Young woman sitting at a table with papers and a laptop looking stressed

Having the right categories is essential to a well-functioning budget. And while it’s not always possible to anticipate every expense that may come your way, it is possible to plan for them.

Budget Categories You Don’t Want To Overlook

Jar stuffed with 100 dollar bills on a table with a green background
Image Credit: Julia Sudnitskaya via Shutterstock.

Consider including these 28 categories in your budget to be prepared for anything life throws your way.

1. Birthdays

White sprinkle birthday cakes with a topper that says 'happy birthday'
Image Credit: Ruth Black via Shutterstock.

Including a ‘birthday’ category in your budget is a good way to save for birthday gifts, parties, dinners, and any other birthday-related expenses that come up throughout the year.

Choose to save throughout the year in a birthday sinking fund or add to your budget as needed.

2. Christmas

Woman opening a gift with man in front of Christmas Tree
Image Credit: ijana Moraca via Shutterstock.

Christmas can be a big expense for many families, and unfortunately, even sending some into credit card debt. Saving a small amount of money each budgeting period can help offset holiday costs at the end of the year.

3. Clothing

Rack filled with clothing
Image Credit: FiledIMAGE via Shutterstock.

A clothing category can ensure you always have money set aside when you need new socks, shoes, work clothes, or even a summer wardrobe refresh.

4. Debt Payments

Couple looking at paperwork looking frustrated
Image Credit: Cast Of Thousands via Shutterstock.

As annoying as it is to give some of your income away to your debtors, your debt payments must be a priority in your budget. Try budgeting extra funds in with your minimum payments to help you pay off debt more quickly.

5. Dining Out

Older couples dining out together
Image Credit: Pressmaster via Shutterstock.

Dining out can quickly bust your budget. Still, if you love going to your favorite restaurant, try incorporating it into your budget for guilt-free meals.

6. Entertainment

People watching a free outdoor show
Image Credit: ABO PHOTOGRAPHY via Shutterstock.

Don’t overlook entertainment – plan for date nights, concerts, sporting events, and overnight trips ahead of time.

7. Food

Woman looking at her receipt in a grocery store
Image Credit: via Shutterstock.

Groceries are likely one of your highest expenses. And while there are many ways to reduce your grocery spending, simply planning for a specific amount in your food budget is a great first step.

8. Gifts

Young woman holding a gift looking happy
Image Credit: Dean Drobot via Shutterstock.

Planning ahead for weddings, baby showers, graduations, etc., is a great way to protect your budget.

9. Giving

Wooden bowl with cash inside
Image Credit: Lamppost Collective via Shutterstock.

Whether you tithe regularly or have specific causes you like to support, adding a line item for ‘giving’ into your budget is a good way to give without stressing yourself out.

10. Goals

Woman putting money into a pink piggy bank
Image Credit: ESB Professional via Shutterstock.

Building your financial goals into your budget is a great way to keep you motivated and on track to reaching your goals.

11. Home Maintenance

Man holding a drill working on a DIY project with a puppy next to him
Image Credit: Zivica Kerkez via Shutterstock.

Nothing busts your budget like unexpected home emergencies. If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, you’ll want to add home maintenance to your budget yesterday.

12. Household

Household items and toiletries on a counter
Image Credit: EasterBunny via Shutterstock.

You may already include household items in your grocery category, or you may prefer to keep a separate category for household products like toiletries, toilet paper, tissues, etc.

13. Housing

Modest house with well-manicured lawn
Image Credit: Imagenet via Shutterstock.

For most, housing costs like rent or mortgage payments are their largest expense, so, of course, you’ll want to prioritize them when preparing to avoid coming up short.

14. Insurance

Couple reviewing paperwork together
Image Credit: fizkes via Shutterstock.

Whether it be homeowners, life, disability, etc., being properly insured is important. Be sure to budget for your various insurance premiums.

15. Investing

Person sitting at desk learning how to invest
Image Credit: Freedomz via

Are you paying yourself each month? A good way to do so is by adding an ‘investing’ category into your budget.

16. Kids’ Stuff

Young boys playing soccer
Image Credit: Juice Flair via Shutterstock.

Sure, we love our kids, but they sure do cost a lot! Sports fees, yearbooks, school pics, dances, music lessons, the list goes on and on. Create a ‘kids’ stuff’ category in your budget to cover all the random kid expenses so they don’t derail you during the year.

17. Medical Expenses

Woman being examined by a doctor
Image Credit: Deeblue via Deposit Photos.

Medical expenses can be astronomical. Create a ‘medical’ sinking fund and budget a specific amount to contribute each month to offset medical bills and related expenses.

18. Miscellaneous

Coffee shop worker handing customer a bag and cups of coffee
Image Credit: Ground Picture via Shutterstock.

Regardless of how meticulously you plan your budget, you will inevitably incur random expenses that don’t seem to fit in any particular category. Put some money aside each month for these ‘miscellaneous’ charges.

19. Personal Care

Man cutting a man's hair
Image Credit: fizkes via Shutterstock.

Haircuts, beauty treatments, massages, gym memberships, or any other like services you pay for can be budgeted for in your ‘personal care’ category.

20. Personal Spending

Young woman walking on the street with a bunch of shopping bags
Image Credit: maxbelchenko via Shutterstock.

The best thing about budgeting is that it removes any guilt and shame from spending. There is nothing wrong with spending money on yourself – just put it in your budget!

21. Pets

Veterinarian doing a checkup on a dog
Image Credit: SeventyFour via Shutterstock.

Treating our sweet furkids like family often means a long list of expenses for things like food, treats, vet bills, pet insurance, toys, grooming, and more. Staying prepared with a ‘pet’ category can save your budget.

22. Savings

Woman saving money fast
Image Credit: Ridofranz via Deposit Photos.

Having money aside in savings helps you handle any emergencies and other unexpected expenses that may come your way. Saving a small amount each budget period will help you grow your savings over time.

23. Subscriptions

Woman purchasing a subscription on a laptop
Image Credit: panuwat phimpha via Shutterstock.

These days it seems we have multiple subscriptions. These various charges can be easily overlooked and throw a wrench in your budget.

If you find yourself often forgetting to budget for your multiple subscriptions each month, try lumping them all together in a ‘subscription’ category.

24. Transportation

Woman using gas apps to save money when filling up gas tank
Image Credit: Tonodiaz via Deposit Photos.

Fueling your vehicle, paying for parking, or riding public transportation…it doesn’t matter how you get there; it just matters that you budget accordingly.

25. Utilities

Light bulb, calculator, and tiny house on a table
Image Credit: flyingv3 via Shutterstock.

Utility bills can vary substantially from month-to-month and during different times of the year. Using past bills to estimate current utility bills when budgeting is a helpful way to plan for fluctuations.

26. Vacation

Couple sitting on a beach watching the sunset
Image Credit: Song_about_summer via Shutterstock.

Budgeting for bills is important, yes, but so is budgeting for vacation! Plus, building vacation costs into your budget fa in advance allows you to break up the financial burden over a period of time instead of having to come up with all the cash at once.

27. Vehicle Maintenance

Man changing the oil in a car
Image Credit: Levent Konuk via Shutterstock.

A broken car may mean missing work, so don’t let a car maintenance issue create financial problems for you.

Add a ‘vehicle maintenance’ category to your budget and move the money to a sinking fund each month to prepare for any mechanical issues, accidents, or inspection costs.

28. Vehicle Payment

Calendar with a day circled and 'car payment due' written with car key and fob
Image Credit: karen roach via Shutterstock.

Much like housing costs, vehicle payments can eat up a good chunk of your monthly budget. Be sure you’re prioritizing them before planning for less important costs in your budget.

How To Create a Monthly Budget You Can Actually Stick to

Woman creating a monthly budgett
Image Credit: GaudiLab via Shutterstock.

Budgets do not need to be scary and overwhelming. Instead, they are really quite simple; it is we who tend to over-complicate them. Follow this simple guide to creating a budget that actually works. How to Create a Simple Monthly Budget You Can Actually Stick to

3 Ways To Budget Your Fluctuating Income

Woman in pink shirt looking frustrated trying to budget her irregular income
Image Credit: AndreyPopov via Deposit Photos.

Do you have an irregular income that makes it difficult to set a monthly budget that works? You know you need a budget, but every time you sit down and try to set one up, you probably get discouraged because of your fluctuating income, right?  Here are three ways to nail budgeting when your income fluctuates. 3 Ways to Create a Budget With an Irregular Income

How To Create a Bare-Bones Budget During a Financial Crisis

Woman creating a bare bones budget on her laptop
Image Credit: fizkes via Shutterstock.

When your finances are in crisis mode, it often calls for you to deviate from your normal budgeting routine and adjust your budget accordingly to protect you during uncertain financial times. One of the first steps to take is to create a bare-bones budget, here’s how to do it…How to Create a Bare-Bones Budget in a Financial Emergency

💸 Take Back Control of Your Finances in 2024 💸
Get Instant Access to our free mini course

Similar Posts