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Household expenses checklist

You can use a household expenses checklist to prepare a monthly budget or track where your money goes each month to help eliminate unnecessary spending. A household cost list is needed when you are applying for state services or for court-related matters, like a child support case or divorce proceeding.


Heat, electric, telephone and cable or satellite service are common monthly expenses, but any water, garbage or sewer bills you have should also be included. Internet service and cellphone fees fall under utilities, along with any other related service fees.


Your food costs can be difficult to estimate long-term. More money is usually spent on food in holiday months, and unexpected circumstances can increase the amount of meals you eat out or at home. The average of your last four bills from grocery trips can help you pinpoint your monthly food expenses, but be sure to add any last minute purchases of items you forgot to buy in-between your main grocery shopping.

Shelter Costs

Your rent or mortgage payment is your main household shelter cost. Real estate taxes and homeowner's insurance that are not included in your mortgage escrow should be noted as a household expense. Add the property taxes and insurance premium due for the year and divide the total by the number of days or months to get the figure you need, such as dividing the total by 12 to get your monthly costs. The same method can be used to determine the monthly cost for any renter's insurance.

Debts and Insurance

Reoccurring debts, including credit card payments and personal, auto or student loan payments, should be part of your household expenses list. Child support, alimony and court-ordered payments you are making should be included, as well as any repayment plans you have for back income taxes. Medical, dental, life and motor vehicle insurance premiums you pay are part of your living costs, including any short- or long-term disability insurance premiums.

Personal Items and Entertainment

Personal items constitute a wide range of household supplies and goods, like clothing for you and your family, toiletries, laundry soap, paper products---such as paper towels, napkins and tissues---medicines and other household items you purchase on a regular basis. Entertainment includes services and items you pay for that are usually not necessary in any way, such as tanning, eating out at restaurants and the cost of maintaining a gym membership.


Miscellaneous expenses are items that do not necessarily fit into another category but must be paid, like pet food and veterinarian visits, out-of-pocket dental and medical costs and child care. Travel expenses, like gas for your car or fares for public transportation, can be added. Some people insert an emergency or unexpected expense in the miscellaneous section to account for emergency costs, like plumbing repairs.