150+ Household Budget Categories to Set Up Your Monthly Budget

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It’s tough enough to decide you’re going to put yourself on a budget. Plus, having to remember everything you spend money on each month.

Because leaving things out of your budget can really set you behind.

Let’s take a look at these 150+ potential household budget categories you might need to include in your monthly budget.

This list has quite a few things in it, so don’t let that overwhelm you! It’s very possible that several of the examples won’t apply to your family. And it’s also possible that something you pay for each month may not be included. It’s meant to be a guide to help you think through everything you might need to include in your family’s household budget.

While you’re thinking about your monthly budget, check out our list of budget planners that could help guide you even more, plus keep all of your finances in order. We ended up going with this one and are liking it so far!

What categories should I include in a budget?

There are a lot of budget categories mentioned below, but not all of them will apply to you.

As you look through the budget categories, see if any of the examples apply to your family’s budget.

Some expenses might not necessarily come out every month but need to be saved up for. These might be things like annual dues, car registration, or taxes. Don’t get hit with a big bill without being prepared!

Another way to ensure you don’t miss a budget item is to open up your main banking account. Look through your expenses to see what bills come out on a regular basis. This also helps figure out an approximate amount to add to your budget!

What are the 3 simple budget categories I should include?

If you’re a total budget beginner, you might struggle with where to start with this huge list. That’s understandable!

The three main budget categories that will likely fit into everyone’s budget would be housing/utilities, transportation, and food. Even if you don’t have a mortgage and/or auto loan, you will have to pay for upkeep, repairs, and maintenance in these categories.

So once you get started with those three categories, it should really get the ball rolling for you to fill in the rest of your budget.

List of household budget categories

Since it would be overwhelming to list everything out, I’m going to break things down by major category.

Within each budget category, you’ll find examples of what might apply to you.

Before we dive into the budget categories list, you should be first and foremost adding in any income you can expect. Here’s a list of the more common income streams.

Income

  • Salary and wages
  • Side hustles
  • Work bonus
  • Tips
  • Received alimony
  • Investment income
  • Received child support
  • Gifts received
  • Passive income
  • Interest earned
  • Refunds
  • Cash-back apps

Housing

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • HOA dues
  • Home warranty
  • HELOC
  • Home improvements
  • Lawn care and landscaping
  • Home security system
  • Renters insurance
  • Furniture
  • Smart doorbell subscription

Utilities

  • Electricity
  • Natural gas
  • Internet
  • Garbage
  • Online storage (cloud)
  • Recycling
  • Cable
  • Phone
  • Water
  • Sewage
  • Cell phone
  • Pest control

Transportation

  • Auto loan
  • Fuel
  • Roadside assistance
  • Parking fees
  • Car insurance
  • Tolls
  • DMV fees
  • Car maintenance and repairs
  • Car registration
  • Vehicle inspection fees
  • Public transportation

Food

  • Groceries
  • Fast food
  • Kid’s lunches
  • Restaurants
  • Alcohol
  • Quick stops (gas station drinks)
  • Coffee shops

Clothing

  • Adult’s clothing
  • Children’s clothing
  • Alterations
  • Shoes
  • Dry cleaning
  • Work clothing
  • Athletic clothing

Children

  • Extracurricular activities
  • Toys
  • Kids sports gear
  • Allowance
  • Baby necessities
  • School books
  • Tuition
  • School uniforms
  • School supplies
  • Babysitter
  • Child support (outgoing)
  • Daycare
  • Books and learning
  • Camp

Personal care

  • Hair salon
  • Cosmetics
  • Nail salon
  • Massages and spa
  • Toiletries
  • Grooming

Medical

  • Doctor visits
  • Dentist
  • Prescriptions
  • Co-pays
  • Over the counter medication
  • Eyewear (glasses, contacts)
  • Vitamins
  • Medical devices
  • First aid

Insurance

  • Renters insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Identity theft protection
  • Dental insurance

Subscriptions

  • Software subscriptions
  • Magazines
  • Gym membership
  • Bulk food store membership
  • Annual dues
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu)
  • Amazon Prime
  • Music streaming (Spotify, Pandora)

Fun money

  • Books
  • Going out money
  • Movies and concerts
  • Sporting events
  • Hobbies and crafts
  • Fun purchases
  • Blow money
  • New games

Pets

  • Vet visits
  • Pet food
  • Pet bedding
  • Pet toys
  • Pet medication
  • Grooming

Giving

  • Tithing
  • Offerings
  • Charity giving
  • Service gifts (mailman, handyman)
  • Potluck and serving others

Debt

  • Student loans
  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans
  • Miscellaneous debts
  • Medical debt
  • Auto loans
  • Alimony (outgoing)
  • Furniture loans
  • Electronics

Travel

  • Trips to see family
  • Vacation
  • Baggage fees
  • TSA pre-check
  • Car rentals
  • Souvenirs

Savings

  • Retirement
  • House upgrades
  • College savings (529, UTMA)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Vacation fund
  • Emergency fund
  • Investments
  • Car replacement

Taxes

  • Federal taxes
  • Business taxes
  • State taxes
  • City taxes
  • Property taxes
  • Tax professional

Gifts

  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Teacher gifts
  • Christmas cards
  • Service gifts (mailman)
  • Holiday

Household items

  • Tools
  • Appliances
  • Emergency kits
  • Hurricane preparedness
  • Household maintenance
  • Kitchenware

How much should I budget for each budget category?

There are quite a few templates hanging out on the internet that help guide you on household budget percentages.

Some of the big ones are Dave Ramsey’s recommendations (probably one of the more in-depth guides out there), the 50/30/20 rule, and reverse budgeting. There are a lot of others out there, but those are widely known.

Within each of those, you really have to take a look at where you are in your financial journey.

If you’re paying off debt, you’ll have to adjust your percentages to throw as much as you can toward that.

If you’re building savings, you’ll have to make adjustments for that as well.

So all of these budget percentage recommendations are just that: recommendations.

My recommendation would be to start with the plan that works best for you, then make adjustments in those first couple of months. You might also find that one plan isn’t working for you the way you thought, and you should switch things up to another plan. That’s okay!

We started and ended up with Dave Ramsey’s plan for household budget percentages.

We had to make adjustments because we were paying off debt, so we used Ramsey’s plan with his debt snowball plan, and that was the perfect plan for us!

That’s our list of household budget categories!

It can seem overwhelming, but once you get started with your budget, it will feel like a snowball!

Do you have any budget categories that didn’t make the list? Have you started your budget and are struggling with completing all of your own categories?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Struggling with filling in your monthly budget? Check out our list of over 150 household budget categories so you don't miss anything in your budget! household budget categories | budget percentages | monthly budget | house | household | budget

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Lillie

    Exactly what I needed. Budgeting is challenging at times. Thanks for sharing. Learnt alot!

    1. Melissa

      It really can be challenging! Hopefully this helps navigate it a little better 🙂

  2. Great comprehensive list- I can’t think of anything that isn’t in there! Definitely helpful for any household. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Melissa

      You bet!

  3. Carlyn Paschall

    This is an extensive list & should cover everything! Many things I wouldn’t even have thought of, but this is GREAT!

    1. Melissa

      I’m so glad, Carlyn! We left out so many when we first started, so I hope this helps you out! 🙂

  4. Twila Hill

    I truly enjoyed this. It hard to budget sometimes when you have more things you need to pay for and less income. However you given some good guidelines

    1. Melissa

      I’m glad, Twila! It really can be tough to budget sometimes, especially if your outgoing money is greater than your incoming money.

  5. Kari

    Such a great list of budgeting categories! It’s so important to make sure you have everything accounted for so you don’t forget anything and accidentally bust your budget!

    1. Melissa

      Thanks Kari! I hope these help you too!

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