Personal Budget Categories to Start Your Budget

Having come a long way in handling finances, creating personal budget categories, or starting a budget has been of immense benefit to me. It has helped me in managing my finances and time in a lot of ways that cannot be overstated.

Budgeting is one of the necessities to start a sound financial future and to get out of debt.

The general budget is used in offices and organizations, and even family, but hardly is much focus placed on a personal budget. And it is not the case that one is less important than the other. That was why I came up with this article on Personal Budget Categories to Start Your Budget.

Budgeting can be strenuous, but it gets easier with time, patience, and consistency. Just because you failed on your first budget doesn’t mean that you should stop. For me, it has not been a smooth journey because I have been unable to follow my budget on countless occasions. By this, I meant that I went over what I budgeted for some expenses.

Well, I didn’t quit after all, because I know great plans don’t stick so easily. And for me, it was a learning process. Today, I can proudly say I stand tall in this field. It was one of the foundations of getting my finances in order.


Here is a compilation of what I believe are expense categories for personal budgets. Mind you, the expenditures in each group may not necessarily apply to your preference, which is entirely understandable. Your needs may or may not differ from others.

These personal budget categories are meant to provide you a recommendation.


1. Income

Income is earned come from different sources, but the most popular source is your employment.



2. Savings

These are the funds that you save for any reasons like retirement, emergency, leisure, short-term requirements, among others.

These include:

  • Short term savings
  • Investments
  • Emergency funds
  • Retirement funds

We all have bills to pay, and utilities are part of these bills. Most of the items under utilities are necessary services, which we need for our daily living. Here are a few examples.


  • Electricity
  • Water and Sewer
  • Natural Gas
  • Trash
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Cable or satellite


3. Housing

Expensive as housing may be, it is a necessity. However, when you have a house, you are not only talking about paying your mortgage. Other expenses come with having a house, including home insurance and maintenance.


  • Rent or mortgage
  • HOA fees
  • Repair and Maintenance Fund
  • Property taxes
  • Renters or Homeowners’ fees
  • Home improvement
  • Home warranty


4. Food

Irrespective of how big or small your budget for food is, it must always be a part of your budget. Even if you are getting food for free (thanks to coupons).


  • Eating out
  • Groceries
  • Reserves ( in case you are into stocking up because you have a ton of coupons to use to save money)


5. Transportation

Due to environmental circumstances such as distance or places where public transport is reliable, the need for cars, bikes, or bicycles arises. It helps to get us to where we need to be at a particular time.

And of course, this doesn’t go without maintenance costs. Some costs come with having and maintaining vehicles.


  • Car payment
  • Auto Insurance
  • Fuel
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Fees (i.e. tags and title)
  • Vehicle inspection Property taxes
  • Public transportation/parking/taxi


6. Insurance and wellness

Medical, dental, and vision-related costs can be expensive. And without insurance, that is like paying hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars over time. And that’s why it’s always best to obtain insurance.


  • Insurance (i.e., health, dental, and vision)
  • Wellness (i.e., gym)
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Burial insurance
  • Prescriptions
  • Out of pocket medical costs


7. Debt payments

A smart thing to do when making a personal budget category is debt settlement. Several kinds of debts, such as student loans, personal loans, and some other forms of debts are owed by many.

Therefore, it is necessary to apportion a percentage of your income to pay your debts. Remember, not paying your debts will cause you more financial problems now or in the future.


  • Student loans
  • Credit cards
  • Medical bills(i.e., outstanding bills other than indicated on the medical section of this post)
  • Personal loans
  • Funds borrowed from friends and family


8. Leisure/Entertainment/Other Activities

A famous saying goes thus: all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Besides saving money, which is of utmost importance, having fun is also good. But one has to ensure a proper balance between saving and having fun.

Changes happen at any time, and at all times. Besides, what’s the use of keeping without pleasure, no matter how much has been saved? Remember that life changes can happen anytime.

Even after saving a ton of money, if you do not have fun, your saving is close to being useless. Again, what I am saying is balance and not overspending on leisure.


  • Vacations/Trips
  • Subscriptions
  • Crafts/Hobbies
  • Gifts
  • Charitable contributions
  • Parties
  • Movies, concerts, videos, theaters, etc.


9. Personal effects

These are things that we need so that our houses do not look odd or like cave dwellers, and we can look well kept. These are personal effects. These need help us to look right, be hygienic, look presentable, and look neat.


  • Cloths
  • Laundry/Dry cleaning
  • Toiletries
  • Allowances
  • Beauty/Barber Shop

10. Child Care

One of the most sensitive aspects of the budget is childcare. Although there are daycares that are reasonable, some cost a lot more like your paycheck.

Somebody needs to look after your kids, whether you like it or not. And that is a fact, regardless of sentiments.


  • Babysitters
  • Child support/Alimony
  • Baby necessities (i.e., food, diapers, formula, and other expenses not covered elsewhere for child)


11. Education

Depending on the category, the costs of education can be either minimal or expensive.

Although the costs of education (i.e., from kindergarten up to high school) may be free, quite a few expenses such as school supplies, sports activities, among others, are likely to come up.

This fund is aside from the fact that your cost of education will go up once your child goes to college.


  • Tuition and fees
  • School supplies
  • Books/magazines
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Trips


12. Miscellaneous

These are expenses not mentioned above.


  • Kids’ allowance
  • Postage
  • Pet care/Supplies
  • Computer expenses
  • Others




While this article contains our recommended personal budgeting categories to help you create an organized budget, bear in mind that they are not absolute. Therefore, draw inspiration from these recommended categories and come up with a budgeting category that suits your lifestyle. Start your journey towards smart spending now!

Feel free to drop some of your personal budgeting categories that are not mentioned here in the comment section below.

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