What are your true expenses categories?

I feel like I am always forgetting what my expenses are. Specifically these are things that I HAVE to pay at some point over the course of the year (that I am acccumulating savings for in anticipation of having to pay later in the year). We have 2 kids. Here is my current list (in no particular order):

  • Tax accountant
  • Braces
  • Life insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Umbrella insuance 
  • Real estate taxes
  • Home maintenance (this is just upkeep)
  • Auto maintenance (oil change etc)
  • Taxes (income)
  • I know YNAB likes the computer replacement fund 

I feel like I am missing things — anyone else want to help me add?

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    • Summer camp
    • CSA
    • Amazon Prime
    • AAA
    • Holiday/Birthday presents for others
    • Kids birthday parties
    • Kids activities
    • Auto registration
    • Synagogue membership
    • Hebrew school
    • Credit card annual fees (I have a couple that are worth it)

    That's most of my list of recurring spending that happens less frequently than monthly. Obviously the list will be somewhat personal.

    Reply Like 1
    • HappyDance
    • YNABing consistently since 2014
    • HappyDance
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Comparing my list to yours, these are some I have that you don't

    • apparel
    • entertainment
    • Gifts and Family Events
    • Christmas (gifts, events, food)
    • Subscriptions and Software
    • Big Brother (silly paperwork renewals: licenses, passport, dues, permits)
    • Charity and Donations
    • Professional Services: accountant, lawyer (correction: I see you do have this one, but I'm leaving it here anyway)

    A few that I don't have but which occurred to me:

    • Do you have a pet?  Veterinary and health expenses
    • Back-to-School expenses (I hear a lot about it from my sisters)

    My computer replacement category is under savings along with retirement investing, next car purchase, furnishings, and travel.

    Reply Like
    • Heather
    • YNAB-Obsessed since 2014
    • estheticianbabe
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view
    • Christmas
    • Gifts
    • Hair Cuts
    • Car Maintenance
    • Clothing
    • Amazon Prime
    • YNAB
    • Contacts (Vision)
    • Dental
    • Vet Care
    • Car Insurance
    • Life Insurance
    • Renters Insurance
    • House Wares (replacing things like towels, toaster, etc)
    Reply Like
      • Beige Hail
      • Beige_Hail.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Heather Ooh, I like housewares. I couldn't figure out how to categorize household items that aren't really decorating, but also aren't home maintenance. Plus, little tech things (like the phone charger cords that I seem to blow through) can go there too.

      Reply Like
    • Kate
    • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
    • sweet_sunshine
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I have a couple that I like knowing are in my budget!

    • Medical Expenses
    • Therapy Appointments
    • Clothing
    • Car Registration
    • Future Move (you might not need this one)
    • Christmas Traveling Expenses
    • Christmas 2018
    Reply Like
    • Car Registration/title transfer (I just finished a divorce so when I renew I need to get the ex off the title. Also I am registered in OK but in CA so might have to mess with Smog and a whole bunch of stuff.)
    • License renewal
    • Cell phone replacement
    • Software subscription
      • AVG Ultimate (So anything that you have for security suite for you computer)
      • Ancestry.com
      • Hallmark E-cards
    • Sam's Club/Costco/BJ's Wholesale
    • Gamestop Memberhip
    • X-Box Membership
    • Any theater discount program
    • Science center
    • Zoo membership
    • YMCA
    • Gym
    • KOA membership
    • HOA dues
    • Yard care
    • Maid
    • Pest control

    Several of these I do not have but I know people that have them and did not see them on the list so I throw them out there. 

    Reply Like 1
  • I have a bunch of things that have already been listed (or include the expenses in some other category). Here's some others:

    • Legal & financial (attorney's fees, tax prep, etc.)
    • Charitable giving
    • 4 separate categories for the dog: Food, medical, pet sitting, and miscellaneous (for toys, bedding, etc.)
    • Hobbies
    • Miscellaneous (stamps or other random shipping not related to gifts or Christmas, my driver's license renewal, banking fees--which thanks to YNAB, I no longer encounter, but did in my first couple of months)
    • Household goods (new furniture, kitchenwares, towels)
    • Home maintenance (new smoke alarm, replacement part for the dishwasher, tools, big long term projects)
    • Cleaning and home care (cleaning supplies, light bulbs, TP)
    • Yard (plants, yard work fees, garden tools)
    • Work related expenses (professional association memberships and events, unreimbursed expenses, classes or training)

    Somehow you want to cover all this stuff from all these lists, but I'll repeat the advice I was given when I started: Don't go overboard with categories. Combine some things that make sense in a way that works for you. At first I had separate categories for each of my utilities. Within a few months I combined it all into a single utilities category. If I still need to know how much I've spent on electric, I can run a report for just that payee in that category.

    For me, having separate categories for things where I'm trying to better control spending, helps me keep an eye on it. For example, the quick take-out dinners and work lunches were killing my budget, so they have a category separate from groceries or entertainment (like going out to dinner with friends). 

    Reply Like 2
    • puddlejumper24
    • Construction Office Assistant/Artist
    • Purple_Yeti_2deb5a392c7
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    I've started adding a bit more to the Stuff I Forgot to Budget For category. 

    If an "unexpected" expected expense comes up, I have two choices:

    -Pay it with my Forgotten category, then make a new budget line

    -If it's a membership I know longer need or want or a fee paid because of a dumb mistake, I pay it and make sure I handle it so it doesn't come out again. 

    Reply Like 1
    • Michael
    • I desire to inspire.
    • thepawnwithaplan
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    In no particular order our "True Expenses" are:

    Home Insurance
    Property Taxes
    Auto Insurance (We save a lot of money by paying in full twice/year)
    Auto Tags/Taxes/Registration
    Homeowners Association Dues
    Birthdays (Mine, Wife's and Children are separate categories)
    Anniversary (We go out for a nice dinner and purchase a more pricey item that we've both wanted.)
    Black Friday/Cyber Monday (We buy all the gifts we need for each other and family/friends for the coming year)
    Amazon Prime Subscription
    YNAB Subscription

    Reply Like
    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
    • vibrant
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

     
    I've only been YNABing for about two months so I'm sure there are things I'm not thinking of yet. 

    Reply Like 1
      • Cyan Lion
      • NEWBIE- Help me become Self Sufficient and get out of Debts
      • Cyan_Lion.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant LOL Bank of Mom  ;D

      Reply Like
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant I have a bank of mom category too. 

      Reply Like
  • This actually has me thinking of where I can combine categories (e.g. my computer and phone categories should really just fall under a general 'electronics' label or the major appliances category)

    Reply Like 1
  • For the folks that have things like "Software" as True Expenses, how do you budget and goal for those with it being on different cycles (monthly vs annually) and hitting at different times (e.g. Prime might be in Feb and YNAB in August)?

    Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      BradleyW I'd just make two categories. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Hi BradleyW !

      If you want to keep multiple due dates in a single category, it will take a bit of math. You'll need to divide the amount due by the number of months until the due date (for each expense) then add them together. 

      If Prime is $60 due in February (6 months from now), you'd need to budget $10 a month. If YNAB is $83.99 due in August (12 months from now), you'd need to budget $6.99 a month. That's $16.99 a month in the subscriptions category (but you'll need to readjust after paying for Prime in February to account for a full year's payment instead of 6 months).

      If you'd rather avoid the math, you can create multiple categories like Khaki Storm mentioned. :)

      Reply Like 1
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 2 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    Read all, just have 2 adds. Work expenses for the occasional collection at work for flowers, retirement gift, etc. Tax preparer fees for that special time of year, but budget for it every month. 

    Reply Like 1
  • This is totally a newb question - but where are you saving the money for these expenses?

    Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Trombone the money is in the 🏦, but if you're asking how is it tracked, that's in YNAB budget categories. 

      Reply Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Trombone 

      I using the running balance option from YNAB Toolkit to keep an eye on our checking balance to make sure I have enough for upcoming expenses - bills are recurring transactions and I fill out the amount when I schedule the payment.  I keep about 1.5x of our monthly budget in my brick and mortar money market account.  The rest is in a high interest Ally savings account.  I keep a pad in the brick and mortar because it can take 2-7 days, depending on holidays and weekends, for an ACH withdrawal from our Ally account to hit our checking account. 

      It's all a matter of comfort.  I know I'm giving up a few dollars in extra interest by leaving that extra pad of cash in the brick and mortar bank but I feel more secure knowing I can get to it in an emergency and not have to wait a week or more.  

      Reply Like
    • HappyDance
    • YNABing consistently since 2014
    • HappyDance
    • 1 mth ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view
    Khaki Trombone said:
    This is totally a newb question - but where are you saving the money for these expenses?

    I try to put as much money as I can in my high-interest savings account. That means that instead of calculating how much I need in saving, I calculate how much I absolutely need to keep in my chequing and transfer the rest to savings.  I use a formula to help me know how much to leave in chequing:  my average monthly spending on the monthly stuff (rent, utilities, food, etc.), plus any scheduled annual expenses (includes credit card payments), plus an extra $1K for flexibility (my preference),  and I transfer all the rest to a savings account that pays the best interest. In YNAB you don't assign category balances to specific accounts.  Here's an article you may find helpful.

    https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

    Reply Like 2
  • Single, no kids, dont own a home

    I'm new to YNAB and I get the impression that I'm putting stuff in slightly different categories?

    Under immediate obligations I've got my  monthly direct debits, so, OneDrive, Amazon Prime, etc

    I've got a separate category for Dog

    Under True Expenses I havent got much right now: TV, YNAB, Birthdays and Stuff I Forgot To Budget For 

    Under Long Term is where I put things like the next Laptop, Christmas, etc

    Reply Like 1
    • Mx Emmin I noticed your online shopping category and was intrigued; I wondered what you spend the money on. I mean for me buying online only says something about the method, not about what it is spent on.

      Reply Like
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Pony Powder Blue Pony it's mostly Amazon and stuff I dont have a clear category for. Sometimes books, sometimes yarn, sometimes dog jumpers. But it's only 2 or 3 things a month so it's not worth creating new categories for them. "Miscellaneous" would work just as well, but by calling it "Online Shopping" I know it's basically "Amazon" 

      Reply Like 1
    • Mx Emmin aha. Understand.

      Yarn for me means a warning flag. The other day, when writing about being proud of myself for going to a yarnstore and only spending part of a giftcard, someone replied to say she has a separate categoryfor yarn 😂

      Reply Like 1
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 12 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Pony  I mean... if its not December, I can pretty much rename that category "Yarn and Books" !

      Reply Like 2
    • Mx Emmin Powder Blue Pony Hello fellow fiber friends! I had a separate category for Yarn, and it's all under Fun Money now (still mostly yarn, so the label doesn't matter). Do you crochet, knit or another fiber art?

      Reply Like 2
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 11 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Nicole crochet. I'm relatively new and self taught so I know how to make exactly one pattern! A corner to corner blanket...

      Reply Like 2
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 11 days ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Nicole  I've got the one big WIP - a pride blanket that's going to be about the size of a queen duvet when done - and I keep pausing it to do baby blankets because it seems people wont stop getting pregnant 

      Reply Like 3
    • Nicole knit. An alpaca (just a stuffed toy, nothing lama like) at the moment. And a cardigan and a shawl. My son says things like “do you need another shawl?!”... Oh yes, forgot second cardigan.

      What about yourself?

      Reply Like
    • Mx Emmin 

      Mx Emmin said:
      I keep pausing it to do baby blankets because it seems people wont stop getting pregnant 

       I understand this so much. 😂

      Reply Like 2
  • Powder Blue Pony said:
    Yarn for me means a warning flag.

     Just came across this thread and went WHOA! This sounds like me. I definitely have a Yarn/Knitting category and it usually gets a hefty monthly contribution (it's also rare that there's any money left over at the end of the month either) Knitting is pretty much my only hobby and at times, saves my sanity, or what's left of it :-)

    Reply Like 3
    • KnitPurlKnit Ha, that fits with your name 😊. I noticed it before. Had I not liked the name I’ve been given, I might have chosen a similar one.

      you’re absolutely right about the sanity thing. And though it sounds just funny and as an excuse at first, there’s so much truth in it! So there’s reason to spend on it as a major goal, isn’t there?!  I’ll make a category too! Hurray! (I don’t need a big one, but will make the catagory)

      Reply Like 1
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 6 days ago
    • Reported - view

    I split my "true expenses" into 3. I don't have a grouping called True expenses.

     

    Fixed monthly expenses: Mortgage, Home/car insurance, charitable donations, YMCA membership, life insurance, cell phone, internet and phone

     

    Variable monthly expenses: Hydro (electric for you non-Canadians), groceries, gas, Interest/fees, Melaleuca order

     

    Deb payments: List of debts with their due dates

    Reply Like
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