the last 3 months and divide by 3. That should give you a solid estimate. Enter that number into the monthly budget calculator. If the last 3 months were higher or lower than usual, consider averaging your bills over the last 12 months instead.

Entertainment: Take a moment to consider all your regular entertainment expenses. That includes everything from dinners at your favorite restaurant to Netflix. Estimate the total amount and enter it here.

Pet Supplies: If you have household pets, remember to add a little extra to this monthly amount to save up for things like annual shots – and kennel fees when you go on vacation. Add that to whatever you pay for monthly supplies like dog food and cat litter, and enter it here.

Clothing: If youre making a family budget, remember to include enough to cover the annual cost of new clothes for your growing kids.

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