Making Ends Meet

2. Your Family Income

Once you have determined your family goals, the next step in developing a spending and saving plan is to figure out how much income you will have to work with. If income is from more than one source and comes at different times of the month, it is wise to look at the total income for a month. Income can come from a variety of sources, such as earnings from a job, interest, rents, public assistance, social security, or child support.

When you total the family’s income, it is important to be accurate and include only income that is “for sure,” not what it “might be.” For example, if income varies each pay period, use an average or low figure, not the largest ever received. If wages are seasonal and might not be received some weeks or months, figure the average income over the year on a monthly or weekly basis. Save money for those weeks or months when there is no paycheck.

Plan only on “disposable” income, that is, what is left after taxes and other deductions. The following chart can help you organize and determine how much income your family has to work with.

Our Family Income

Source of Income When Received Amount per Pay Period Amount per Month
1. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
2. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
3. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
4. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
5. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
6. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
7. _______________________ ________________ ____________ ____________
Total Monthly Family Income $___________