I’ve started budgeting almost 10 years ago when I just started my first job and since then I’ve been budgeting every month. Budgeting was not an easy task for me when I started. However, there are few things I learned over the years that helped me stick to my budget.

An important aspect of budgeting is defining the right categories. It helps allocate money into specific expense category thereby easy to track exactly where the money goes. I have provided the list of categories I’m currently using to track my budget. These are for references only and tweak it for your family needs.

Categories:

Since we have had some life changing events (in a good way) in the past few months, our spend has increased relatively. It’s totally understandable as we have a baby now and both the set of grand parents have been visiting us from India. Combining everything that’s been going on in our lives, our spend went up quite a bit.

However, we had budget assigned for these volatile expenses as well. Even though the budget for these expenses is quite rough, it gave us an idea of how much we need to keep in the bank account and where the money really goes.

Below are the categories we use to budget our expenses. Kids expenses were added after I got pregnant. Parents traveling goes under “travel” budget.

Grocery:

Grocery includes everything for kitchen and household from produce to cleaning suppliers. I try to use coupons as much as possible to stretch the budget.

MORE: here is some info on how to grocery budget

Eat Out:

We love eating out. So, out eat out budget is higher than a normal household (Hey! everyone has something to splurge on).

Bills and Utilities:

Billing includes all types of bills we pay every month + gas expenses

Auto:

Money allocated for any kind of auto expenses (oil change, auto insurance etc..)

Education:

Money to spend on certifications et al for career growth

His & Her Personal:

Money to spend on our personal expenses

Kids:

Money to spend on Jeev’s day care and personal expenses

Entertainment:

Money to spend on movies, gifts etc

Splurge For Him & Her:

We set aside money for our splurges. Each of us gets $20 per month as a splurge amount. We can spend the splurge money in however way we want. The other person should not ask questions. It helps us to keep our budget on track and for happy marriage 😉

General Shopping:

Money to spend on general household expenses

Travel:

One more category that has high budget. We love to travel and we spread our travel expenses across all months. That way we won’t feel bad when we spend high dollars for travel

Miscellaneous:

Money to cover unexpected expenses

Additional Read:  

How To Track A Budget – Available Budgeting Tools

Family Budgeting – Things To Remember

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