121 Budget Categories - Ideas To Inspire Your Budget

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One of the hardest parts of creating a budget is deciding how to categorize and plan for your expenses. No matter how hard you think about it, you’ll definitely miss a few budget categories on your first try, especially if you're used to using a simple method like the 50/30/20 rule of budgeting. Don’t worry, it’s easy to add them as they arise in day to day living.

I’ve built this budget categories cheat sheet to help you capture as many as you can on your first try.

Some people like a nice, short budget. They plan their expenses at a high level. They have only a few categories such as food, housing, transportation, family, and fun. Others prefer planning and tracking expenses in greater detail so that they can optimize their spending. Whether you plan at a high level or enjoy planning for every possible eventuality, here are 121 budget categories to use as inspiration for your own budget.

121 budget categories to inspire your budget

Food budget categories

  • Groceries
  • Dining out
  • Work lunches
  • Social eating
  • Vending machines
  • Coffee
  • Meal delivery services
  • School lunches

Shelter budget categories

Monthly shelter expenses

  • Mortgage
  • Rent
  • HOA fees
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Natural gas
  • Trash
  • Sewer
  • Landscaping
  • Phone bill
  • Internet
  • Security system subscription

Non-monthly shelter expenses

  • Property taxes
  • Home insurance
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Furniture
  • Decorations
  • Home repair
  • Appliance replacement
  • Roof replacement
  • Outdoor improvement projects

Clothing budget categories

Monthly clothing expenses

  • Laundry
  • Dry cleaning
  • Clothing essentials (socks, underwear…)
  • Clothing shopping

Non-monthly clothing expenses

  • Seasonal clothing items (coats, boots, swimsuits…)
  • Back to school clothing
  • Formal wear
  • Halloween costumes

Transportation budget categories

Monthly transportation expenses

  • Gas
  • Public transportation passes
  • Tolls
  • Car wash
  • Parking

Non-monthly transportation expenses

  • Car repairs and maintenance
  • Car insurance
  • Vehicle registration fees

Household management budget categories

Monthly household management expenses

  • Amazon Prime subscription
  • House cleaning services

Non-monthly household management expenses

  • Kitchen essentials (paper towels, paper plates, napkins, dishes, utensils…)
  • Bathroom essentials (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving supplies, feminine hygiene…)
  • Home essentials (laundry detergent, lightbulbs, batteries, tools…)
  • Tax preparation

Giving budget categories

  • Charity
  • Tithing
  • Birthday gifts
  • Holiday gifts
  • Anniversary gifts

Debt budget categories

  • Credit card payments (even if you pay them off in full every month)
  • Annual credit card fees
  • Student loan payments
  • Car payments
  • Personal loan payments

Health and wellness budget categories

Monthly health and wellness expenses

  • Gym membership
  • Hair appointments
  • Makeup and beauty products
  • Diet programs
  • Workout apps
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Therapy
  • Prescriptions
  • Medical insurance premiums
  • Dental insurance premiums
  • Vision insurance premiums
  • Life insurance premiums

Non-monthly health and wellness expenses

  • Health insurance deductible
  • Annual gym fees
  • Glasses and contacts
  • First-aid supplies
  • 72-hour kit
  • Emergency preparedness

Entertainment and fun budget categories

Monthly entertainment and fun expenses

  • Movie theater tickets and snacks
  • Concerts and special events
  • Music streaming subscriptions (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Tidal…)
  • Video streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, YouTube Premium…)
  • Hobby related subscriptions (Adobe Creative Suite, web hosting, club memberships…)

Non-monthly entertainment and fun expenses

  • Travel and vacations
  • Hobby related expenses (fishing gear, camera, camping equipment…)
  • Day trips
  • Long weekends or weekend trips
  • Family reunions

Education and learning budget categories

  • Books
  • Museums
  • Online courses
  • Community classes
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Newspaper subscriptions
  • Instapaper subscription
  • Readwise subscription

Childcare budget categories

Monthly childcare expenses

  • Babysitter
  • Daycare
  • Music lessons
  • Sports lessons
  • Subscription boxes
  • Arts, crafts, and toys

Non-monthly childcare expenses

  • School fees and registration
  • School supplies
  • Camps and programs
  • Field trips and outings
  • Holiday supplies and parties

Pet budget categories

  • Purchase a pet
  • Pet licenses
  • Pet rent
  • Pet food
  • Pet equipment (toys, treats, crates…)
  • Veterinarian visits
  • Pet grooming
  • Pet insurance

Savings budget categories

  • Emergency fund
  • College fund for children
  • Retirement contributions
  • Special large purchases (furniture, vehicles, expensive toys…)
  • Down payment for a home

Budget Categories - Summary

No matter which budget categories you choose to include in your budget, there are a ton of options to suit your personal lifestyle and goals.

What budget categories would you like to see me add to the list?

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