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No matter how hard we try, there is no getting away from financial matters and budgeting our way through them. The sooner you create a monthly budget, the better off you will be. The challenge of budgeting is not the creation of the budget itself, but living within the financial parameters that you have set for yourself.

First, you must know how much money you will make when you begin your employment. A good source for helping you learn about expected salary information is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the federal government. The web site,, defines and describes career information by vocation and gives salary information pertaining to your particular occupation of interest.

After you have determined your estimated monthly income, create your budget. Start by listing your monthly net income (after taxes). Then list all anticipated monthly expenses such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, utilities, insurances, consumer debt, student loans, etc. Budget in some savings, no matter how small the amount in the beginning. There are many monthly budget calculators available on the web. The interactive personal budget calculator at is comprehensive and easy to use.

Keep your budget flexible enough to have room for emergencies. Live within your means. Know the difference between want and need. Purchase what you need and save for what you want. Pay cash. Budgeting and being frugal may be difficult in the beginning but will pay off later. The time will come when you can afford the luxuries you want.