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Cost of Living

You've thought about how much money you want. But do you know how much money you NEED?

"Cost of living" is what you pay for necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and health care.

Your cost of living will most likely change within the next five or 10 years. You might move from an apartment to a house. Or you might have to start — or stop — paying child support. All of these things affect how much money you need on a monthly or yearly basis.

The cost of living in Minnesota varies in the different areas of the state. Check out costs for things like rent, gas, groceries, and other expenses in the places you want to live. It also helps to look at the wages offered for jobs in your region. This knowledge helps you set realistic goals for your budget and salary needs.

Lifestyle Choices

Think about how much money you want to spend in categories such as housing, clothing, and entertainment. For example, do you plan to have a small budget for food and groceries, and eat at home most of the time? Or do you plan to eat out a lot, which is more expensive? How you choose to spend your money affects how much you need to make.

Online tools, like the "Reality Check," help you to see how lifestyle choices affect the amount of money you need to earn.

Your income is also affected by the amount of education for formal training you have or plan to complete. In general, positions that require more education pay better than lower-skilled jobs.

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