The key spending categories that will help you stay on top of your finances.
Welcome to the world of money insights, where we break down the 16 different spending categories to help you keep track of your money. This is also a great way to kickstart your budgeting system and ensure you can remain accountable for every penny that comes in and out of your accounts.
By learning about these spending categories, you can take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about your own spending habits and improve the way you save and budget for your future.
One of (if not THE) most important spending category you will have to “welcome” in your adult life is bills. These are certainly not expenses you had to worry about when growing up, but as your circumstances change, then bills become a crucial payment in your monthly/quarterly or yearly transactions. Sure, these can change over time, depending on your situation, however the good thing about this spending category is that there shouldn't be any unexpected surprises. What does that mean exactly? Well, as bills can be classified as “mandatory payments” then it makes it easier for you to budget around them, as you already know what you are expected to pay.
The types of bills can certainly vary, however the standard bills you can count on including in this spending category are:
If you live on your own or simply look after your own food shop, then groceries is another spending category you will have to take into account when budgeting. Depending on your spending habits you can decide to set aside a budget for a daily or weekly food shop. How should you budget for this spending category?
Want to reduce your groceries spend? Try meal prepping, as this can help lower overall costs.
Depending on your living situation you might want to consider setting aside a monthly budget for your transportation costs, as these can get quite pricey. This spending category isn’t necessarily mandatory, as some either enjoy or are able to easily walk to their destinations. However, if commuting is a recurring event in your routine, then this spending category is very important to consider.
Depending on your transportation preferences (ie. owning a vehicle or alternatively paying for public transport), the main expenses you can expect to include in this category are:
Probably the most favourited category of them all… Income! As most spending categories usually involve “spending” money, the Income category is by far the most exciting as this is where you can see how much you earn. Like every other category, the breakdown largely depends on your lifestyle. You may have a monthly income you receive at the end of each month for “pay day” or alternatively you might get paid by the hour or weekly etc.. Regardless of your different sources of income (as you can certainly have more than one), it is important to include it as a category, as this will set the foundation for your budgeting plan. Based on your overall income, you can proceed to divide your spending for all the other categories accordingly.
Things that can be included in the income category aside from your main salary/ies are passive incomes such as:
Certainly the funnest category of them all… Entertainment. This is potentially the most personable category as it will truly reveal your spending habits as it highlights purchases that bring joy to your everyday life. Whether it is indulging your inner foodie and trying new restaurants or living it up with your friends at a concert or a pub, these expenses are far more than just payments… They are memories. So make sure to budget accordingly, so that you do not miss out on the things that make you happy.
Things you can include in your entertainment category can be:
Want to learn some extra trips to help you spend less and save money?
Check out The Ultimate Guide for a No-Spend Month.
What sits under your household spending category can vary depending on personal preferences. Some people like to include more substantial transactions such as rent, bills, mortgage, and insurance, while others may prefer to include up-keeping payments such as cleaning (products or services), home improvements, repairs and decor. Regardless of how you like to classify your payments, the household spending category is certainly one to watch and budget for.
A category we should never neglect is that for “health”. Whether you have specific medications or have a gym membership to keep up a healthy exercise regime, these costs need to be considered, as health is something we should always look after.
Things that can be included in the health spending category are: medical bills, gym membership, nutritionist, therapist, medication, insurance and any other sanitary costs.
Although Rent can be classified within the “Bills” or “Household” expenses, we know there are some people out there that prefer to keep it in its own separate category, as it is a recurring payment that most likely never changes within the contracted timeframe.
Taxes can easily fall into the “Bills” spending category, however if you have different taxes that need to be looked after, then a specific category will certainly help keep track of them without needing to jump between other categories.
Examples of taxes that can be included in this category are: council tax, road tax and income tax.
Feeling generous? Make sure to budget when special occasions come round. Whether it's gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or bigger holidays like Christmas, your gifting category will require some extra attention.
Expenses to include in your gifting category can be: Christmas, New Years, Easter, Valentines day, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, thank you and get well soon gifts.
Whether you are a business owner or an employee who needs to keep track of business related expenses such as commutes and accommodation, make sure to budget for unexpected payments that you can then expense in the future. It is a great way to remain accountable.
If you have one or more credit cards then this category is for you. As you may already be aware, credit cards allow you to make immediate purchases which you can then repay at a later date. These payments can in turn be classified as “repayments” which is where this spending category stems from. Depending on your personal preferences you can decide to pay off your credit card bill in full by a set date with no interest or spread the repayments over a period of time, which adds on an additional cost to your budget as you will have to pay interest. Our tip is to always keep track of your repayments and budget according to your statements, while trying to pay off your balance as soon as possible, to in turn pay less interest.
If you have multiple bank accounts and find yourself transferring money often to help your budgeting system, then this spending category is made just for you. You’re not necessarily spending any money (unless you are paying someone else via bank transfer), however, it is always a good habit to keep track of the ins and outs of your different accounts to make sure you’re always in control.
Although cash usage is rapidly declining as a preferred payment method, it is also possible for certain scenarios to arise, whereby a cash withdrawal at an ATM is needed. Whether it be for a fiver to pay for parking or for a club entry, some places may not accept cards or other forms of payment other than cash. In these situations, it is good to budget for a small % of cash withdrawals to include in this spending category. Later on, depending on what you used that cash for, you can also assign it to another specific spending category such as entertainment, transport or whatever it may be.
As you have probably noticed throughout this article, some payments can fall into multiple categories (ie. rent, bills and household etc..) In cases like these, you can always fall back on a “Mixed” spending category to avoid any confusion. Although we suggest always budgeting according to the specific categories mentioned above, the “Mixed” category can act as an umbrella for various transactions when you are feeling uncertain.
Although we believe that we’ve covered any possible spending category out there, there might be something we’ve missed that you might find deserves a specific spot in your money newsfeed. That is why we considered an “other” spending category, just in case there might be some transactions that don’t necessarily fall into the previously mentioned categories, but are still payments that show up in your bank statement.
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