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
- 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?
- Summer camp
- Amazon Prime
- 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.
Comparing my list to yours, these are some I have that you don't
- 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.
- 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)
- Hallmark E-cards
- Sam's Club/Costco/BJ's Wholesale
- Gamestop Memberhip
- X-Box Membership
- Any theater discount program
- Science center
- Zoo membership
- KOA membership
- HOA dues
- Yard care
- 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.
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.)
- 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).
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.
In no particular order our "True Expenses" are:
Auto Insurance (We save a lot of money by paying in full twice/year)
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
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.
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
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 :-)
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
Not really adding much here, but similar to eloquentz :
1. Debt Repayment (loans) - because I like to watch these b*****ds grind down in their own category 🙂
2. Everyday spending (variable) - this has separate categories for groceries, coffee subscription plan, haircuts, fuel
3. Monthly bills (fixed) - basically a category per direct debit that is fixed and paid monthly. Sky TV, mobile phones, council tax, water bill, energy bill, car repayment, road tax (I pay monthly), cleaner payment, gym subscription.
4. Irregular bills (fixed) - I know the amount, but it's not monthly. this includes a beer subscription paid bi-monthly, Amazon Prime, YNAB, annual car and home insurance premiums. I use goals to make sure these are on track
5. Pocket Money/Fun Money - pots of spending money for me and the fam.
6. Holidays - 1 category per trip organised by date they need to be paid
7. Birthdays - 1 category per family member, organised by date. Having just 1 "birthday" pot didn't work for me as I consistently underestimated those "peak" months where 4 birthdays come at once. This way I set a goal amount per birthday date and let YNAB do the math!
8. Other special occasions - Mother's Day, anniversary (because one year I forgot to buy flowers OUCH)
10. Rainy Day Funds
11. Wish Farm/Wish List
Now I look at it it seems like a lot, but it seems to work. I also try to follow Hannah's tip of putting the most important/least flexible at the top. So 11 is the first to get deprioritised, 1-3 are always fully funded.
Here's my list
Motorcycle insurance (annual bill, separate from our other vehicle insurance)
Vet bills/Pet insurance
Home maintenance (upkeep like air filters, paint, lightbulbs, etc.)
Back to school (clothes and supplies)
Amazon Prime Renewal
Ring Service Renewal
If helpful for others, I saw many people have a medical expenses category. I do as well, but added an annual Medical Deductible for 2022 which I wanted funded by Dec 2021 so I am set for the next year. I will continue to add monthly small amounts to my medical expenses category for co-pays and such.