Budget Categories

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Creating a budget is one of the first steps you should take for getting your finances in order. The process can seem overwhelming, but it isn’t difficult. One of the biggest challenges is knowing how to categorize your expenses to keep everything organized. In this article, you’ll find a list of more than 90 budget categories and subcategories you can use to create your own budget.

If you’re looking for more detailed guidance on the budget creation process, please see my article How to Create a Budget that Works.

The categories listed in this article are only suggestions. Not all of them will apply to you. You should include only those that are relevant to you in your own personal or family budget. You can also change the categorization in ways that make more sense to you if you’d like (for example, moving homeowner’s insurance under “housing” instead of “insurance”).

Of course, you should also add any categories or subcategories that are relevant to you but not listed here.

Budget Categories

Below you’ll find a list of budget categories and subcategories. They aren’t prioritized, so feel free to put them in whatever order you like. The purpose of listing these categories is simply to give you some ideas and to help you find the categories that should be included in your own budget.

You may also want to see our recommended budget percentages so you know how much to allocate for the major budget categories.

Housing

Housing is one of the biggest areas of expense for many households., and it’s obviously important. The subcategories listed here should be a reminder that housing costs more than just your monthly mortgage or rent payment. You may not have all of these expenses, but the ones you do have can add up very quickly.

  • Mortgage
  • Property tax
  • Homeowner’s Association (HOA) dues
  • Rent
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Home improvements
  • Landscaping
  • Home security

Utilities

Utilities can be one of the more challenging categories to budget for, because the costs can fluctuate so much throughout the year. It’s better to be conservative and estimate your expenses on the high end so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises.

  • Electricity
  • Natural gas
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Phone
  • Cable
  • Trash
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Food

Food is another big part of the budget, especially if you are feeding a large family or if you eat a lot of meals at restaurants. Moving more towards groceries and less towards restaurants will save you a lot of money overall.

  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops

Transportation

This category will vary a lot from person to person depending on factors like if you have a car, how long of a commute you have, and if you have to pay tolls and parking every day.

  • Car payment
  • Gas
  • Repairs
  • Routine maintenance
  • Fees (registration, etc.)
  • Public transportation
  • Parking
  • Tolls

Insurance

There are a lot of different types of insurance policies that you may have. This doesn’t cover them all, but the most common types of insurance are listed here. If you prefer, you can also put these into other categories (move car insurance to the “transportation” category, etc.)

  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Jewelry insurance
  • Umbrella insurance