How We Designed Our Budget Step 4-Notetaking

Hi there Folks~ Mr.CBB here…

If we’ve learned anything about budgets over the past year it’s that you need to learn how they work before you carry out one.  I admit we jumped in feet first and have learned along the way. This tactic hasn’t been so bad but it can get frustrating, especially if budgeting is a new world for you.  Learning first then proceeding step by step is what we should have done.

What we’ve learned over the past couple months is that there were ways to simplify our budget. We found errors in our budget and now realize that we need to have a completely separate Emergency Savings account. You will see all the changes when I post our February 2012 Budget Update.

The one thing that has helped us to make these changes is that we kept such detailed notes. This is why I am taking you to this topic in Step 4 Notetaking.

Notetaking is an essential part of budgeting. Why you ask? Let’s take a look together here:


When you were in high school and the teacher taught you a subject did you take notes? Probably, right?


  • So you could take the notes  home and study them to answer questions on a test and to educate yourself for further development.

Then why do you take notes when you budget?

  • Simply because you can’t rely on just your memory when doing your budget!  It’s also to educate and for further developing  knowledge of your finances. You will and I repeat, you will forget!
If it’s been a long while since you were in school you can read Ten Steps to Good Note Taking. They even touch on abbreviations which will help shorten your notes in your budget spreadsheet.

Notetaking with-in your budget is exactly the same as taking notes in class.  So if you found that easy this will be a breeze for you. The end mark reflects either a plus or minus in your budget.  Essentially a fail or pass. A fail only means you need to make improvements. Trust me when I say no one ever has a perfect month. That’s why emergency savings are imperative.

Notetaking with-in your budget is important for 3 reasons:

Reason 1

You can make reference to certain receipts- When you input data into your spreadsheet and make notes you can easily pull the receipt if/when needed.

An example would be;

  • February 19,2012- Wal-mart Spent $42.00 Used $4.00 coupons Paid $38.00
  • Notes: Bought vegetables, dog food,DVD-Twilight. Pd with Cash, Credit Card ( which one and who’s), Date of  receipt- You now can easily reference what you purchased or at least have an idea.
  •  We typically would put in high ticket items one’s that we could return. That way if you need to return it, open your spreadsheet and find what month of receipts you need to pull out.

Con- If you fail to track this data you might have to go looking for a receipt which you have packed away in a file folder and have no idea what month to look in. This will waste unnecessary time.

Reason 2

To track extra income or important dates that may have occurred throughout the month- When you sit down to do your month end budget you won’t need to think back x amount of days to what may have happened. Entering important notes such as -sold item on kijiji made x amount of dollars you have that information readily available to you.

Con- If you decide not to keep up to date with important notes you run the risk of your budget not balancing or being incorrect. If you want your budget to truthfully show your finances you must be dedicated to this task.

Reason 3

Simply to educate yourself on your spending habits and where and what you are spending it on.

Recap: In this step we learned-

When designing our budget we felt it was imperative to have a note section to document any key notes for easy reference. This task has saved us lots of time and headache. Budgeting helps to control our expenses to help us become financially debt free.

Next Step: How to keep all your bills organized? This is important because if you aren’t organized it may lead to frustration and failure when budgeting. Keep an eye out for this up and coming post! If your desk looks like this it will be a MUST read for you!

Until then if you are new here at Canadian Budget Binder get caught up on earlier and related posts below!

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Photo Courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

Copyright (c) <a href=’’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

Kick the Smoking Habit, Save Your Health and Budget Update Week 4

Here we are at week 4 already, can you believe this! We certainly are in awe over our accomplishments. If you would have told us 4 weeks ago that we would be smoke-free by the end of February 2012 we likely would have thought you were nutty.

The reality is you have to want it so bad that you can taste victory. You need not wait until you or a loved one has a health scare to make this decision. This was one of the main factors of participants in that Quit Smoking Program we participated in at the start of our journey.

For us it was Health first, money last and it should be that way for everyone who wants to quit. You only live once and you can’t put any amount of money on your own life.  I have to admit though that this quit smoking process has been so easy it’s ridiculous.  We certainly thought I’d be sleeping in a separate room by now.

As we end this week with a bang we are now coming up for full swing “Driven To Quit Challenge”  beginning March 1, 2012. If we have inspired you or yo are contemplating quitting you have until February 29,2012 to register. We are so excited to be included in this challenge and know with the support of our friends, family and Canadian Budget Binder Fans will continue to be smoke-free for LIFE!

I will follow-up with all of you for the duration of the contest which is one month. At the end of the contest I will only update you on how much Moola $$$$ we have approximately saved as this number is never correct!

Keep Rooting us on Folks.. would love to drive away in a New Ford Fusion or Ford Edge or a dream vacation!!!

The best part is…drumroll!!!!

Here are the statistics thus far:

Since Monday, January 30, 2012, I’ve been smoke-free for:
27 Days, 10 Hours, 7 Minutes, 56 Seconds.

I have saved $87.68 by not smoking 274 cigarettes.
By not smoking I have added
4 Days, 13 Minutes, 5 seconds.
to my life expectancy.

We did notice however that we were spending more than the $120 a month on cigarettes not noticing because of the overlap in purchase. It also depends on how many days in a month, price of a pack, how many we smoke per day as it’s just estimate. Looks as if we were spending aprox $196 per month. Wow! Not going to miss this expenditure!


Photo Credit:123RF