What expense categories/sub categories do you use?
I'm rethinking my categorization which was set up when I had a very different spending profile. I've tweaked it over time, but its pretty sub-optimal. I've been hesitant to change it too much, as it makes year-on-year comparisons hard, but I think its time.
Care to share what categorization you use?
I only use the categorizations used by Chase online and BoA when I download data every few weeks to have a quick look at it.
We haven't kept a budget in a couple of decades, but here's what I use in MSMoney since this how money flows through our checking account in no particular order:
1. Net wages
2. Natural gas
5. Credit card
6. Credit card
7. Child cost
9. Cell phone
10. Land line/ internet
11. Property tax
12. Charitable contribution
13. College tuition
As you can see most spending is in the CreditCard category, so we just note the monthly amount and if it seems in the normal range we don't delve into it.
I've been tracking spending for many years, and the number of categories kept getting smaller over time. It began with at least 20, but they gradually got collapsed into ten:
Auto (all gas, service, parking, etc.)
CDE (Cash, Dining, Entertainment)
Groceries (everything bought at supermarkets)
Hobby (DW and I each have several, so this adds up)
Household (home maintenance, furnishings, etc.)
Misc (includes clothing, charity, gadgets, etc.)
Vacation (travel, hotels, etc.)
Brau, where do you categorize insurance?
I found this PDF to be a good bench mark.
See page 24 of JP Morgan 2012 Guide To Retirement
I recently revised mine. YMMV.
I use the Yodlee defaults....added a few subcategories for Transfers to handle the "other side" of transactions.
Since it deals with both auto and home, and the bills cover varying amounts of each, it had to go somewhere.
Insurance cost (auto, home, medical, LTC) runs 11-12% of my total budget so I break it out separately. Doesn't really matter of course - whatever works.
Understood. Medical insurance goes in the Medical category in my system.
Food (eating out)
Household (paper products, cleaning supplies)
Home improvement (new dishwasher, replace carpet to sell, the bigger stuff)
Clothes & personal (includes toiletries, haircuts etc.)
General car expenses
Entertainment (cable, internet,Netflix, alcohol, misc.)
Utilities (phone, electric, gas, water)
Medical (FICA, health insurance, LTC, out of pocket)
Insurance (homeowners on house and retirement property, personal articles)
Taxes (RE, federal, Self-employment, state, city)
Family Care (to help our extended family as necessary)
Entertainment (includes eating out)
* includes clothing, hobbies, personal care, and pet care; will likely split "Hobbies" and "Pet Care" into separate categories in future.
DOGS: "Food", "Regular meds & checkups", "Other"
ENTERTAINMENT: "Eating out", "Liquor", "Subscriptions & other entertainment"
FOOD: "Groceries", "Take out"
GAS, PARKING, FERRY:
GIFTS: "G'kids Education Fund", "Tax Deductible", "Other"
HSA: "Health Savings Account" (for DH)
HOUSEHOLD: "Mortgage", "Misc Household"
PERSONAL CARE & CLOTHING
UTILITIES: "Elec", "DirecTV", "Phone & Internet", "Garbage", "Cell phone"
LUMPY EXPENSES: (These are the expenses that are a set amount, but not due monthly) "Auto Ins", "License tabs", "Christmas", Property Tax, HO & Unbrella premiums, Water bill (Paid annually), Propane (paid annually)
RAINY DAY EXPENSES: (I know these will come up, but don't know when or how much) "Emergency Vet Expenses", "Healthcare OOP", "House Maintenance/Repair", "Auto Maint/Repair"
I do a monthly budget on Exel. I keep it simple (not at my home computer at the moment) around ten expense categories. It used to be lots more...
Does anyone track their expenses using Fidelity? If so, how do you like it?
I keep permanent records of every penny I spend, and exactly what it is spent on.
Then, after the fact, I put all this in categories (keeping the original spending records too, though). This way, if I don't like my categories I can change them later.
Right now, my 11 categories are:
Income Tax (state and federal)
Medical (including insurance, prescriptions, co-pays, deductible, etc)
Clothes (includes shoes, socks, coats, and any other clothing)
Fitness (gym fees, fitness equipment)
Utilities (electricity, natural gas, water/trash/sewage, cable TV/internet, cell, landline)
House (maintenance, lawn guy, upgrades, flood and homeowners' insurance, property tax)
Car (gasoline, maintenance, insurance)
Food (grocery, restaurants)
Video Games, apps (consoles too)
Miscellaneous (everything else - - including gifts, haircuts, electronics, hurricane evacuations, travel, etc)
I recently added the Video Games category because I decided that I finally have a hobby and I want to know what I spend on it.
We're using the Mint.com categories which is a pain. We used to customize ours in Quicken, and while we love Mint bending our brains to think about it "Their way" is a challenge. You can make custom subcategories but that's it.
I was just summarizing Jan expenses (good timing). I use Excel. The first page is every expense entry in 2500 rows (and budget by expense by month in rows 2501-3000). I use cascading lookup lists to define major and minor categories and fix each with a fixed or variable assignment. Makes expense entries very easy (and consistent for review).
From there I have a pivot table to show expenses, and then another showing variances by major & minor categories (with conditional formatting for gains, losses and neutral). I also have a pivot table that shows the budget by month as a reference.
And I have my accrual expenses through age 95 on the final sheet, though there is no budget during the year.
*this is reserved for major expenses that typically occur (much) less than annually - as you might imagine it varies dramatically from year to year, but I budget $10K/yrSome are rarely or not in use at present.
I use the following categories (subcategories in parentheses):
Auto (depreciation, repair/maintenance, fuel, insurance,registration and taxes, tolls)
Computer and office supplies
Furnishings / durable goods
Home (rent, renter's insurance)
Insurance (disability, life)
Medical (health insurance, doctor, dentist, vision, medicine)
Utilities (cable, electric, water, internet, telephone)
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