The first step in most budgeting methods is to break your spending down into budget categories. This can be confusing. Different people handle money in different ways, and the same categories won’t work for everyone. This list of budget categories is there to help. Scroll through it and select the categories that best fit your spending!

👉 Our post explains various budgeting methods to help you find the one that best suits your financial goals.

Common Budget Categories And What to Include

To help you get started, we compiled a list of budget categories typically found in an average household budget. We also added suggestions on what you can include in each category.

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Budget CategoryWhat to Include
  • Mortgage
  • Rent
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Property taxes
  • HOA dues
  • Home warranty
  • Large appliances
  • Lawn care
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Heating
  • Water
  • Internet
  • Cable
  • Phone
  • Cellphone
  • Trash
  • Recycling
  • Sewer
  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Takeout
  • Fast food
  • Coffee shops
  • Alcohol
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Car maintenace and repair
  • Auto insurance
  • Parking fees
  • Public transportation (subway, bus, train)
  • Airplane tickets
  • Taxis
  • Uber/Lyft
  • EZ Pass
  • DMV Fees
  • AAA
Debt & Loan Payments
  • Credit card debt
  • Student loans
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loan
  • Alimony
  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Renters insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Out-of-pocket costs for primary care
  • Specialty care (therapist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist)
  • Dental care
  • Urgent care
  • Prescriptions
  • Medical devices
  • Senior care
  • Health supplements
  • Child support
  • Baby necessities (diapers, formula, baby food)
  • Daycare
  • Tuition (private school, college)
  • School supplies
  • School lunch
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Tutoring
  • Allowance
  • Baby sitter
Clothing & Personal Care
  • Adult and kids clothing
  • Haircuts
  • Barber
  • Cosmetics
  • Spa
  • Salon visits
Household Supplies
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paper products
  • Furniture
  • Home decorations
  • Small appliances
  • Pool supplies
  • Pet food
  • Pet supplies
  • Grooming
  • Vet visits
  • Pet medication
  • Gym membership
  • Streaming services
  • Magazines
  • Software
  • Books
  • Going out/Bars
  • Hobbies
  • Small electronics
  • Sporting events
  • Concerts
  • Movies
Personal Development
  • Coaching
  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Courses
  • Church donations
  • Donations to nonprofit organizations
  • Online donations
  • Emergency fund
  • Retirement
  • Investments
  • Vacation
  • New car
  • College fund
  • Bank fees
  • Credit card fees

Budget Categories Printable Checklist

  • A checklist to help you build your budget.
  • 100+ budget categories, so you don’t miss any expenses.
  • Free printable for easy tracking.

Download Checklist

Quick Tips

Before set up your budget categories, take a few moments and think about your habits and goals. These ideas are a place to start.

  • Creating a budget that fits your expenses and spending habits is the key to success. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to add more budget categories or adjust others. Using categories that fit your spending habits will help you stick to your budget. You can always add new ones if you come across unexpected expenses.
  • Write down your expenses for the previous month before you start building your budget. This way, you’ll quickly be able to see if you need all these categories in your budget and if you are missing any.
  • For easier tracking, you can combine multiple categories into one umbrella category.
  • One of the most common pitfalls of making a budget is leaving out a budget category that will require money at some point.
  • You don’t have to stick to the same budget each month. If you know that you’ll have new expenses in a month to come, adjust your budget accordingly.
  • If your budget doesn’t succeed in the first month, don’t be discouraged. Look at what went wrong and adjust your budget accordingly. Most people take some time to refine their budgets!
Monthly Budget Spreadsheet Template

Free Monthly Budget Spreadsheet Template

  • This simple monthly budget template makes budgeting fun and exciting.
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    110 Budget Categories: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

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