What to Include in Your Budget

The free basic budget download from Tribe on a Budget includes income, expenses, and a running tally of spending for the month.

If you need help in what to include in these categories of your budget, you’ve come to the right place. To make a budget that covers all of your monthly input and output, we will go over the details of the following categories:

  • Income
  • Estimated Expenses
  • Expenses


Basic Budget Income
Basic Budget Income

In a budget period (typically monthly), you want to prepare for your income and how to spend it. In your budget, income is the first money to estimate to see what you have to plan for.

Include every job that is bringing in money – yours, your spouses, side hustle money. Anything and everything.

Next to your income, you want to include your estimate of what you will be receiving for the month you are budgeting for.

My income is the same every paycheck while my husband’s pay always varies. Income from our side job varies even more based off hours we pick up. For the incomes that vary, put the least amount of income that is sure to come in. Any extra will be padding to your budget that you can put towards a goal.

Next to your income’s estimate, reserve room to input your actual income as it comes in. On payday, input the amount of the actual check. If the first Friday comes and you get $600 from Job 1, you would input 600 – under a Received Column and lined up with Job 1. If the second paycheck from Job 1 is 700, you will add up both checks (1300) and input the total where 600 was.

Excel Tip: You don’t have to add amounts up separately. Using the above example, you could input “=600+700” into the cell and Excel will add the amounts for you.

For some ideas to increase your monthly income, try kickstarting your savings which includes suggestions you can start today to make extra money and how to give yourself a raise.

Your estimated and actual income will add itself up automatically for Total Income if you’ve chosen to download the basic budget.

Estimated Expenses

Under the Expenses column, I have written down a list of possible expenses. The expenses you should think about for each budget are:

  • Monthly Expenses
  • Special Occasion Expenses
  • Yearly Expenses
  • Fun Money

Write the estimated amounts that you will pay for the entire month under the Monthly Payment column next to the expense.

Excel Tip: If you need extra rows for your expenses, right click on the number next to the last expense, and click insert. The row will be added above whichever row you right clicked on.

Basic Budget Estimated Expenses
Basic Budget Estimated Expenses

Monthly Expenses

Every person’s monthly expenses differ. Instead of rent, you may have mortgage. Maybe you don’t tithe, so you won’t have that expense. You may stay out of credit card debt, so you won’t have a credit card bill.

Monthly bills may include:

– Tithing
– Rent or Mortgage
– Food
– Gas
– Phone Bills
– Car Insurance
– Credit Card Payments
– Giving
– Renters or Home Insurance
– Utility Bills (Gas, Electricity, Trash, Water)
– Internet and Cable Bills
– School Loans
– Monthly Donations

If you have paid off debt and saved for your emergency fund, a great monthly habit to contribute to is:


My husband and I also put away a budgeted amount for:

– Medical Expenses. For unplanned doctor visits
– Personal Care. For toiletries
– Car Expenses. For oil changes or new tires

We budget a certain amount from each paycheck so that money builds up over time for these situations. Your needs may differ. These are just ideas of what to include in your budget to make a plan for your money.

Special Occasion Expenses

After your required bills are included in your budget, you need to plan for the coming month. Each month is different, so try to plan ahead. If it is your friend’s birthday and you plan on getting a gift, add a line item to put money towards a gift.

If you have an anniversary coming up or the holidays are right around the corner, add a line item for this expense. Divide the amount you want saved by how many months until the expense and apply that much to each budget.

For example: My husband and I want to save $300 for Christmas starting in September – 4 months to save. We divided $300 by 4 months and now have a “Gift” line item that is $75 a month. Since we get paid twice a month, we put $37.50 ($75/2) towards presents each paycheck. We will have $300 by Christmas.

Plan ahead, so that large expenses don’t hit you all at once.

Yearly Expenses

Remember all expenses that you have to pay every few years, biyearly, yearly or even quarterly  to apply it to your budget.

For example: We pay our car insurance twice a year, about $600 each time. We divide the $600 by 6 months (since we pay it every 6 months) and get $100 a month. In this case, $100 a month or $50 a paycheck will go towards saving for our car insurance each month.

Here are additional spread-out fees to consider:

– DMV Registration Fees/Vehicle Tags
– Driver’s License or Identification Card Renewal
– Taxes (Do you have to pay additional taxes on your income or for a side business?)
– Car Insurance
– Certification Courses or Continuing Education Hours for a Certification You Have
– Schooling
– Vacations

Splitting these payments up will be easier than paying (and budgeting) the full lump sum of when payment time rolls around.

Fun Money

You will see a “Fun” row in the budget. This can also be known as your Entertainment Fund. It is a good category to track in order to evaluate your spending habits.

For this category, budget money that you spend on yourself – daily coffee, a trip to the movies, shopping, etc. – as well as with your partner. If you are going to spend on yourself anyway, make sure to budget for it, so that you have a plan for your spending.

– Fun Money/Entertainment
– Date Night

With all of your expenses budgeted for, you will find out if you spend more or less than you make. To build wealth, you need to give each dollar and purpose with a zero-based budget. Your budget needs to balance.


The remaining part of your basic budget will be to keep track of your expenses as you spend after each paycheck.

Basic Budget Actual Expenses
Basic Budget Actual Expenses

Include a Totals  column in your budget to add up your spending in each category throughout the month. With the free basic budget download, this feature has been set up.

When you get paid week 1, you will decide how you want to spend that paycheck. Add it into the column with the money split up between the different monthly expenses.

With the categories added up, you will see how much money is going towards each expense and when you have paid the complete amount for the month.

The goal at the end of the month is to have the Totals (Column C) equal the Monthly Payments (Column B).

Instead of applying actual expenses week by week, you can change the column name to be “Paycheck 1” and so forth.

Your “Leftover” money shows how much you have left after your expenses are subtracted from your income. Your next step will be balancing your income to ensure you have money to put towards your goals.

You should have a plan for the remainder of your money. Find out how to balance your budget here:

>> Zero-Based Budget <<

What is the most interesting item you include on your budget?
What To Include in Your Budget
What To Include in Your Budget

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