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NerdWallet wants to set you up for success by helping you create a realistic budget that .
We advocate the 50/30/20 budget as the best way to spend your money responsibly.
Use our calculator to estimate how you should divide your monthly income into needs, wants and savings.
Our 50/30/20 calculator divides your take-home income into three categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings and debt repayment.
The 50/30/20 rule is a popular budgeting method that splits your monthly income between three main categories. Here's how it breaks down:
Monthly after-tax income. This figure is your income after taxes have been deducted and the cost of payroll deductions for health insurance, 401(k) contributions or other automatic savings have been added back in.
50% of your income: needs. Necessities are the expenses you can’t avoid. This portion of your budget should cover costs such as:
30% of your income: wants. isn’t always easy and can vary from one budget to another. Generally, though, wants are the extras that aren’t essential to living and working. They’re often for fun and may include:
20% of your income: savings and debt. Savings is the amount you sock away to prepare for the future. Devote this chunk of your income to paying down existing debt and creating a comfortable financial cushion to avoid taking on future debt.
How, exactly, to use this part of your budget depends on your situation, but it will likely include:
For more budgeting advice, including how to prioritize your savings and debt-repayment, review our tips for and utilize our . Then, consult our guide.
Not sure how to start budgeting? Downloading a or reading a may help.
Or . We’ll track your spending in one place and identify areas where you can save.
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