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Income - Head Matters


1. What Affects Income

a. Factors affecting income (continued)

Identify all your income sources
To identify all of your income sources, you need to gather records showing your income: pay stubs, financial aid records, savings account statements, investment account records, and any other source which provides income to you. If you are paid in cash, you can simply record the amount that you are paid in a place where you can easily access and update it.

If you receive a paycheck or public assistance every month, look for the “Net Pay” amount on the pay stub.  We’re trying to identify your disposable income – the money that is still available for spending after taxes, insurance and other deductions have been removed from your salary.  If you receive a check every two weeks, multiply the amount by two to get a general monthly amount.

If you are a student and receive a check for financial aid at the beginning of each semester or quarter, divide the amount of the check by the number of months it is expected to cover.  For example, Gerri receives a $2,000 grant in September to cover school costs for the semester.  She divides $2,000 by the number of months in the semester (2000/4=500) and enters $500 on her monthly income worksheet. If she knows that she’ll get $4,000 for the two semesters she plans to attend school and she needs to make that last throughout the year, she might divide $4,000 by 12 and record $333 on her monthly income worksheet.

If you are a college student, count all financial aid that you are awarded as income, even that which is not sent to you, but is paid directly to the college. Later, when we look at our spending, we’ll include the total cost of college. It’s important to understand the true cost and value of education.  Remember that any money you borrow through a student loan is money that must be paid back – even the money that’s sent directly to the school.
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