What Should I Include in My Budget?

We talked a bit about why you need a budget, but what exactly should you include in it? When thinking about everything you spend money on in a month (and sporadically over a year), it can be a little overwhelming. The easiest way to develop a budget for yourself is to keep track of all the things you spend money on, no matter how big or small. It can be helpful to first create some generalized categories, and then think about where your money goes under each of them. The idea is that you’ll get a feel for trends in your spending so you can make necessary changes to make sure you’re financially successful and debt-free.

I’ve listed these category ideas as suggestions in no particular order since everyone has their own priorities. *Hint: paying off your debts and putting aside savings every month should be near the top of your list!

1. Debtloans, credit cards

2. Savings

3. Housing necessitiesrent/mortgage, utilities, home repair/maintenance, cable/internet/phone, insurance

4. Groceries

5. Car expensesloan payments, fuel, maintenance, insurance

6. Memberships or subscriptions

7. Personal careclothing, haircuts

8. Entertainmentdining out, traveling

9. Healthcare costsprescriptions

10. Non-routine costsbirthday/holiday gifts, weddings, parties

Are we forgetting anything? What are some crucial things you remember to budget for?