Over 100 budgeting categories to get anyone started planning their spending

One of the first steps to creating a monthly spending plan or budget is figuring out what categories you need to track. One sure path to failure in creating a spending plan is not forgetting to account for normal expenses. Below you find a list of more than 100 potential budgeting categories to get you started thinking about what items you need to include in your spending plan.

First a couple of considerations before we get to the list.

1. The list is long. It is meant to be comprehensive but I don’t want it to be intimidating. There will be many items here that are completely irrelevant for your situation. If you are single and don’t have children then you probably don’t need to be concerned about things like school supplies or day care. If you are not retired then social security or pensions would not be an item on your budget. The first step in using this list should be to look through it and simply cross off any items that are not relevant to your situation.

2. Now of the remaining items, I would implore you to not try to budget for every category in the list. A spending plan with 60 or 70 categories will quickly become unmanageable and you will give up.

Choose which budgeting categories fit your situation

A good place to start is with the Category headings.  These are general enough to relate to almost everyone’s situation.

Now, look at the remaining categories underneath and decide what you really want to track. There are probably some categories that can be combined. For example, we just budget for groceries. Things like toiletries, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies generally get lumped in with our grocery budget. We often buy those items at the same time and places we buy groceries so trying to separate those out would make the management of that category very cumbersome.

Your budget needs to be comprehensive enough that you aren’t missing things, but simple enough you can follow it. Play around with these categories until you find the right happy medium that services your needs

Income

  • Pay check 1
  • Pay check 2
  • Bonus
  • Investment income or Dividends
  • Rental Income
  • Social Security
  • Pension
  • Unemployment
  • Child Support/Alimony
  • Tax Refunds

Giving

  • Tithes
  • Offerings
  • Charitable Gifts

Saving

  • Emergency Fund
  • Retirement Fund
  • College Fund
  • New Home Down Payment Fund
  • Large Purchase Fund (Think replacement of things like appliances, electronics, furniture or other higher priced items)

Housing

  • Mortgage
  • Repairs/Maintenance
  • Real-Estate Taxes
  • Landscaping
  • Garden Supplies
  • Cleaning Services
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Homeowner’s Association Fees
  • Replace Furniture
  • Rent
  • Renter’s Insurance

Utilities

  • Phone
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Heating
  • Trash
  • Electricity
  • Cell Phone
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Online services (Like Netflix or Hulu)
  • Internet Service

Food

  • Grocery
  • Toiletries
  • Cosmetics
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Restaurants
  • Coffee House

Transportation

  • Car Insurance
  • Repairs and Tires
  • Gas
  • Oil Changes
  • License and Registration Fees
  • Car Replacement
  • Parking Fees
  • Public Transit

Clothing

  • Children
  • Adult
  • Cleaning/Laundry
  • Work Clothing

Medical/Health

  • Primary Care Physician
  • Dentist
  • Optometrist
  • Other/Specialist Visits
  • Medicine/Prescriptions
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Health Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Gym Membership

Personal

  • Child Support
  • Child Care
  • Children’s Allowances/Commissions
  • Baby-Sitter
  • Hair Care
  • Education/Adult
  • College/Private School Tuition
  • School Supplies
  • School Fees
  • Life Insurance
  • Alimony
  • Legal Fees
  • Accountant Fees
  • Tax Preparation
  • Union Dues
  • Organization Dues
  • Safe Deposit Box Rental
  • Gifts (Christmas, Birthdays, Showers, Weddings, Anniversary, other special occasions)
  • Personal Blow Money
  • Postage
  • Books
  • Newspaper subscriptions
  • Pet Supplies
  • Pet Food
  • Veterinary Expenses
  • Miscellaneous

Recreation

  • Entertainment
  • Vacation
  • Sporting events, Theater, Concerts, etc.
  • Video Gaming
  • Golfing, Bowling, etc.
  • Subscriptions
  • Club Memberships

Debts

  • Credit Card 1
  • Credit Card 2
  • Credit Card 3
  • Student Loans
  • Auto Loan 1
  • Auto Loan 2
  • Medical debt
  • Personal Loan

If you would like a downloadable copy of this list you can click on the link below to get the list in PDF form.

The More Money Than Month Comprehensive Budgeting Category List

The list is free to use and share. All I ask is that you note that it came from this site.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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