Reasonable way to organize categories?

Below I have a list of categories/subcategories I was using in YNAB 4 (I've removed a few Pre-YNAB Debt subcategories that are no longer relevant). Does this seem reasonable or is it too many categories?

I'm changing to the new YNAB and I see that the default categories are pretty different from this. The new default top-level categories are Credit Card Payments, Immediate Obligations, True Expenses, Debt Payments, Quality of Life Goals, and Just for Fun. I'm not sure I understand what these mean, especially True Expenses and Quality of Life Goals. But I wonder if I would benefit from trying to use the new structure? And perhaps combining some of my categories below?

Untracked
 - Untracked
Pre-YNAB Debt
 - Student Loan
Auto
 - Citation
 - Cleaning
 - Fuel
 - Insurance
 - Parking
 - Registration
 - Service
 - Replacement
Banking
 - Interest Owed
 - Fees
Bicycle
 - Accessories
 - Parts
 - Service
Clothing
 - Articles
 - Cleaning
 - Laundry Supplies
 - Rental
Coaching
 - General
Computer
 - Hardware
 - Software
Dating
 - Dates
 - Service
Education
 - Classes
 - Misc
Entertainment
 - Misc
 - Live Shows
 - Movies
Film/Photo
 - Equipment
 - Supplies
 - Transfer
 - Insurance
 - Production
 - Promotion
Food
 - Dining
 - Drinks
 - Groceries
Gifts
 - Charity
 - Misc
Household
 - Equipment
 - Supplies
 - Art
 - Design
Housing
 - Rent
 - Utilities
 - Renter's Insurance
 - Moving
Media
 - Books
 - Music
 - Subscriptions
 - Videos
Medical
 - Dentist
 - Doctor
 - Eye
 - Medicine
 - Insurance
 - Therapist
Misc
 - Misc
 - Reimbursable
Personal Care
 - Equipment
 - Haircut
 - Toiletries
Recreation
 - Dance
 - Fitness
 - Misc
Savings
 - Buffer
 - Cash Reserve
 - Emergency Fund
 - Roth IRA Contribution
Services
 - Cell Phone
 - Internet
Taxes
 - Fed/State Income
 - Tax Services
 - City
Transportation
 - Cab
 - Public
 - Auto Rental
 - Tolls
Organization
 - Organization
Vacation
 - Equipment
 - Misc

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  • There is no benefit to the new structure. It's just a suggestion. Choose the category structure that works for the way you budget, spend, and want to see reports.

    Mine is a Mix of Need/Want/Savings with temporal splits, plus a few others where I want to track at a more granular level. I use these to more easily calculate the funding amounts needed for an Income Replacement Fund.

    Reply Like 1
    • HappyDance nolesrule 

      Thanks for your advice. I've decided to keep the new structure, but I'm adding categories as I categorize things. This way I can rearrange the top-level categories later if I don't like it, but at least I'll give the new structure a try.

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  • Hi, Lyle Kopnicky

    A category list is very personal. It should be an extension of how you think, how you organize yourself, and what you consider priorities in you life. Mine reveals my weaknesses in spending as well.  If your list keeps you organized, then it is right for you.

    I use four temporal master categories that are based on the anticipated timing of the spending -- every month, sometime this year, probably within the next five years, hopefully never -- and the subcategories under each of my four master categories are a blend of both essential and discretionary.  I often group many like-expenses together:  rent and utilities (including TV, Internet, cell phone), software and subscriptions, all annual car-related renewals. 

    I will not hesitate to separate a category into separate subcategories if it holds a mix of discretionary and essential and is further complicated by a mix of frequent and irregular spending.  For example, I can't combine my pocket money for small purchases like coffee with the rest of my entertainment dollars.  I also finally had to separate haircuts and clothing, because it helped me ensure there were funds in place and reserved for my scheduled appointments at the salon.

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