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100+ Budget Categories: The Ultimate List

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Are you trying to start a new budget and don’t know what budget categories to use? Are you trying to refine your budget and find the things that you have forgotten? 

To make it easier for you, I’ve put together the ultimate list of budget category ideas! No one would ever use ALL of these budget categories. The idea is to get your thinking about which ones apply to your family’s budget.

Woman surround by papers and a computer tablet, looking distressed

I have put an asterisk (*) next to budget categories that are good choices for a sinking fund. They’re things that usually aren’t monthly and might require saving over time.

Also, note that many people choose to budget their net paycheck (after taxes and deductions). This allows for some simplifying.

If things like health or life insurance are deducted from your paycheck, you can leave them out of your budget. Of course, it’s a good idea to review those expenses at least once per year!

The Ultimate List of Budget Categories


  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Lunches
  • Coffee


  • Household items (cleaning supplies, paper products, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous
  • “Stuff I forgot to budget for” (This is a handy one!)


  • Mortgage or Rent
  • Home maintenance*
  • Home repairs*
  • Remodeling*
  • Lawn & garden expenses*
  • Furniture & décor*
  • Association fees
  • Real estate taxes (if not in mortgage payment)*
  • Cleaning service


  • Electric
  • Water
  • Natural Gas
  • Heating Oil*
  • Trash service
  • Home phone
  • Mobile phone(s)
  • Internet

Money Saving Ideas

Transportation expenses

  • Fuel
  • Car insurance*
  • Car registration & taxes*
  • Tires*
  • Car repairs*
  • Auto club membership (AAA, etc.)
  • Parking fees
  • Tolls
  • Public transit expenses


  • Health insurance
  • Copays & Coinsurance
  • Prescription Medications
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Vitamins or supplements
  • Dental insurance
  • Dental expenses
  • Orthodontics
  • Vision insurance
  • Optometrist expenses
  • Glasses or contacts
  • FSA or HSA contributions

Money Saving Ideas


  • Child support payments
  • Daycare
  • Babysitters
  • Children’s Allowance
  • Summer activities or camps*
  • Birthday parties*
  • Baby supplies (diapers, formula, etc.)


  • Private school or college tuition
  • Extra-curricular activity fees
  • School books, supplies, & fees*
  • Afterschool programs


  • Adult clothing
  • Kids’ clothing
  • Dry cleaning or laundry services
  • Work clothing
  • School uniforms

Money Saving Ideas

Charitable Giving


  • Homeowners insurance (if not in mortgage payment)*
  • Renters insurance
  • Life insurance*
  • Disability insurance
  • Long term care insurance

Personal, Legal, and Professional

  • Alimony
  • Professional membership fees
  • Union dues
  • Taxes (especially if self-employed)*
  • Legal fees
  • Accountant expenses
  • Tax preparation*
  • Professional conferences
  • Postage expenses

Long term savings

  • College savings
  • Retirement savings
  • House down payment
  • Car purchase / replacement
  • Large purchase fund
  • Emergency fund

Personal care

  • Haircuts
  • Beauty supplies
  • Manicures

Cheap Nerf Guns


  • General pet expenses
  • Pet food
  • Pet medications
  • Veterinary expenses*
  • Pet license fees*
  • Grooming


  • General gifts
  • Birthday gifts
  • Wedding gifts
  • Christmas gifts*


  • General entertainment
  • Vacation*
  • Entertainment memberships (zoo, museum, pool, etc)*
  • Sporting goods
  • Sporting events
  • Tickets (concerts, theater, etc.)
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Date nights

Help Friend Crisis

Fun money (also known as “blow money”)

  • His fun money
  • Her fun money


  • Electronics replacement*
  • Computer replacement*
  • Phone replacement*
  • Video games
  • Video game subscriptions (like Xbox Live)

Subscriptions / Memberships

  • Software subscriptions
  • Newspaper or magazines
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
  • Amazon Prime*
  • Satellite Radio
  • Cable or Satellite TV
  • Gym membership
  • Warehouse club membership*
  • Music subscriptions
  • Safe deposit box
  • Storage unit rental
  • Post Office box rental

Save money on family memberships


  • Credit card(s)
  • Car loan(s)
  • Student loan(s)
  • Personal loan(s)
  • Home equity loan
  • Medical debt(s)

What you choose for your budget categories is personal. You can combine categories however you like and make your own definitions. 

Some people might choose to have just one category for food. Others might choose to have categories for groceries, dinners out, her lunches out, and his lunches out!

It’s all about what matters to you and how you want to track it. Budgets are just about making a plan and following through on it!

What do you think about my budget categories list? Did I forget anything important? Please comment below!

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Ken Ward

Wednesday 21st of December 2016

Great List! Thank you for much for doing this!


Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I am glad you like it! Thanks for reading.

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