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50 Ways to Budget Accordingly for Your Monthly Spending; Budget Categories 101
As an adult, many things in life are hard. Getting up to go to work day in and day out is hard, eating the right foods is hard, learning how to say no when you don’t have the time is hard…and slowly, it all starts to add up.
One thing in life that should not be hard? Figuring out how to budget accordingly for your monthly spending. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. Even as an adult, you should be aware of your spending habits. If you’re in the pattern of having each and every paycheck spent before it even hits your account, it’s time for you to start making some changes. You can start by taking a look at your budget categories.
Say goodbye to the guesswork of your bank account balance and welcome in the peace of mind knowing that you’re budgeted accordingly for the month for anything and everything that may happen. If you are seeking advice on varying budget categories to help plan out and balance your spending, here are 50 ways to budget accordingly for your monthly spending!
What is a Budet Anyway?
Definition of a Budget per Investopedia is: A budget is an estimation of revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time and is usually compiled and re-evaluated on a periodic basis. Budgets can be made for a person, a group of people, a business, a government, or just about anything else that makes and spends money.
50 Ways to Budget According to Your Monthly Spending Categories
Ever sat down and made a list of budget categories? If you don’t have a budget in mind, sit down and grab a pencil and make one. Yes, it’s literally that simple. Write out your expenses and your income and figure out what you can’t, and can do. And if you honestly still have no idea how to split up your budget, splitting your costs up into varying categories is always a big help!
Let’s start on a positive note…with listing out all your income. If you have income in any of the following categories, write down the amount it brings in monthly for you and your family.
P.S. When figuring out your income, only right down income that is guaranteed for certain. Don’t include projected commissions, bonuses, etc in your numbers. While those may happen, those aren’t always a given and shouldn’t be counted on.
Everyone loves income, right?
- Rental income
- Side Hustle
- Spousal/Child Support and / or Alimony
While there can be other forms of income, those five options top the list as the most common. Next up, all those lovely expenses that can plague each and every one of us.
Health Insurance/Medical Bills
Hopefully, you are in good health, but you never know when those medical bills will start to stack up! Don’t forget to include your monthly premium payments for all your current insurance plans as well!
- Monthly Health Insurance Premium
- Dental Insurance Premium
- Vision Insurance Premium
- Prescription payments
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Payments for past medical bills
- Wellness Doctors
Car Costs/Vehicle Maintenance
Cars can be quite costly! If you have one (or two!), here are just a few of the things that you need to be budgeting for each and every month!
- Car Loan
- Auto Insurance
- Maintenance Repairs
- Highway Tolls
Child Care Costs
When you have young children, you have to find someone to take care of them, right?
- Daycare (or after school care)
- Baby Sitter
- Extra supplies of diaper/wipes/baby food to keep at daycare
Family Expenses and Categories to Help Track Them
Let’s be open and honest with one another. Family is one of the greatest gifts out there, but it’s also one of the most expensive as well. More than likely, the majority of your money is being handed over month after month to your immediate family!
- School lunch money
- “Going out” money for your teens
- Piano Lessons
- Okay…really any and all lessons that your children will want to “try”
- Animal Care
- Vet Bills
- Every child in your child’s classroom birthdays
But seriously…the family expense category could go on forever. This is by no means an all-encompassing list, but it’ll help you understand that budgeting and family should go hand in hand.
Debt…the other four letter bad word. No one wants debt. No one likes debt. Yet..it seems that everyone has some sort of debt.
- College Debt
- Credit Card
- Car Loan
- Payday Loan
- Money owed to family or friends
Don’t let debt drag you down…budget for them accordingly to wipe them out!
Paying money towards bills isn’t fun, but paying money towards fun things is, right? Even though you are doing something fun, you still need to stay within your budget!
- Cable Bill (TV and Movies are fun!)
- Movie Theater
- Motorcycle Rental
- Horseback Riding
- Roller Skating
- Eating out at Restaurants
- Weekend Getaway
- Cooking Class
- Dancing Classes
- Broadway Shows
Let’s Wrap it Up; Get Started with Your Budget Categories
Keep track of your spending with ease with these budget categories and options! The more that you can figure out where your money is going, the sooner that you’ll figure out ways to cut costs and budget better! Remember, if you have more money going out each month versus the amount of money that you have coming in, your budget isn’t working and needs to be revamped!
Great Reads on Your Money
On A Personal Note; Why We Re-Vamped our Spending Categories
I wanted to share a little bit about what brought me to sharing this article. My husband and I have been doing a LOT of chat about the possibility of early retirement and what living on a ‘fixed income’ means. We share our bills in a non-traditional way. I pay certain bills, he pays others. I pay online. He pays with a checkbook (gag!)
O.K. but really, we were talking and saying if we had to live on a fixed income, what would those bills be in total and where were we seeing waste. We’re pretty frugal but putting it all in categories is making it easier to see where we may shift expenses if we were ‘home’ full time such as a one car family we’d save. Electricity could possibly go up, etc.. Health insurance is a HUGE one. We are investigating options to compare to our current costs and assuming an annual price increase. Having categories has helped us be sure not to miss anything in our future ‘new budget’
O.K. enough with the boring part. What I’m trying to share is that creating budget categories will help you realistically determine your life needs vs wants, your goals without a lot of surprises and being prepared for those surprises.