Over the years, we have written a lot on budgeting from a business perspective. Yet, we as individuals often need assistance in our own personal budgeting. Hence, today’s topic: a family budget calculator. Last month, we covered the role of budgeting in holiday shopping.

First, we cite some past business-oriented posts for you to peruse:


A Family Budget Calculator from EPI

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is “a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, and retirement security.”

Accordingly, EPI devised an easy-to-use family budget calculator:

It “calculator measures the income a family needs to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living. The calculator estimates community-specific costs for 10 family types (one or two adults with zero to four children) in all counties and metro areas in the United States. As compared with the federal poverty line and the Supplemental Poverty Measure, EPI’s family budgets provide a more accurate and complete measure of economic security in America.”

Below, we present illustrative budgets based on the EPI calculator. In each example, the family contains two adults and one child. The charts differ by geographic location. After looking at the samples, click here to project a budget in your area. Note: The budgets are general in nature. Indeed, factors such as age are not included. 

In reviewing the charts, please note the differences in the five cities. For Akron, Austin, and Miami-Dade, the cost of living is moderate. In contrast, the cost of living for Nassau-Suffolk and San Francisco is expensive.

What do YOU think of this family budget calculator?  After inputting your own data, comment on the budget projection shown for YOU.


Akron, Ohio

A Family Budget Calculator -- Akron

Austin, Texas

A Family Budget Calculator -- Austin

Miami-Dade, Florida

A Family Budget Calculator -- Miami-Dade

Nassau-Suffolk, New York

A Family Budget Calculator --Nassau-Suffolk


San Francisco, California

A Family Budget Calculator -- San Francisco

16 Replies to “A Family Budget Calculator”

  1. The family budget calculator lacks certain information that might alter the results, but wouldn’t dramatically impact the end number. Having some sort of base as the one provided by the family budget calculator is very helpful to plan for the future and to be aware of the costs for the year. It brings monthly and yearly costs to perspective; it is a very realistic measurement. In the future I personally would use it to make sure I’m staying on budget.

  2. I’ve seen a lot of apps pop up for functions like this. They included apps for saving up for a house, saving for a wedding, saving for college and more. I think these applications are all really helpful, and can even act as a motivator for many people who have a hard time taking their own advice for saving money. Like the example above, the options to be able to include your family specifics, goals and limitations is a great tool for people who struggle to save. I personally happen to enjoy the element of changing the area you live in. Since we are on Long Island, saving and budgeting for an apartment and living on our owns seems expensive (and daunting) so this is definitely a tool I will be considering in the near future.

  3. The family budget calendar seems simple enough to make but yet overlooked. This is such a smart way to organize the budget and be aware of what you’re spending. This also could show if a family is spending too much on something. For the children, it’s a great way to learn what a budget is and to grow up being aware of how you spend. I think the budget should be a guideline, but not how you make every choice. Overall, I think it’s a great way to stay on track with your spending.

  4. Budgets are very important in many aspects in life. Businesses use budgets and every day people. This Family budget calculator is very useful. It can help you decide on how much to spend. Also it gives you an idea for the entire year on how much money you need to make. Long island is extremely expensive and tools like this will help many families.

  5. Budgeting is one of the most useful skills in life. Learning to budget your money properly can really help to stretch your money. This family budget tool is very useful. It can help families manage their money and have a better idea on how much they should be spending.

  6. It isn’t until we grow older that we start to understand the importance of managing money. And learning how to budget your money is a big advantage. I’ve seen so many Apps that help budget your money and keep track of what you are spending on the most monthly. I think the family budget tool is very useful because it helps families understand where there money is going to, and even set up goals.

  7. Budgeting is an extremely important life skill that can help anyone manage money and be successful in life. This calculator is a great way to make sure your family has the correct funding and can succeed in the future. This is a great way to make sure you are on track with your spending and your income.

  8. After inputting my information into the budget calculator I was shocked at how much money it costs for my family to live in Suffolk County, compared to other counties. I think budgeting is very important because if one does not track how much money they need for different expenses they may experience financial problems. I try to budget with my own paycheck in order to save and manage my spending.

  9. Budgeting in general can be a really difficult thing for many people and families. However, it is a crucial component in remaining financially stable and living comfortably. The family budgeting tool offered by the EPI is an incredibly useful program that allows you to input the area you live with the amount of people in your family. Based on my family that lives in Nassau county with 5 people, the calculator estimated we have expenses of about $168,874 annually. I definitely will use this calculator when I move out and am looking for an area to settle because it will be really useful for me to figure out a budget after school.

  10. As most of the wage earners are on a fixed income and have various constant and some unexpected expenses, budgeting is really important to keep a track of simple household finances and make sure that the expenses do not run over the income earned. The calculator uses a lot of good measures and is really useful in calculating a budget for a family.

  11. the budget calculator is a great way to track your spending/income. It is very important to know how to manage your money skills especially when you have a family. I think this took is very useful and helps you set a goal for the future.

  12. A budget calculator is a great tool for someone to have especially in todays society with prices going up and down constantly in our economy. Money management is a necessary skill for someone to have especially if you have a family. Raising a family can be very expensive, add in kids too its a whole different ball game. Electric bills, water bills, college tuition, etc, these things aren’t cheap so without a doubt there would be a HUGE benefit into having a budget calculator to help you out with your finances.

  13. Overall, I feel that this budget calculator is very helpful and insightful. Despite the fact that it is not completely accurate because it does not take a lot of other factors into account, such as age, gender, a larger family size, and others, it still accurately predicts budgets to the best of its abilities. This can be very helpful for well-off and struggling families alike as it calculates information based on area, so it is mostly specific to that families needs. However, as much as it can help, it should not be allowed to completely determine a money management plan for a family and should only be taken as a consideration when planning a budget for a family.

    1. In addition, it predicted my family budget rather accurately as my town and correct family size was able to be selected.

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