80+ Personal Budget Categories to Make your Budget

personal budget list

Budget Expense Categories

When you are making your budget, it is important to account for each expense that you pay out. 

I know from experience that forgetting about a particular budget expense can really mess up your finances for the rest of this month.

So it is important to plan for every budget category that might come up in your monthly expenses, and add those categories to your budget.

In this post I have created a Master List of Personal Budget Categories to help you fully plan out your budget. Not all of these will apply to you, but then again there may be something listed here that you forgot to add.

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Personal Budget List

Housing. Housing is going to be your biggest expense item, almost guaranteed. This category includes:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Property Taxes
  • Home Repairs/Improvements
  • Home Owners/Renters Insurance
  • Lawn Care
  • Home Warranty
  • Home Security System/Service

Food. The food budget category will be another big part of your budget. This category is easier to lower however, with carefully planning meals, eating out less, etc. But this category includes:

  • Groceries
  • Take Out
  • Restaurants
  • Meal Planning Programs (a great one to help lower your grocery bill is the $5 Meal Plan)
  • Coffee/Snacks on the go

Utilities. Utilities are important to account for. While they could have been included in housing, I wanted to separate them so you can see how much is being spent on utilities, and maybe work to lower it. This category includes:

  • Water/Sewer
  • Garbage
  • Electric
  • Natural Gas or Propane
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Cable

Transportation. There are many versions of transportation, and no matter what you use, you need to plan for it in your budget. This category includes:

  • Car Insurance
  • Car Payment
  • Gas 
  • Oil Changes
  • Parking Fees
  • Public Transportation Fees
  • Toll Fees/Passes
  • Registration Fees
  • Car Repairs

Retirement. My husband and I are big on saving for retirement. We throw as much as we can toward our retirement accounts each year. It gives us peace of mind knowing we are planning for the future. Your budget might include these retirement categories:

  • 401(k) of 403(b)
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional IRA 
  • Other Investment Accounts

Medical Expenses. Doctor visits are necessary. Account for them in your budget with a medical expenses budget category. You might include the following:

  • Medical Office Visits
  • Dental Care
  • Prescriptions
  • Vision
  • Specialist visits and copays

Debt. Oh man. For a long time, debt was our BIGGEST budget category. You can read how we paid off 6 figures of student loans here. But if you are paying down debt, it needs to go in your budget. Don’t forget:

  • Student Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Personal Loan
  • Car Payment (unless you put this under transportation)
  • Payments for consumer items (furniture, electronics, cell phone, etc.)

Insurance. You NEED Insurance. Insurance gives you peace of mind in the craziness that is life. Some of the insurance you might consider are:

  • Medical
  • Life (Term life, not whole life)
  • Disability
  • Auto Insurance (unless you included this in transportation. Don’t double count it)
  • Home Owners (unless you put this in housing)
  • Flood Insurance (usually it is extra from home owners)
  • Personal Property
  • Dental

Savings. If you are out of debt, planning for savings in your budget should be a necessity. There are SO MANY things you can save for, that it would be impossible to name them all. But consider:

  • $1000 Starter Emergency Fund
  • 3-6 Months Fully Funded Emergency Fund
  • Down Payment for a House
  • Kids College
  • Vacation
  • Car Upgrade
  • New Furniture
  • Any Sinking Funds you have

Giving. Being generous is important to an overall fulfilled life. So don’t forget about giving.

  • Tithing
  • Donations/Charity Giving

More Personal Budget Categories to Consider

Now we get into some of the smaller categories that you might need in your budget. Let’s keep going, you are doing great!

Household. This budget category covers the items you need to run your home. You might include things like:

  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Detergents
  • Detergents

Pets. If you have pets, you know that they can be expensive. It is best to plan for their expenses than to be surprised by them. Your pet category should include things like:

  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Accessories (toys,collars, bedding)
  • Vet Bills
  • Grooming
  • Obedience Lessons
  • Boarding Costs

Clothing. Everyone needs clothing. Kids grow like weeds, items get worn out and need to be replaced, and sometimes you just need a little retail therapy. So don’t forget:

  • Clothes for Adults
  • Clothes for Kids
  • School Clothes/Uniforms
  • Work Clothes

Entertainment. Planning to have some fun is important. Just make sure to put it in your budget.

  • Outings
  • Subscriptions
  • Memberships to museum, zoo, etc
  • Netflix and other streaming platforms

Personal Care. I will be honest, we don’t spend a ton in this category. Not because it isn’t important, we just find ways to spend less. BUT, you don’t want to forget these expenses if you do pay for them.

  • Gym Membership
  • Hair Cuts
  • Toiletries

Activities. If you have kids, you know they can be BUSY with their various activities. It is important to account for all the expenses associated with those.

  • Music Lessons
  • Sports Fees and Lessons
  • Sports Equipment
  • Dance Lessons
  • Pre-School

Other Budget Expenses. The last category is kind of a catch all for anything that doesn’t fit in the other categories. In fact, this category holds some of the most important expenses in helping you to stay on budget (the free spend and the miscellaneous). So don’t forget:

  • Miscellaneous
  • Free Spend (have one for each adult in the budget)
  • Amazon Prime (get 30 days free here)
  • Anything else we missed…

How Many Personal Budget Categories Do You Need?

Whew! Okay, did you get freaked out with that big list of expenses? Well, DON’T! Again, not everything is going to apply to you. Pick out the ones that do apply to you and work with those.

The point of this was to help you recognize all the expenses that you need to account for in your budget, so that your budget is accurate and you can plan you money effectively.

A budget is no good if you forget, or leave off, expenses throughout the month. That is just asking to fail at budgeting and will make you frustrated!

How much to spend in each personal budget category

Now that you have your list of budget categories, you need to figure out how much to spend for each item. This can be tricky, and can take some trial and error.

A good way to go about this is to look at your credit card statements and bank account transactions. See how much you paid for these items over the past few months. This will give you a good number to start with.

Remember, you can always adjust your budget amounts later. Budgets should always be tweaked and fixed to meet your needs and what is going on in your life.

Final Thoughts on Personal Budget Categories

Figuring out all the categories that need to go in your budget, and the expenses that go with them, is HUGE in helping you create a budget that will really work for your family.

Don’t be scared by the big list. Take it one step at a time, and one expense at a time. You can definitely create a budget, with all expenses accounted for, that will work for you!

So, did I miss any budget categories that you use in your budget? Let me know in the comments!

Personal Budget Categories to use in your budget

6 printables for free budget template

FREE Budget Planner

Stop stressing about money and start making your finances behave! This free budget planner will help you get started!

Completing the field will add you to my email list (and I would love to have you as part of my community). But you are also able to unsubscribe at any time)

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