Our Basic Income Needs Generator (BING) is a tool to calculate Real Cost Measure Budgets.

The Real Cost Measure is a Basic Needs Budget approach to better understand the challenges facing America’s households, which was developed by the United Ways of California.

More information can be found here: https://www.unitedwaysca.org/realcost. A BING-API-powered household budget widget can be found here.

In summer 2023, the BING API expanded from CA-only service to offer API-based budgets nationwide.

To get started using the BING API…

  • GET calls can be made at the following endpoint:
    • http://bing.benefitkitchen.com/api/bing?
  • The following parameters are required:
    • persons[0][age]=integer 
    • &persons[N][age]=integer 
    • &address=ZIP
    • &year=2021 [optional]

Sample Call and output:


The resulting JSON can be used in applications or widgets where the cost of individual categories of expenses are needed… the “expenses” object below is an example. In San Diego County HUD indicates that it costs $2,124 for a two-bedroom apartment and USDA indicates that it costs $1,121 to feed a family of three:

expenses: {
rent: 2124,
food: 1121,
healthcare: 755,
transportation: 530,
childcare: 1177,
misc: 571