Budget Categories To Include To Be Successful
Updated: Jan 6
Setting yourself up for success is important. Especially when it comes to your finances. Let's dive into my suggested budget categories to include to be successful.
Life happens and it can be a lot less stressful when you have an emergency fund to fall back on. Dedicate part of your budget to your emergency fund and keep your hands off of it until you NEED it.
Think of this category as your goals and dream category. What do you want to be able to afford?
My examples of what I use in my budget are a new house fund and a travel fund.
My husband and I put aside a set amount of money every month for these two categories because they are important to us. It's fun watching our money snowball and it keeps us motivated to stay on track so someday we can meet our goal!
Giving encourages happiness, and we all love being happy. Agree?
That's why it's important to give back - whether it's to church, charity, friend or family in need, or whatever worthy cause you can think of - give what you can.
You don't have to go broke by giving - and you shouldn't. Sometimes even $5 can make a difference.
“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” - Mother Theresa
You have to eat, right? If you haven't been budgeting for groceries, take your best guess on what you have been spending and start budgeting. You might find you've been way overspending and can tighten this category up.
Pro Tip: Check the weekly ads to see what is on sale. From there, create your menu/meal plan. This will help you stay on budget and not overspend on groceries you might not even use!
If you aren't cooking at home, then you're probably eating out at a restaurant. If you're eating out, you're spending money. So don't forget to include this in your personal budget.
When we first started budgeting, I couldn't believe how much we spend at restaurants. It was great insight to make this it's own category so we could make sure we aren't overdoing it at restaurants.
Housing is the parent category for all the basic living expenses you have. I've listed the most common categories.
If you have a mortgage, this category might fall under your "debt category".
We currently rent an apartment so we have our set rent amount each month categorized in our housing expenses.
A necessary expense - budget it based on your previous bills. This expense is usually pretty consistent.
Another necessity. Again, a budget based on your past bills. Make sure to account for colder or hotter months when your bills might be higher than normal.
An easily forgotten expense! However, this should be an easy line item to input since the price per month is always the same.
Misc Household Items
We use this category as a "catch-all". It's not necessarily a grocery item and you don't want it to come out of your fun money type purchase. We're talking deodorant, toilet paper, a new kitchen gadget - these types of items.
Don't forget to have fun with your money!
Maybe you deserve a new outfit or a special treat after dinner. Whatever it is, you can afford it with your fun money category. It's basically a guilt-free treat yo' self category!
In my blog, Having a Budget Doesn't Mean You're Poor, I break down how our "fun money" works as a married couple!
Yes, you should probably include all those streaming services you pay for each month on your budget. Even if you're just thinking "well they're less than $10...why do they matter?"
I'll tell you why. It adds up!
Examples of subscription services include tv streaming services, music streaming services, iCloud storage, memberships, subscription boxes, etc.
These are just some expenses I personally have. It's very possible you have your own unique subscriptions. Just think about things you are recurringly paying for and add them to the budget.
Whatever you like to do for fun - that's what needs to go in this category.
How often do you fill your car up with gas each month? Take your best guesstimate and add this category to your budget.
Are you going to be traveling? Do you often use rideshare apps to get around town? Put it in the budget!
Car payments, student loans, mortgage, credit card debt... you get the idea. It's important you stay on top of your debt and budget appropriately to help get it paid off. If you're already budgeting you are already headed in the right direction!
I hope this list serves as a starting point for you if you are new to budgeting. Or if you're already budgeting, I hope you can find a category you hadn't thought about until now and amend your current budget.