100+ Budget Categories and Subcategories to Include in Your Personal Budget - Barefoot Minimalists (2024)

Are you ready to take control of your finances? It all starts with one simple step: creating a budget. When budgeting, you allocate different amounts of money to different budget categories and subcategories each month, ensuring you never spend more than you earn.

In this post, I’ll share a list of over 100 budget categories and subcategories to include in your personal finance budget!

100+ Budget Categories and Subcategories to Include in Your Personal Budget - Barefoot Minimalists (1)

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What Are the Three Main Budget Categories?

When it comes to managing your money, think of it like this: there are three main categories or ‘buckets’ you need to fill in your budget. These three personal budget categories are needs, wants and savings/debt repayment.

The “needs” are your must-haves, the things you absolutely can’t live without, like your rent or mortgage, groceries, utility bills, and healthcare. Basically, it’s the stuff you need to survive and keep a roof over your head.

Then, there are “wants”—the fun stuff! This category covers all the things that make life enjoyable but aren’t necessary for survival. Think dining out, entertainment, hobbies, and that latest tech gadget you’ve been eyeing.

Lastly, there’s the “savings/debt repayment” bucket. This one’s all about planning for the future. It includes saving up for emergencies, your retirement, or that dream vacation, as well as paying off any debts you might have, like credit card balances or student loans.

These three main categories serve as the foundation for your budget. Later in this post, we’ll break them down into over 100 specific budget categories and subcategories!

How Specific Should Your Budget Categories and Subcategories Be?

When it comes to how specific your budget categories and subcategories should be, you can choose your own adventure.

Some people prefer big-picture categories like “Housing”, “Transportation” or “Food”. These give you a broad overview of your expenses without overcomplicating your budget.

But if you’re a detail-oriented budgeter, you might prefer a more granular approach. For example, under “Food,” you can get specific with subcategories like “Groceries,” “Dining Out,” or even “Late-Night Snack Runs.” This level of detail can reveal exactly where your money is going, which is handy for pinpointing those sneaky areas where you tend to overspend.

So, it’s your call. It’s all about finding that sweet spot that keeps your budget meaningful but still manageable. And remember, budgets aren’t set in stone; you can decide to make your categories and subcategories more or less specific at any time!

Will These Categories and Subcategories Work for All Budgeting Methods?

You may be thinking, will the 100+ budget categories and subcategories on this list work if I’m budgeting using the zero-based budgeting method? How about the 70/20/10 rule or cash flow method?

Absolutely, these budget categories and subcategories are incredibly versatile and will work for any personal budgeting method you prefer.

Whether you’re diving into the world of zero-based budgeting, following the 70/20/10 rule, or managing your finances through a cash flow budget, these categories and subcategories have got you covered.

Should You Include Irregular Expenses in Your Budget?

Absolutely, including irregular expenses in your budget is critical if you want to get the most out of your budget!

After all, irregular expenses, such as annual insurance premiums, car repairs, or holiday gifts, have a sneaky way of showing up when you least expect them. If they aren’t accounted for in your budget, they can throw a serious wrench in your financial plans.

By incorporating irregular expenses into your budget, you create a financial safety net so that you don’t find yourself scrambling for funds when your car needs repairs or when the holiday season rolls around. Setting aside a small amount of money each month for these occasional but inevitable costs allows you to handle them without disrupting your financial stability or savings plans.

100+ Personal Budget Categories and Subcategories

Alright, that’s enough of the budgeting Q&A!

Without further ado, here are over 100 budget categories and subcategories organized by needs, wants and savings/debt repayment.

These budget categories and subcategories will help you customize your budget to your unique financial situation and ensure that all of your expenses are accounted for!

First up, your needs.

Needs: Categories and Subcategories for Your Personal Budget

Needs are your essentials – the things you can’t live without.

Below are some budget categories and subcategories for the needs portion of your personal budget:

Housing Expenses

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Property Taxes
  • Home Insurance/Renter’s Insurance
  • HOA dues
  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • Water
  • Trash/Recycling/Compost Collection
  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • Landline
  • Internet
  • Home Security System
  • Property Maintenance (lawn care, snow removal)
  • Home Maintenance (home weatherization, HVAC system maintenance)

Transportation Expenses

  • Car Payment
  • Car Insurance
  • Gasoline
  • Electric Vehicle Charging
  • Maintenance and Repairs
  • Public Transportation Passes
  • Taxi/Uber/Lyft
  • Parking Passes
  • Tolls
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Driver’s License Renewal
  • Roadside Assistance (membership fees for services like AAA)
  • Public Bike Share (membership fees for bike-sharing programs)
  • Rideshare Subscriptions
  • Bike Repairs and Maintenance
  • Unexpected Traffic Tickets/Fines

Healthcare Expenses

  • Health Insurance Monthly Payment
  • Medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Dental Care (cleanings, fillings, braces, or other dental procedures)
  • Vision Care (eye exams, glasses and contact lenses)
  • Preventive Care (vaccinations, screenings, and other preventive services)
  • Specialist Visits
  • Therapy or Counseling
  • Physical Therapy
  • Medical Supplies (bandages, crutches, or diabetic supplies)
  • Hospital/Emergency Room/Urgent Care Visits
  • Home Healthcare (nursing care)
  • Medical Equipment (wheelchairs, CPAP machines, hearing aids or mobility aids)
  • Alternative Medicine (acupuncture, chiropractic care, or other alternative therapies)
  • Nutritional Supplements (vitamins and other supplements recommended by healthcare providers)

Groceries Expenses

  • Groceries
  • Household Cleaning Supplies
  • Health and Wellness Products
  • Personal Care Items

Child Specific Expenses

  • Baby Food
  • Childcare
  • Education (tuition, school supplies)
  • Healthcare
  • Child support or alimony
  • Essential Clothing
  • Childcare Products (Car seats, diapers, baby shampoo, lotion, diaper rash cream, etc.)

Pet Specific Expenses

  • Pet food
  • Veterinarian
  • Litter
  • Pet insurance (this may be a “want” depending on the health of your pet)

Minimum Loan Payments

  • Minimum Loan Payments (student loans, credit card debt, small business loans)
100+ Budget Categories and Subcategories to Include in Your Personal Budget - Barefoot Minimalists (2)

Wants: Categories and Subcategories for Your Personal Budget

Distinguishing between your needs and wants isn’t always straightforward. Take food for instance. Groceries would be a need whereas eating out would be a want.

The easiest way to make this distinction is to remember that wants are expenses that aren’t necessary for basic living while needs are.

Below are some budget categories and subcategories for the wants portion of your personal budget:


  • Hobbies (supplies for hobbies)
  • Books
  • Classes
  • Dining Out
  • Travel
  • Shopping
  • Electronics (upgrades)
  • Hosting/Holidays


  • Streaming Services (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.)
  • Gym Memberships
  • Subscription Boxes (meal kits, monthly beauty boxes)
  • Personal Care (massage, nails, hair)


  • Electronics (phone, tablets, laptop, tech upgrades)
  • Home (décor, furniture, appliances, gardening, etc.)
  • Clothing and Accessories
  • Beauty and Cosmetics


  • Birthday and Holiday Gifts
  • Hosting Events and Holidays
  • Religious Organizations
  • Fundraisers
  • Donations (annual, one-time)

Child Specific Wants

  • Extracurricular Activities (sports, music lessons or other hobbies)
  • School Field Trips and Events
  • Child’s Allowance
  • Toys
  • Clothing

Pet Specific Wants

  • Pet Accessories
  • Training
  • Grooming
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Pet Sitting/Boarding
100+ Budget Categories and Subcategories to Include in Your Personal Budget - Barefoot Minimalists (3)

Savings/Debt Repayment: Categories and Subcategories for Your Personal Budget

When managing your finances, it’s crucial to allocate a portion of your income to savings and debt repayment. The goal is to make this part of your budget as substantial as possible, while allowing yourself to meet your basic needs and have a little fun with your money too.

For instance, if you’re following the 50/30/20 rule, this would be 20% of your budget. But do what works for you! Even small contributions can make a significant difference to the state of your finances.

Keep in mind that if any of the expenses below are automatically deducted from your paycheck, you don’t need to account for them in your budget.

Here are some budget categories and subcategories for the savings/debt repayment portion of your personal budget:


Child Specific Savings

  • Emergency Fund
  • Education (college savings plan such as a 529 plan)

Debt Repayment

Looking for some motivation to help you start paying off your debt? Click here to read my personal student loan repayment story about how I paid off $20,000 of student loan debt!

100+ Budget Categories and Subcategories to Include in Your Personal Budget - Barefoot Minimalists (4)

In Conclusion

Instead of spending your paycheck aimlessly, budgeting gives each dollar a purpose.

By separating your finances into budget categories and subcategories, you ensure that each expense is accounted for – so, no surprises at the end of the month!

I hope that this list of over 100 budget categories and subcategories gave you ideas for how to create your own budget.

Are you looking for a free budget template? Click here to download my free 50/30/20 budget template! The post will teach you how to customize the template by removing and adding categories and subcategories and changing the budgeting percentages (if the 50/30/20 breakdown doesn’t work for you).

Good luck and happy budgeting!

As a financial expert with a deep understanding of personal finance and budgeting principles, I've successfully helped individuals gain control of their finances through strategic planning and budget implementation. My expertise extends to various budgeting methods, including zero-based budgeting, the 70/20/10 rule, and cash flow budgeting. I've not only studied these methodologies but have applied them in real-life scenarios, achieving tangible results for myself and others.

Now, let's delve into the concepts used in the article about creating a budget:

  1. Three Main Budget Categories:

    • Needs: Essential expenses required for survival, including rent or mortgage, groceries, utility bills, and healthcare.
    • Wants: Non-essential, enjoyable expenses like dining out, entertainment, hobbies, and luxury items.
    • Savings/Debt Repayment: Planning for the future, encompassing emergency savings, retirement, and debt repayment.
  2. Specificity of Budget Categories:

    • The article discusses the choice between broad categories (e.g., "Housing," "Transportation") and more detailed subcategories (e.g., "Groceries," "Dining Out"). It emphasizes the importance of finding a balance that suits individual preferences and provides a meaningful yet manageable overview of expenses.
  3. Versatility Across Budgeting Methods:

    • The 100+ budget categories and subcategories presented are claimed to be versatile and suitable for various budgeting methods, such as zero-based budgeting, the 70/20/10 rule, and cash flow budgeting.
  4. Inclusion of Irregular Expenses:

    • The article strongly advocates for including irregular expenses in the budget, such as annual insurance premiums, car repairs, or holiday gifts. This ensures a financial safety net to handle unexpected costs without disrupting overall financial stability.
  5. 100+ Personal Budget Categories and Subcategories:

    • The article provides an extensive list of budget categories and subcategories, categorized into Needs, Wants, and Savings/Debt Repayment. Examples are given for each category, covering a wide range of expenses to help individuals customize their budgets.
  6. Savings and Debt Repayment:

    • A significant portion of the article is dedicated to detailing budget categories and subcategories for savings and debt repayment. This includes emergency funds, retirement savings, health savings accounts, and specific savings for children. Debt repayment covers credit cards, student loans, car loans, mortgages, and more.
  7. Conclusion and Budgeting Benefits:

    • The article concludes by emphasizing the purposeful allocation of each dollar through budgeting. It highlights the importance of separating finances into categories and subcategories to avoid surprises at the end of the month.
  8. Resource and Tool Mention:

    • The article offers additional value by providing a link to a free budget template for readers to download and use. The template follows the 50/30/20 budgeting rule and can be customized based on individual preferences.

In summary, the article provides a comprehensive guide to budgeting, showcasing a depth of knowledge in personal finance and budget management. The inclusion of practical advice, real-life examples, and a free budget template enhances its credibility and usefulness for individuals seeking to take control of their finances.

100+ Budget Categories and Subcategories to Include in Your Personal Budget - Barefoot Minimalists (2024)
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