40+ Common Monthly Expenses To Remember In Your Budget

Budgeting is the ultimate key to ensuring that you comfortably cover your cost of living. Yet, the effectiveness of your budget lies in its accuracy. So, here’s a comprehensive list of monthly expenses to consider when you’re setting up your budget.

Staying ahead of common household expenses, while also preparing for the unexpected ones, will keep your budget from spiraling out of control.

Stack of money with notes for bills and mortagage. Overlaid text: Household expenses list

List Of Monthly Expenses

This monthly expenses list has been sorted into non-discretionary (needs), discretionary (wants), and unexpected (or irregular) expenses.

  • Discretionary Expenses: Spending that is optional or has flexible costs.
  • Non-Discretionary Expenses: Spending that is necessary for living.

Read More: Cheap living tips to make your monthly expenses more affordable.

Differentiating between a “need” and a “want” can be challenging. However, doing this will help you prioritize what is important in your budget and identify additional bills you can live without. Your opinion on what belongs in each category might differ from mine, and that’s absolutely fine! Everyone leads a different life, so as long as your budget works for you and you’re able to live within your means… live your life!

As always, don’t forget to prioritize saving money!

Cartoon icons of common monthly expenses. Ex Mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, etc.

Needs/ Non-Discretionary Expenses

Meeting the necessities of life requires a firm grip on our non-negotiable expenses. These are the bills that keep the lights on, a roof over our heads, and our lives in order.

  1. Rent or Mortgage (along with other common bills for a house)
  2. Home or Renters Insurance
  3. Property Tax
  4. Auto Insurance
  5. Life Insurance
  6. Health Insurance
  7. Out of pocket medical expenses
  8. Electricity
  9. Gas
  10. Water
  11. Garbage/ Sanitation
  12. Car Payment
  13. Gasoline
  14. Public Transportation
  15. Internet
  16. Cellphone
  17. Student Loan Payments
  18. Debt Repayment
  19. Child Support
  20. Alimony
  21. Child Care

TIP: For flexible costs, I typically budget with the higher number. For example, if my water bill varies between $70 to $100, I budget for $100 and save any amount leftover.

Wants/ Discretionary Expenses

We all indulge in discretionary expenses, whether it’s treating ourselves to dining out, splurging on the latest tech gadget, or investing in a gym membership. However, through conscious spending decisions, I’ve come to realize the importance of moderation. Through consistent practice, I’ve successfully struck a balance between savoring life’s pleasures and upholding financial responsibility.

  1. Groceries
  2. Toiletries and other essentials
  3. Clothing
  4. Dining Out
  5. Charitable Donations
  6. Entertainment
  7. Gym Membership
  8. Cable and/or Streaming Packages
  9. Self-care
  10. Personal Grooming
  11. School Costs (Supplies, field trips, special events, etc.)
  12. Pets (Food, Flea Treatment, Insurance, Vet Visits, Vaccinations)

NOTE: Some of these can be categorized as a “need” but are in this section because the amount spent on them is optional.

Irregular/ Unexpected Expenses

Life is unpredictable, and so are the expenses that come our way. These unforeseen financial surprises can catch us off guard, but with strategic planning, we can learn to anticipate and manage them effectively.

  1. Gifts
  2. Vehicle Registration
  3. Driver’s License/ ID Renewal
  4. Vehicle Maintenance and Repairs (Oil Change, New Tires, Tire Rotation, Alignment, etc.)
  5. Lawn and Garden Expenses
  6. Income tax (If you owe or have estimated payments)
  7. Furniture/ Appliance repair or replacement

TIP: You can budget for this section by splitting the costs throughout the year. For example, I typically get 2 oil changes per year for $60 each. Splitting $120 between 12 months would mean setting aside $10 per month for this.

Tips for Effective Budgeting

  • Create a Realistic Budget: Ensure your budget is a reflection of your actual spending habits and income.
  • Regular Expense Tracking: Monitor your expenses regularly to identify areas where you can cut costs or make adjustments.
  • Adjust as Needed: Life is dynamic, and so should be your budget. Don’t hesitate to revise it based on changes in your income or expenses.


Taking the time to create a detailed list of monthly expenses will save you from the headache and heartache of stressing out over bills that you didn’t account for. Moreover, with your budget on the right track, you’ll be able to save money more effectively. I mean… who doesn’t want to have financial freedom?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 3 expenses?

The top three expenses for individuals typically include housing costs (rent or mortgage), transportation expenses (car payments, fuel, maintenance), and food expenditures.

What is the biggest expense for most people?

The biggest expense for most people tends to be housing, encompassing either rent or mortgage payments.

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