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257 Budget Categories To Help You Think Of Every Expense

257 budget categories so you never miss an expenses again overlayed over potted plant on whitewashed wood backgroundWhether you’re starting a budget for the first time or giving budgeting another shot, it’s always difficult to think of every potential expense you’ll come across.

Sadly, forgetting to budget for expenses is a quick way to bust your budget.

Instead of getting frustrated by missing expenses, I decided to come up with the ultimate list of budget categories.

This way, you can plan for even more of your expenses each month without having as many surprises pop up.

How To Use This Massive Resource Of Budget Categories

While you definitely don’t need to budget every single category we’re going to share below, you should use this list for inspiration to consider every cost you need to budget for.

In fact, I’d argue you don’t even need all 20 of the major groups of categories I list. Pick and choose which budget categories make the most sense for your life and your goals.

Then, group multiple expenses under category titles that work best for you.

Don’t forget to have a random expenses category in your budget to cover anything you may have forgotten. A buffer in your bank account or an emergency fund can help with this, as well.

The Ultimate List of 250+ Budget Categories

We’ve broken down our list of budget categories down into 20 major groups of categories.

Some categories may be listed in more than one location on the list because they could work in either major group. If so, pick where it makes the most sense to list it in your personal budget.

Click on any of these links to jump to the category of your choice.


The first part of budgeting is knowing how much money you bring in each month.

While this can be difficult for those that live on an irregular income (tips on how to battle that here), most people should have a good idea of how much income they have to budget with each month.

Consider the following sources of income as well as any others you may have before budgeting your total income for the month.

  • Salary (Yourself)
  • Salary (Spouse or Others)
  • Side Hustles
  • Business Income
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Reimbursed Expenses
  • Alimony Income
  • Child Support Income
  • Gift Income

Paycheck Benefit Deductions And Other Deductions

Most people budget their net pay, which is their pay after deductions. If you’re doing that, you’re not getting the full picture of where your money goes each month.

Paycheck benefit deductions often provide a huge value for your family, so it doesn’t make sense to ignore them. They can cost a pretty penny, too.

If you do decide to budget based on gross pay, make sure you keep these paycheck benefit deductions in mind when coming up with your budget.

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Short-term Disability Insurance
  • Long-term Disability Insurance
  • 401(k) Contributions
  • 403(b) Contributions
  • 457 Contributions
  • SIMPLE IRA Contributions
  • Pension Contributions
  • Union Dues
  • Wage Garnishments
  • Health Savings Account Contributions
  • Flexible Savings Account Contributions


Taxes are a fact of life. Depending on where you live and your particular situation, you may need to budget for the following taxes.

  • Federal Income Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • Local Income Tax
  • Personal Property Tax
  • Real Estate Property Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Business Taxes
  • Self-employment Tax

Debt Repayment

Debt can allow us to pay for major purchases before we save the cash to pay for them in full. This can be useful for a home or your first car, but it can put a major drag on your budget.

Aim to pay off your consumer debt, including car loans, so you can have more freedom in your monthly budget. If you follow this one trick, you’ll never have to make a car payment again after you pay off your current loan.

  • Mortgage Loan
  • Home Equity Line Of Credit
  • Home Equity Loan
  • Car Loan
  • Student Loan Debt
  • Tax Debt
  • Medical Debt
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Debt Consolidation Loan
  • Personal Line Of Credit
  • Personal Loan
  • Cash Advance Loan
  • Cell Phone Debt
  • Utility Debt
  • Furniture Loan
  • Life Insurance Loan
  • 401(k)/Retirement Loan
  • Payday Loan
  • Business Debt


Saving for the future is an amazing feeling. You get to put your money toward the goals that matter to you and your family most.

Here are a handful of popular saving goals you may want to consider including in your budget.

  • Emergency Fund – Learn how to save a $1,000 emergency fund in 90 days or less.
  • Car Replacement Fund
  • House Down Payment Fund
  • Vacation Fund
  • Insurance Payment Fund (Save to pay for annual or six-month insurance bills like car insurance)
  • Wedding Fund
  • Baby Fund
  • Bucket List Fund
  • Hobby Fund
  • Dream Fund
  • Home Improvement Fund
  • Home Repairs Fund
  • College Fund
  • New Furniture Fund


Investing is like saving on steroids. By investing your money, you give it a chance to grow faster for the future.

While there is more risk with investing than with saving, your investments should align with your time horizon to avoid not having the money when you need it.

Here are some common ways to invest your money and expenses that come along with them.

  • IRA Contributions
  • Roth IRA Contributions
  • Self-employed Retirement Account Contributions
  • Taxable Investment Account Contributions
  • Financial Planning Fees
  • Investment Expenses


If you have any wiggle room in your budget, giving is a powerful way to budget your money. Often, the money you give can help others in more ways than you’d imagine. 

In addition to traditional charity and church giving, we’ve included gifts you should budget for throughout the year, too.

  • Tithing To Church
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Political Contributions
  • Birthday Gifts
  • Wedding Gifts
  • Holiday Gifts
  • Party Gifts
  • Anniversary Gifts
  • Baby Shower Gifts
  • Workplace Gifts
  • Specific Gifts To GoFundMe Campaigns, Etc


If you rent a home, the housing budgeting categories are pretty straight forward. However, owning a home changes your budget completely.

Either way, here are the major categories to consider.

  • Rent
  • Renters Insurance
  • Cleaning Service
  • Furniture
  • Décor
  • Mortgage Payment
  • Escrow Payment
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Property Tax
  • Flood Insurance
  • Private Mortgage Insurance
  • Homeowners Association Dues
  • Lawn Chemical Maintenance
  • Lawn Mowing Service
  • Landscaping
  • Home Improvements
  • Home Maintenance
  • HVAC Service
  • Home Warranty


Whether you rent or own your home, chances are you have to pay for at least some utilities. These monthly costs provide valuable services.

Don’t forget to pay the bills or they may get cut off. Then, you’ll really know how much you value these under-appreciated budget categories.

Want to make budgeting for these categories easier? See if your utility company offers budget billing and learn how it works.

  • Water
  • Irrigation Water
  • Sewer
  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • Heating Oil
  • Cable TV
  • Internet
  • Home Security
  • Landline Telephone
  • Cell Phone Service
  • Trash Collection
  • Recycling Collection


Owning a car or getting around town is usually one of the bigger monthly expenses in most budgets.

You don’t have to own a car to get around town in the big cities, but most people aren’t so lucky to have great public transportation options available. 

Here are some transportation budget categories to consider for your personal list.

  • Train Passes
  • Bus Passes
  • Subway / Metro Passes
  • Uber / Lyft / Taxis
  • Car Payments
  • Car Insurance
  • Fuel
  • Car Storage
  • Parking Fees
  • Car Repair
  • Oil Changes
  • Other Regular Maintenance
  • Tire Replacement/Rotation
  • Car Washes
  • Car Detailing
  • Car Registration
  • Car Property Taxes
  • Driver’s License Fees
  • Extended Car Warranty
  • Tolls (SunPass/EZ Pass, Etc)
  • AAA Membership

Insurance Expenses

Insurance protects us when things go wrong. No one likes paying for it, but you’re glad you have it when you need it.

Consider purchasing or budgeting for the following types of insurance.

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Private Mortgage Insurance
  • Renters Insurance
  • Flood Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Umbrella Insurance
  • Business Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Long-term Care Insurance


Food is another major budget category that is typically a top expense for many households.

Here are the major costs that can make up this group of budget expenses.

  • Groceries
  • Work Lunches
  • School Lunches
  • Dining Out
  • Convenience Store Drinks / Snacks
  • Coffee / Starbucks
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Baby Food

Household Expenses

Household expenses can be hard to define and will vary from person to person.

That said, here are a few ideas of expenses you may want to include in your budget category list.

  • Paper Products
  • Kitchen Items
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Laundry Supplies
  • Tools
  • Pool Care
  • Pool Supplies

Personal Care

Taking care of yourself is extremely important. While many of these costs relate to your appearance, they can be very important to some budgeters.

Consider adding these categories to your budget to manage your costs.

  • Clothing
  • Bathing & Hygiene Goods
  • Cosmetics
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Haircuts
  • Other Hair Services 
  • Skin Care Products
  • Nail Salon Services
  • Gym Membership
  • Massage Services

Entertainment Or Leisure

We’re finally getting to the fun stuff! Entertainment and leisure are one of the most fun reasons to budget. The better you budget, the more you can have fun with your money.

Consider adding these expenses to your budgeting categories list.

  • Vacations
  • Trips To Visit Family
  • Wedding Travel
  • Other Travel
  • Dating Expenses
  • Going Out On The Town
  • Sporting Events
  • Hobbies
  • Technology Expenses
  • Party Hosting / Gathering Expenses
  • Books
  • Concerts
  • Games (Play free games and earn gift cards with Mistplay)

Medical Or Healthcare Related Costs

Medical costs have been rising quickly and it’s important to budget for them. While no one likes spending hundreds or thousands of dollars each year to stay healthy, it’s super important.

Here are the major healthcare and medical costs I could think of.

  • Co-Pays
  • Coinsurance
  • Out Of Pocket Expenses
  • Prescriptions
  • Over The Counter Medication
  • Vitamins / Supplements
  • Orthodontics
  • Dental Cleanings
  • Other Dental Work
  • Vision Exams
  • Eyeglasses / Contact Lenses
  • Gym Membership
  • First Aid Supplies

Services And Memberships

Memberships and services are a fast-growing portion of many household budgets.

If you cut the cable cord or just prefer to only pay for what you use, make sure you keep these budgeting categories in mind to keep costs under control.

  • Video Streaming Services (Netflix, etc)
  • Season Tickets
  • Movie Theater Tickets / Concessions
  • Movie Rentals
  • Subscription Boxes
  • Credit Monitoring / ID Theft Services
  • Magazine Subscriptions
  • Meal Delivery Services
  • Professional Memberships
  • Music Streaming Services (Pandora, etc)
  • Amazon Prime
  • Warehouse Club Memberships
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Lawyer Fees
  • Tax Preparation Fees
  • Other Accounting Fees
  • Continuing Professional Education
  • Satellite Radio
  • Post Office Box Rent
  • Storage Unit Rent

Child Expenses

Raising kids is an expensive endeavor, but it’s well worth the cost. Make sure you budget expenses for your children with your eyes wide open.

While it’s nice to be optimistic, your budget will thank you if you’re realistic when it comes to these budget categories.

  • Baby Supplies
  • Child Support Paid
  • Day Care
  • After School Care
  • Babysitting
  • Summer Camps
  • School Fees
  • School Supplies
  • School Uniforms
  • School Lunches
  • Clothing
  • Sports Fees
  • Extracurricular Fees
  • Toys / Electronics
  • Books
  • Birthday Parties
  • Allowance
  • College


Pets are like children to most families that have them. You spare no expense for them just like you would a child. For that reason, it’s extremely important to budget for these expenses.

Here are the top budget categories for your family pet.

  • Pet Food
  • Pet Treats
  • Annual Check-Up
  • Vaccinations
  • Medications
  • Other Vet Bills
  • Toys
  • Boarding – For vacations
  • Dog Walker – For daily life
  • Bedding


There were a handful of expenses I felt didn’t fit anywhere else. Chances are, you’ll have a few of these expenses, too.

Here are our thoughts on miscellaneous expense budget categories.

  • Random Expenses – Used to cover things you forgot to budget for
  • Alimony Paid
  • ATM Fees
  • Safe Deposit Box Fee
  • Other Banking Fees
  • Postage
  • Jewelry
  • Other Miscellaneous Expenses

Start Budgeting Today

Now that you’ve explored our extremely thorough list of budget categories, it’s time to get started with your budget.

You can use a premade budget printable (we have one you can grab for free here) or start your own personal budget with customizable categories from our list above.

You can even budget online using services like Personal Capital.

Whatever you do, get started budgeting today. Then, you’ll get to decide where your money goes, see where you actually spent and figure out how to better Master Your Finances.

What did you think of our list of budget categories? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update this post with new suggestions from time to time.