Budgeting is the best way to ensure that you are able to cover your cost of living; however, your budget is only effective if you make it accurately. So, here’s a list of expenses that you might want to include when getting started.
Staying on top of common household expenses (and preparing for the unexpected ones) will save your budget from going out of whack.
List Of Monthly Expenses
These monthly expenses have 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.
Related Posts: Cheap living tips to make your monthly expenses more affordable.
Differentiating between a “need” and a “want” is really hard. But, doing this will help you prioritize what is important in your budget and what additional bills you can live without. You may even have a different opinion than me about what belongs in each category, and that’s totally okay! Everyone lives 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!
Needs/ Non-Discretionary Expenses
- Rent or Mortgage (along with other common bills for a house)
- Home or Renters Insurance
- Property tax
- Auto Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Out of pocket medical expenses
- Car payment
- Public Transportation
- Student loan payments
- Debt repayment
- Child support
- 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
- Toiletries and other essentials
- Dining Out
- Charitable Donations
- Gym membership
- Cable and/or Streaming Packages
- Personal Grooming
- School Costs (Supplies, field trips, special events, etc.)
- 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
- Vehicle Registration
- Driver’s License/ ID Renewal
- Vehicle Maintenance and Repairs (Oil Change, New Tires, Tire Rotation, Alignment, etc.)
- Lawn and Garden Expenses
- Income tax (If you owe or have estimated payments)
- 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.
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. Also, 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?