My Categories

Lots of people view their finances in different ways. To me, the easiest way was to divide my finances into three categories: Need, Should and Wants. Each month I reevalute the categories and see where I need to cut back and beef up. Essentially after my budget is done, I should have $0 of my paycheck leftover. Each dollar goes into one of these categories. I’ll have a separate post about the upcoming budget, but this is where it all goes!

NEED.
This includes everything I can’t or don’t want to negotiate. Of course I can always cancel my gym membership, but it is important to me and right now it is drafted each month. Same for tithing. The amounts in each item rarely change from month to month (electric varies monthly).

  • Rent (my rent includes water & gas)
  • Tithing
  • Gifts to missionaries
  • Car Insurance
  • Electric Bill
  • Gym fee

SHOULD.
This category is the one I try to put as much in each month and any extra income goes towards. It includes the savings and debt category. I have the following “accounts” that I separate my Should items into.

  • Education Loan 1
  • Education Loan 2
  • Education Loan 3
  • Christmas Savings
  • Wedding Savings
  • Emergency Savings
  • Car Savings

WANTS.
While there are some essentials, such as food, gas, and clothing (ok, I can get by without buying clothes), these are items that I try to minimize and have the strongest control over. Because formerly they were the areas I would carelessly spend the most on.

  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Dining
  • Clothing/Accessories/Shoes
  • Personal Care
  • Home Maintenance
  • Home Improvements
  • Travel
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Gifts
  • Auto Repairs/Expenses
  • Entertainment
  • Etc.

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  • Hi Ginna, great stuff! I’m from Manila and got interested in personal finance sites after stumbling upon gmbmfb’s page. I started searching for other PF sites, especially for one whose story is like mine or who’s been through a similar stage and finding that I can really relate to you – my parents had/have money problems too.
    There doesn’t seem to be many PF blogs in my country and I’ve decided to start one anonymously. Hopefully we can build up better money-consciousness over here too. Especially for women in their late 20’s! I’m not really in debt now, but my money management skills leaves much to be desired. I’ll let you know when it’s up. I’m interested in doing your weekly survey :)