Budgeting for Your Home

Creating a Budget

Whether you choose to live in your own home, in an apartment, or with friends or family, you need to have a budget to guide you in paying your expenses and saving for what you may want or need in the future.

To begin creating a budget, gather all of your bills, check stubs and receipts - everything that shows where you get your money and what you spend it on. This can be paychecks, social security or disability benefits, public assistance, utility bills, rent, credit card statements, car payments, grocery store receipts - everything!

Next, use the worksheet inside to write down all of the income you receive every month on one side and total it at the bottom of the page. Then, on the other side, write down all of your monthly expenses and total them. Now, subtract your total expenses from your total income. This will tell you how much money you have left every month to save or spend.

If you have extra money, you may decide to use the money for something you want or need, or you may decide you want to save some of this money for the future. Only you can decide what is important to you.


If your total expenses in your budget are greater than your total income, you will need to lower your monthly expenses or earn more income. Try these tips to lower your expenses:

  • Ask your utility company to put you on a monthly budget. This will help your budget because you will be paying the same amount every month.
  • Use only one credit card. If you have more than one credit card, use the one with the lowest interest rate to pay off the others.  Do not forget to cancel the cards you pay off and cut them up so you do not use them again.
  • Use layaways instead of credit cards. This will add an item to your monthly expenses but is cheaper than using a credit card.
  • Make a shopping list for groceries and household items, and then stick to it when you get to the store.  Only buy items you need.
  • Only carry as much cash as you really need.  If you have extra money with you, you might be tempted to spend it instead of saving it for something more important in the future.
Monthly Expense Worksheet
Cost Budget Amount Actual Amount Spent
Rent or mortgage    
Child care or child support    
Tuition or lessons    
Meals at work or school    
Car loan    
Car insurance    
Gas and car repair    
Public transportation & parking    
Credit cards    
Water & sewer    
Cable television    
Other insurance    
Medical bills    
Membership dues    
Home maintenance    
Saving for home repairs    
Saving for goals    
Christmas club savings    
Children's spending money    
Adult spending money    

If you decide you would like to live on your own or buy your own home, housing counselors can help you create a more detailed budget so you will know what kind of housing you can afford. Credit counselors can help you figure out how to budget your money better and how to save for what you want.

Printed materials are available in Braille, electronic format, cassette tape and large print.