To ensure accurate recording of expenses Categories of a budget should be well defined and clear. This is to make sure that ambiguous expenses don’t get mixed in with regular expenses.
Having gone through the past couple months of purchases I have narrowed my categories to the following:
First, they are grouped by Gail’s life pie: Housing, Transportation, Life, Savings (emergency and planned) and Debt Repayment.
Savings and Debt Repayment are pretty self-explanatory, so let’s start with Housing.
In housing we have Rent, Internet and Housing supplies. Rent and Internet are fixed costs but supplies are variable.
Next, transportation: monthly Bus Pass and Transit, which is GO train money to go visit my parents or my boyfriend and friends.
And the big one, life:
– Coffee: my Starbucks/Aroma/Tim’s trips
– Groceries: strictly food items that I buy from the grocery store for cooking
– Restaurants: dinners, lunches, snacks.
– Alcohol: drinks from the liquor store and drinks from going out on the town, as well as Patio Beer Sunday (yes, it’s a thing)
– Entertainment: Going out to baseball games, shows, movies, concerts etc.
– Medical/ Medication: any allergy pills, advil or medication that is not covered by my insurance.
– Clothing: this includes shoes, bags and accessories
– Gifts: basically gifts for birthdays, anniversaries etc.
– Interests and Hobbies: examples include books, crafts, etc.
– Spa: this could go with Entertainment but I’ll keep it separately for now in order to track closely, since I want to spend zero in this category.
– Personal Care: this includes make up, nail polish, shampoo, Q-tips etc. things that make me presentable to the public.
– Misc. of course, in case there is something that doesn’t quite fit in any of the above mentioned categories.
I know there’s quite a lot, but I want to be able to see exactly where I spend the most money, I think it will make it easier to cut costs and see where I am wasting money.
My biggest uncertainty is things such as when I take someone out to dinner for a birthday, let’s say. Is that gift or is that restaurant? Or when I’m at the grocery store and buy food but also dish detergent, do I have to manually separate that into the two categories? I guess the answer is yes. And gift to the first question.
Let me know if you think I have missed something important, or any feedback you have. As well, any advice you have for accurately identifying and recording expenses on the budget. 🙂