If you aren't careful, you can quickly find yourself overspending and your finances dwindling. A monthly household expenses checklist provides an objective method of allowing you to identify your key areas of spending. You may need to fill out a checklist if you are going through a divorce or bankruptcy, or because you just want to get a better grasp on where your money is going each month.
Your housing costs may be the largest items on your monthly expense checklist. If you own your own home, include the cost of your mortgage or mortgages, property tax, insurance and any homeowner’s association fees or condo fees. Also, include the cost of routine maintenance. If you rent, include the cost of rent and renter’s insurance.
The utilities portion of the expense checklist should include the various utilities that are required to run your home. For example, include water, sewage, trash disposal, heat, gas and cooling costs. You may also include other services for your home, such as telephone, Internet or cable.
Include fixed and variable transportation expenses on your checklist. For example, include the amount of your car lease or loan payment and automotive insurance payments, as well as your gasoline expenses, parking charges, parking space rental and the cost to maintain your vehicle. If you use other forms of transportation, include the cost of your bus or train ticket, average cab fare or any other amounts that you pay for transportation.
The food category consists of the regular meals family members eat at the home, as well as those meals they eat outside the home. For example, include children’s lunches, a spouse’s lunches at work and meals at restaurants.
Savings and Debt Repayment
Include savings for retirement, such as contributions to a 401(k), traditional IRA or Roth IRA. Also, include regular contributions to a savings account, checking account or emergency fund. Credit card payments, student loans and personal loans also fall in this category.
Include the cost of health care insurance. Also, include expenses that are not part of your insurance, such as co-pays, prescription drugs, blood work or medical supplies. Also, include dental and optical expenses. Because some of these expenses do not regularly occur, estimate the amount you spent on uninsured medical expenses the last few years by looking over your medical bills and income tax returns to generate a reasonable annual expense. Divide this number by 12 to calculate a monthly allotment.
Include personal expense items, such as laundry costs, dry cleaning services, alcohol and cigarettes. Also, include the cost of toiletries and household cleaning supplies.
Entertainment costs are allotted to various items that improve lifestyle. This category can include books, movies, party expenses and hobbies. Add in travel costs, gift expenses, concerts, sporting events and gym memberships as well.
Each household is different and may have other expenses for which it must budget. Use a software program to track your individual spending to determine where your money is going and how much money is being allotted to various categories. Other expenses may include those related to children such as allowances, clothing, diapers, formula, child care and education. You may also have expenses because of pets including food, vet bills, boarding costs and medication.
Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.