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55 Budget Categories You Don’t Want to Forget


55 Budget Categories You Don't Want to Forget

It’s easy to forget about all kinds of expenses when you’re trying to stick to a budget. Of course, it’s easy to remember your mortgage, utilities, cell phone bill, and groceries. But there are so many other expenses that can sneak up on you.

This is especially frustrating if you’re trying to stick to a tight budget and you don’t have much wiggle room.

In order to accomplish our financial goals (this year we’re trying to pay off all of our debt), or just because we had a low income, we’ve always worked with a very tight budget. There were times when something as simple as a $30 haircut meant that we spent more than we earned in a month. Frustrating!

The thing is that none of these should be a surprise! We should know that even little emergency events are bound to happen, which is why we have an emergency fund. We have a set of sinking funds (separate online savings accounts that we put money in each month) that we use to help with a lot of budget categories that can easily sneak up on us.

You can read more about what categories we put money into and how that works in my post about our $2500 per month budget.

Right now, I want to lay out a big list of possible expenses you might be forgetting about when you budget. Not all of these will apply to everyone.

If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, then you probably don’t worry too much about the little things like a haircut or medical copay. There are some larger expenses that you might have forgotten about, though.

It’s good to go through the list, see which expenses apply to you, and make sure you have a plan in place for how you’re going to handle them when they come up.

55 Budget Categories to Remember

Pet Costs

  • Food and Treats
  • Medication: Flea and Heartworm Meds
  • Yearly Vet Checkup with Shots
  • Toys 🙂


  • Car Registration/License Renewal
  • Oil Changes
  • Tires
  • Maintenance Repairs
  • Parking Fees
  • Saving for Vehicle Replacement


  • Copays
  • Prescriptions
  • Deductible/Out-of-Pocket Costs
  • Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Vitamins


Obviously Christmas and Thanksgiving, but don’t forget Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day too!

  • Food
  • Gifts
  • Cards + Postage
  • Decor
  • Travel

Summer Activities

  • Water Park Admission
  • Beach Days
  • Movies
  • Summer Camp
  • Extra Ice Cream Shop Visits


  • Party: Decorations and Food
  • Going Out to Eat
  • Gifts: For family, friends, kid’s friend’s birthday parties…

Once or Twice Per Year Costs

  • Life Insurance
  • Home Owners Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Property Taxes
  • Magazine Subscriptions
  • Memberships: Zoo, Museum, Water Park…

Kid Stuff

  • Babysitter
  • Activity Fees
  • Daycare
  • Field Trip Fees
  • Growing Out of Clothes and Shoes
  • Sports Fees & Equipment
  • School Supplies
  • Day Camp/Summer Camp
  • College Savings


  • Repairs
  • Improvements
  • Services: Snow Plow, Lawn, Termite Inspection…


  • Wedding Gifts
  • Baby Shower Gifts
  • Birthday Gifts
  • Anniversary Gifts


Clothing & Shoes

Charitable Giving

Gym / Fitness Class Fees


As I’ve budgeted over the years, I’ve learned that I need to think ahead about a lot of random expenses that pop up so that we’re not thrown off by them.

You might be tempted to only worry about the big ones, like vacations and Christmas gifts, but I’ve found that a few little expenses sneaking up on us can be just as damaging to our budget.

It’s frustrating when you can’t stick to your budget or make any progress with your financial goals because of various expenses popping up that you didn’t think about! By looking through this list, you can make sure that you have a plan for how to handle each and every one of these. 

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⇒ What “surprise” expenses have snuck up on you in the past? 

55 Budget Categories You Don\'t Want to Forget

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