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See How Much Money it Takes to Be Financially Secure in Your Town

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What follows is a Family Budge Calculator put out by the Economic Policy Institute. www.epi.org/resources/budget/ The example shown here is for a two parent family with two children living in the capital city of New Jersey, Trenton. A typical family there needs over $75,000 in income per year to be financially secure. That means each parent would have to work full-time and be making at least $18/hour. Or, if only one parent worked, they would need to be pulling in $36/hour for their family to be financially secure. This is a long ways from minimum wage.

Family Budget Calculator

EPI’s Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard by estimating community-specific costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children).

As compared with official poverty thresholds such as the federal poverty line and Supplemental Poverty Measure, EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by. [To see and use the actual calculator for yourself readers of WordPress must go to the website at  http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/ ]


Family Types include:

One Parent, One Child One Parent, Two Children One Parent, Three Children Two Parents, One Child Two Parents, Two Children Two Parents, Three Children

States Include:


Area Names In New Jersey Include:

Atlantic City, NJ MSA Bergen-Passaic, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Jersey City, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Monmouth-Ocean, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Newark, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Ocean City, NJ MSA Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ MSA Warren County, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area


Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA (NJ)

Two Parents, Two Children



Monthly Housing


Monthly Food


Monthly Child Care


Monthly Transportation


Monthly Health Care


Monthly Other Necessities


Monthly Taxes


Monthly Total


Annual Total


Family budgets are for 2013.

Learn more about EPI’s Family Budget Calculator

DATA: Download source data (Excel)



  1. TamrahJo says:

    LOL – Calculator says I need an income of 49,581/year – We are living off $13,000/year….Last year, I had 19,000 and had to pay state taxes – 😛

    • TamrahJo says:

      I will also say it’s a sad state of affairs when your monthly Taxes and Healthcare costs (which I presume includes insurance) are more than what you spend on food and shelter….

    • DataHeart says:

      I don’t know your circumstances but chances are you have some form of government assistance whether it is medical, housing, SS, earned income tax credits, transportation, etc. On the other hand you might just be one of those rare folks who know how to make do with what you have. I know there are several sources that say in the area I live you need about $36K to be secure and self-sufficient. That seems about right, giver or take. Families who make less than that get by renting rooms in a house rather than an apartment, etc.

      • TamrahJo says:

        I qualify for it all, apparently, but have not yet had to file, as I believe there are many in worse circumstances than I am – however, it is stressful when the unexpected comes up – I am, however, building a life that will be easier to sustain upon the amount we do have – – garden..which shall greatly aide in the Food/Healthcare costs! 😉

      • DataHeart says:

        My mother-in-law lived in a town that froze property taxes for anyone over 72 years old. She refused to apply for about 10 years because she wanted to do her part. We finally talked her into it when her financial condition was so dire she really had no choice. She was the product of the Great Depression and WW2, a real stone soup individualist, and she believed paying taxes was her patriotic duty. Not much of that going around anymore. She died in January at the age of 92, a proud and wonderful woman.

      • TamrahJo says:

        If it’s the difference between whether my son eats or not, I’ll do it, but for now, it doesn’t seem necessary – and while I do not mind doing my share, I do mind that not only do I not empty the public coffers by applying for aide, I also am expected to contribute generously on the little bit I do have… LOL Que sera, sera, it is what it is –

  2. TamrahJo says:

    Reblogged this on The Good, Bad and Ludicrous and commented:
    An interesting exercise – here’s my results:
    Rural (CO)
    One Parent, One Child
    Item Cost
    Monthly Housing $774
    Monthly Food $369
    Monthly Child Care $728
    Monthly Transportation $570
    Monthly Health Care $1000
    Monthly Other Necessities $292
    Monthly Taxes $399
    Monthly Total $4132
    Annual Total $49581

    Does anyone else find it curious that Taxes and Healthcare combined result in more expenditure than Shelter and Food?

  3. Nice Post. Its really a very good article. I noticed all your important points. Thanks”

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