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Budget Categories: A Basic Guide for Your Next Spending Plan!

Today we’ll talk about budget categories and why they are an important aspect of a serious budget.all-about-budget-categories

 

Budgeting is a timeless personal finance tool. Once you know how to budget, you’ll surely be on the right to financial freedom.

 

However, there are basics in budgeting one must master first.

 

And that is having the correct budget categories.

 

If you want to create effective budget moving forward one must first choose the right budget categories as a starting point.

   

 

What are Budget Categories

Budget categories refer to items where you allocate your money with. They are the main baskets where your monthly expenses belong with.

 

Here are different budget categories that your present or your future budget should have.

 

1. Tithes. This consists of 10% of your total income. Other variants of this budget category will be Offerings, Missions (if you are supporting a missionary) and giving fund.

 

2. Utilities. Utilities refers to all the daily, weekly or monthly subscriptions that you need to pay with. Under Bills are the following:

Electricity

Gas

Telephone

Internet

Water

 

3. Housing. Though this could be included in the Bills category but I choose to separate this one to give you a much thorough breakdown on sub categories that you need to allocate money with when we talk about house.

Rent or Mortgage

House Repair 

Property Tax

Insurance

 

4. Food. This category is of high importance for we need to eat in order to live.

Groceries

At work food allowance

Dine Out

Snacks

 

5. Transportation. Personally, this is where most of my income goes since I choose to ride conveniently on an FX (Skyway) going to and from work. In short, I choose convenience over saving money here. Below are other sub categories:

For those who commute:

Commutting to and from work

For those who own their car:

Fuel

Tires

Oil Change

Car Maintenance

Parking Fees

Toll Fees

Repairs

 

6. Investments. If you have different investment instruments then you need to allocate an amount for each.

Stock Market

Mutual Fund

Bond Fund

Others

7. Savings. This is something that you need to put emphasis on –building your emergency fund. Put this as part of budget allocation so you won’t forget to put aside some money. 

Emergency Fund

Fun Fund

Financial Goal Fund

Sinking Fund

Opportunity Fund

Others

 

8. Personal/Household Expenses. This are expenses that are considered mostly of a personal and or your whole household/family in nature.

Clothing Allowance

Load Allowance

Gym Memberships

Salon Services

Cosmetics

House Help

 

9. Leisure. Let's be honest, we all have these recreational activities that more often than not will cause us to spend some money. Make sure you are allocating properly.

Vacation/Trips

Gifts

Movies

Books, Magazines, Newspapers

Hobbies, Crafts, Arts Supplies

Gym Fees or Equipment

Subscriptions

10. Miscellaneous or Other Expenses. There are expenses that just come along the way so it's better to put aside some reasonable amount.

 

I created a free Budget Categories Checklist to help you get started with a better budget. You can access the checklist for free in the SavingsPinay Resource Library.

 

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Helpful Budget Tips

 

Now that we’ve established the different budget categories you can use, I’d like to quickly share some helpful budget tips you can follow:

1. Discern your unique budget categories

It’s important to make your categories as close as to what you really in a spend. We all have different expenses and spending habits so you want to ensure your budget categories reflect as well where exactly your money goes.

2. Be as specific as you can be

Instead of just writing down Subscriptions, narrow down the item by enumerating the specific monthly subscriptions you really have. Doing this will not just enable you to budget better, it will also help you assess whether a subscription is still necessary or can be ruthlessly cut!

3. Start with the most important categories first

When you are already allocating your money, you may want to take a good look at your list of budget categories and take care of what matters to you most. Then, fill the rest of your budget categories next stil making sure you stay within your assigned allocation.

4. Keep things simple

Setting up your own budget categories, just like budgeting, may seem daunting at first. The key here is to keep things as simple as possible. Sometimes having one simple category works as well especially if you don’t spend that much money on a particular item anyways. For example on my budget I simply put Transportation Allowance instead of narrowing down the category to all the transportation-related items I spend my money on.

5. Be real with your income. Of course you need to enumirate your sources of income as well in every budget. The most common source of income is salary but, if you have other sources of income, you should include them as well.

Salary

Dividends

Bonus

Interest Earned

Side Hustle Income

Others

   

budget-categories-101

Final Notes from SavingsPinay

We all are aware of what a budget is and why it is important.

 

I believe over almost a year and a half that I’ve been blogging under the finance category I’ve tackled this topic time and time again. I call Budgeting as a timeless personal finance tool. Once you know how to budget you’ll sure is on your right track to financial freedom.

 

The very first post that I published is the 50-20-30 Rule of Budgeting. This budgeting technique is good for beginners. All you have to do is to simply allocate your income in different percentage such as 50% essential, 20% savings and 30% lifestyle. This by the way is less tithe. I believe that no matter what religion you are in, tithing is important. Give God what is due to Him.

 

I also featured two budget series which can be done by almost anyone. The Notebook Style and The Envelope Style. I remember when I was in college and starting to earn through hosting I use the above methods because I need to track the money that goes to my account manually. I don’t have any savings account back then so the notebook and the envelope helped me a lot.

 

Things that Ruin my Money is a blog post I created to remind myself of my the things that I need to stop doing in order to stick with my budget. These are common things that I believe a lot can relate to. Because of its success I even created a Part 2 entitled More Things That Ruin My Money.

 

Now if you still have no idea how to create a budget you can click any of the two posts below:

How to Create a Spending Plan

How To Effectively Budget Your Money

 

I hope this post helps you!

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Clariza Glino

Izza of SavingsPinay helps Filipinos bridge the financial literacy gap one content at a time by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing, side hustle and growing your net worth. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglinofull.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at izza@savingspinay.ph

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