Over 100 budget categories to help nail your budget
Have you got your budget nailed? There are so many budget categories that could possibly apply to you, it’s easy to miss some.
I have had a budget for years, but I’ve not always been that brilliant at managing to stay on budget. One of the reasons I’ve slipped up before is not putting money aside for things that I regularly spend money on (stationery was a repeat offender).
Working through the budget categories can help anyone!
As a seasoned budgeter, compiling this list was fascinating for me. It definitely showed me that there are some areas that I should be accounting for in my monthly spend. So hopefully, you will find it helpful too.
So work your way through the list, and tweak your budget if you find some categories that apply to you.
If you just want a visual, scroll to the bottom of the page for the infogram…
Further reading: If you need some help making a budget or finding out more try “The Ultimate Guide to Budgeting“
The first and best of all budget categories! Income. I’d be highly surprised if you miss anything off this part of the budget. Most of us are highly aware of all the money coming our way…
- Dividend income
- Alimony/ child support
- Side hustle income
This is one of the most expensive budget categories, but did you remember to account for garden costs in the summer? Or for occasional payments for repairs to shared areas? Or for those lucky enough to have a pool – what does this maintenance cost?
- Mortgage payments
- Property taxes
- Household repairs
- Common parts fees
- Pool costs
Of all the budget categories this one can vary hugely from family to family. It’s also the category that’s easiest to make cutbacks in if money is tight. Drinks includes drinks on nights out and also coffees in the day.
- Fast food
This is my nomination for the most boring of budget categories but all very necessary.
Don’t forget to shop around for cheap cell phone deals – once your contract is up, time to scope out the market…
- House phone
- Cell phone
Getting from A to B is an important budget category that can eat up more of our budget than we realise.
Regular expenses like commuting are easy to account for but often there are hidden annual expenses such as maintenance, or parking season tickets. See if any of these jog your memories…
- Car payment
- Car maintenance
- MOT/ car health check
- Toll fees
- Car tax
- Car insurance
- Taxi/ Uber
- Emergency roadside assistance
The older I get, the more insurance I seem to have. Maybe it’s the fear factor, maybe I’m just a bit more sensible…
Do you have all these insurances? Are there more that you have that I haven’t listed here?
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Optical insurance
- House insurance
- Contents insurance
- Income protection
- Medical devices
- Braces other medical care
I tend to include household supplies and cleaning stuff in my grocery budget, but I often forget to account for nick nacks and tools. These are only occasional spends but they all add up.
- Cleaning products
- Tools and maintenance
- Kitchen items
- Household supplies – detergent, paper towels
- Accessories e.g. vase
PERSONAL CARE & GROOMING
This is one of the budget categories that can really add up. Previously I included a lot of these sorts of products in my grocery budget, but it deserves its own category of budget because you can (and should if you can afford it) spend a fair whack on looking after yourself.
(I’m not suggesting you have a massage every day, but looking and feeling good does wonders for your self esteem and get up and go).
- Hair products
- Salon/ barber
- Personal trainer
- Creams and serums
- Massage/ facial
- Dry cleaning
Another of the budget categories that I discovered often stiffs me on the budget is “Children’s Parties”. Every time my son goes to a party we have to buy a present, wrap and card – and sometimes an outfit too.
These days there is at least one party a month, so worth budgeting for…
- Charity direct debits
- Spontaneous giving
- Children’s parties
- Special occasions
- School supplies
- School fees
- School parking
- Exam fees
Printer ink… sometimes more expensive than the printer…
- Printer ink
I can’t wait til I pay off my debts. This is one of those budget categories that I would love to see the back of permanently!
- Student loans
- Credit cards
- Personal loan
ENTERTAINMENT & FUN
Many of us are chronic under-estimaters of what we spend on this category.
It’s important to budget enough for fun and entertainment. Life is for living. We all need to work towards our financial goals, but if we can’t enjoy things on the way, what’s the point?
Having said that, knowing what you can spend on fun and then sticking to it means there is balance in the universe.
- Holiday spending
- Sporting events
- New tech
- Going out
- Eating out
NB Did you know dating is different for men and women when it comes to spending? Read more in “The Cost of Love: Differences in Dating Expenses Between Men and Women”
Subs all add up! They might be small amounts, but if you have a few, they can easily cost $50 or £50 plus every month.
So make sure you know what all your subscriptions are, and perhaps you might find some that you don’t need any more and save a few bucks in the process.
- TV subs Netflix, Hulu, Now TV
- Societies – annual fees
- Amazon prime
- Spotify/ music
- Sports subs
- Computer subs
- Dropbox/ cloud storage
You usually know how much you’re putting aside for savings, but watch out for direct debits for small savings pots.
For example, I put a small amount into my son’s pension every month. It’s listed in my budget now, but wasn’t always!
- Emergency fund
- Saving for large items e.g. car
- Saving to protect income
- Kids savings
Kids. They’re expensive little critters. Worth every penny of every budget category though.
- After school clubs
- Learning instruments
- Kids clothes
- Sports gear
- Pet insurance
- Pet food
- Pet toys and treats
- Vet fees
- Vet meds
- Financial adviser
- Overdraft/ credit card interest
- Banking fees
Budget categories summary
Well I hope these budget categories have helped you understand some of your spending areas that you might have overlooked.
If there are any I’ve missed let me know!
Further reading: If you want to know a bit more about organising your personal finances try “Anyone can be good with money, here’s how to start”.
Budget categories infogram
If you’d like a graphic version of all the above info, here it is! Please pin it or share it if it’s been useful.