Money Problems – Day 3: What’s Coming In?

Husquarna automower, taken by me 2007-06-02

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Today, I continuing the  series, Money Problems: 30 Days to Perfect Finances.   The series will consist of 30 things you can do in one setting to perfect your finances.  It’s not a system to magically make your debt disappear.  Instead, it is a path to understanding where you are, where you want to be, and–most importantly–how to bridge the gap.

I’m not running the series in 30 consecutive days.  That’s not my schedule.  Also, I think that talking about the same thing for 30 days straight will bore both of us.   Instead, it will run roughly once a week.  To make sure you don’t miss a post, please take a moment to subscribe, either by email or rss.

This is day 3 and today, you are going to take a look at your income.

We are only interested your take-home pay, because that is what you have to base a budget on.  If you base your budget on your gross pay, you’re going to be in trouble when you try to spend the roughly 35% of your check that gets taken for taxes and benefits.

Income is a pretty straight-forward topic.  It is—simply—how much money you make in a month.  If you are like most people, the easiest way to tell how much money you make is to look at your last paycheck.  Then, multiply it by the number of pay periods in a year and divide the total by 12.

Here’s the formula:  Cash x Yearly Pay Periods / 12.  Yay, math!

If you get paid every 2 weeks, multiply your take-home pay by 26, then divide by 12 to figure your monthly pay.   For example, if you make $1000 every two weeks, your annual take-home pay is $26,000.  Divide that by 12 to get your monthly pay of $2166.66.  If you get paid semi-monthly, you’ll take that same $1000 x 24 / 12, for a total of $2000 per month.

Now you know how much you make each month.  Woo!

Is it enough?  Who knows?  We’ll get into that later.  In the meantime, spend some time thinking about ways you can make more money.  Do you have a talent or a hobby that you can turn into cash?

  • If you’re a craftsy type, make stuff and sell it on eBay or Etsy.
  • If you’re a writer, start a blog, sell articles on oDesk, or start writing for paid article directories.  Squidoo has a revenue sharing plan for your articles.
  • Facebook maven?  Start making Pages for companies.  They will pay for it.
  • Are you mechanically inclined?  Watch your local free market sites for lawn mowers and snowblowers that don’t run.  You can fix them up and sell them.
  • If you’re a clean freak, start a home-cleaning service on evenings and weekends.

There are always ways to make some extra money, if you are willing.  Sit down with a friend or loved one and brainstorm what you can do.  Write down anything you can do, you enjoy, or you are good at.  Remember, there are no stupid ideas when you are brainstorming.  The bad ideas will get filtered out later.

How could you make some (more) side cash?

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    1. Another good additional tidbit is to take a look at your Gross vs. Net pay. How much do you get deducted in taxes? or EI? or CPP (for you Canadians)? Pension? Etc., etc.

      Looking at this can help you determine some good optimal goals for income, in that try and get to the top of your tax bracket without going over! Just a thought.

      Here’s another good post for additional income, by the way, just from another blog I read. Hope that helps!

    2. I need more money, I need more money…and so goes our daily existence. What so many of us don’t realize is that until we have managed our emotional growth and maturity, the truth of having all of the money we could imagine would simply result in more money, more problems.


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