I've been doing good so far writing down where all our money goes, but I figured when I add everything up at the end of each week, I need to have categories to know where my money needs to go and where I can cut back. So far this is what I've come up with:
Needed Expenses: these are all our bills. Rent, electric, cable(phone & internet-package plan) health & car insurance, and credit cards. Most of these bills aren't possible to cut back. Rent is rent. Everything in our townhouse is on the electric-hot water heaters, all appliances, and heat. Our landlord is the type of guy that doesn't replace anything unless it's broken. So just because the refrigerator in 20 yrs. old and is a major drain on electricity, it still keeps the cold food cold and the frozen food frozen. As far as our cable bill, the cable and phone part is as basic (and cheap) as it can get, and the internet is standard. I also live in an area with only one cable & internet company.
Car expenses: We are a two car family and this category is for gas, oil changes, and other needed repairs.
Food: self explanatory.
Child Expenses: Daughter's dance and son's karate lessons. Also clothing, toys, and any other extras they need.
Target (household needs): I do almost all my shopping at Target for household items, like toilet paper, light bulbs, ect.
Cigarettes, Coffee, Take out: I'm hoping by giving these things it's own category we'll realize how much money we are throwing down the drain.
MISC: This is for anything else I buy that doesn't fit into any of the categories above.