This exercise was created for educational purposes in an effort to help high school or college students understand the importance of budgeting as well as the importance of completing a college degree. The information gleaned from this exercise should not be used for personal financial decision making. Users needing financial advice should contact a qualified financial professional.
Students can perform this personal budget exercise twice. The students would first choose an occupation and earnings level they can expect to realize absent a college degree. Directions for finding the occupations and their corresponding average wage levels are on the "Income" page of this exercise. Students will input this average wage on the "Income" page. An offset for estimated taxes will also be made on this page.
After inputting their expected income, the students move on to the following pages where they estimate their monthly expenses for housing, automobile, student loans, savings, and general living items. The last page provides a summary of their spendable income minus anticipated expenses. The summary page includes a place where the students can enter their name and the occupation title they chose along with whether this occupation is with a degree or without a degree. Students can easily print this page to turn in to their instructor.
They should do the exercise for a second time choosing an occupation and earnings level they can expect to realize with a college degree of their choosing. If a student's expenses still exceed their spendable income under this scenario, they should work on balancing their budget.
Directions for Students: You'll begin the exercise on the "Income" page determining the earnings you'll have access to given various employment scenarios. Go to the income page and follow the directions. You'll be asked to input income and expense estimates into white boxes. Some of the expenses will be estimated for you. If you feel the estimated expense figure is inappropriate, simply input the appropriate variable in place of the one that is calculated for you.