My Best Financial Tip

A maze

I could probably come up with many Financial Tips but there can only be one best tip from me. When I started writing this blog at the end of January 2012 I told you a bit about us and our journey towards debt freedom. Although we now have the money to pay our mortgage in full we have had our fair share of debts along the way.

I’ve never proclaimed to be a financial guru rather just an average guy that wants to get from point A to point B with minimal fuss. I’ve learned that there are brick walls and once you get stuck in the maze it can be tough to find your way out. Don’t hang your head in despair, where there’s a will there’s a way. Sometimes the solutions may not be the optimal choice but we learn from our experiences and do our best to not let them happen again. I’ve met many people who take the time to set goals yet they are so unrealistic even I would fail at them.

Today I’m blogging for financial literacy which is led by Glenn Cooke of Life Insurance Canada.com. This a day where we come together as personal finance Bloggers on November 15, 2012 to share our best financial tip in recognition of Financial Literacy Month so we can all continue to educate and grow.

I’ve read many excellent personal finance posts this year and my education level went up a notch or two. No, education is not my best financial tip but it is a cornerstone to building financial knowledge so you make informed choices. I’ve read a some great financial books this year ranging from The Millionaire Next Door to The Wealthy Barber Returns over to Financially Fit Parenting to finishing the Gail Vaz Oxlade Series. I learned something special from each but what I took away from all them were the concepts to “budget” and “pay yourself first”.

I know it may sound cheesy coming from a blog called Canadian Budget Binder but it really is how Mrs.CBB and I realize our goals. It’s a simple concept to budget although some people pull a funny face when they hear the word budget and that’s why I wrote a 10 part budgeting series. When it comes to money though we have to do what’s right for us and what we value not what other’s perceive to be right or wrong. You need to make that call as we all value money and life experiences differently. This series details our personal journey of budgeting and how we put a budget to work for us.

  1. Gathering All The Information
  2. Categories
  3. Tracking receipts
  4. Notetaking
  5. 5S -Organization
  6. Who Does What and When?
  7. Balancing Our Budget
  8. Knowing our Coupon Savings (or any savings ie: Store Savings, Gift Cards)
  9. Reading Our Bills
  10. Projected Expenses

My Best Financial Tip is to Budget

I believe education comes with experience and of course reading and learning from others who have walked the walk. When we designed the first step in our budget we knew we were on to something special. We didn’t want to end up having money fights and money problems like other relationships that end in a bitter divorce. Every step of the way we realized that in order for this to work we would both have to give 110%. There was no “my” money it was all “our” money and you guessed it one bank account.  Whether you believe that a budget is right for you is your choice, it’s your life after all, but what we do know is that without a budget we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s not as bad as some people make it out to be.

Budgeting has changed our lives and it will yours if you know where your dollars are going. I know, I know asking for receipts and documenting expenses is tedious BUT wait a minute, will that trip to Hawaii or that new snowblower or better yet potentially NO DEBT change your mind? Is it worth the supposed blood, sweat and tears that it will take you to sit down and look after number one. The answer should be yes. We had debt, we had a mortgage but we are debt free just by being a pain in the arse and asking for receipts, working together and learning about frugal ways to save money. Did you know that besides the mortgage or rent the next biggest expense is the grocery budget?

Knowing your prices, eating at home, cooking meals instead of convenience meals and saving where you can through coupons, price matching etc will all help you. One may justify a huge purchase with “I’ll be getting a bonus” or “I’ll work overtime” rather than taking time to budget the money so they can pay cash.  When instant gratification takes over it can put a dent in plans. Putting your “wants” on hold until you have the cash in your budget will assist in stopping you from making those silly on the fly purchases. Not everyone will agree but that’s where it boils down to what we value  in life as individuals.

I also understand that people are in debt for a myriad of reasons and it’s not always because they are spending frivolously on items they don’t need. I recognize that saving is a struggle for some people and that for some they don’t make enough to make ends meet and credit helps keep them afloat. I also realize that we can make changes in life even if they are small ones. Saving $1.00 is better than nothing at all.

So whether you want to believe it or not spending a bit of time investing in your finances each week will potentially help you to get where you want to get. You won’t become a millionaire overnight nor will you have all your debt paid off in an instant but what you will have is stepping-stones. Stick to your budget and you will feel proud that you are making progress towards your goals. The more you learn the more you are empowered to make the right decisions for you.

My Best Financial Tip to budget is just that, the best of a list of tips that can go on and on because finance is an umbrella term that encompasses a road to potential freedom you just need to decide what path you want to take.

-Mr.CBB-

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Mary F Campbell says:

    Nice article Mr CBB! It really does all come down to starting with a budget, doesn’t it? All progress and possibilities evolve from there. :-D

  2. Sheryl Bullard says:

    best budget info you gave is really good .hard to add to but theone thing Ido is join sitesof products services I regualry use ..often big discounts on both product and services are offered

  3. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Great post Mr. CBB! I could not agree more. I remember sitting down to make our first budget and thinking how on earth do people do this? Now I would call myself a budgeting nerd. Lol! Putting the wants aside and giving up on instant gratification can be difficult to do, but it IS possible. I know for us that we enjoy things so much more when we’ve worked for it and waited and saved to make it possible. I know it requires discipline, but what in life that’s worthwhile does not?

    • I know that anything can happen in life but when we are gone we are gone.. we won’t smack ourselves for not buying that big house etc… so life is risk and for us saving to pay off the mortgage early so we can now relax and do what we want.. was SO WORTH IT!!!

  4. Great article!!!!! I love it, It’s so important to get down that budget and have some self-control!!!

  5. Mandy @MoneyMasterMom says:

    Enjoyed your best tip Mr. CBB. I`m currently travelling down the list of bloggers who are posting their best tip. I thought there would be repeats, but strangely I haven`t found one yet.

  6. I leave all my bank card and credit card at home when going to the casino, sometimes even going out shopping…CASH ONLY!

  7. One thing hubby and I came to realize this year in regards to finances, is that yes there is help out there, but ultimately you are responsible for yourself, and no one will look out for your finances in your best interest as well as you can and should do!

  8. Great Article! Mt best tip(s), keep track of your receipts! keep a budget (Yes Mr.CBB I’m learning!) Use coupons & price match!!!!!!

  9. Have one credit card and only use it for emergencies.

  10. That’s a great tip, too. Budgeting is planning, and when you plan you are in control (or at least, more in control than if you don’t plan).

  11. Carrie Perry says:

    The best tip I can give is to keep all receipts and write everything down. I have learnt if you use cash you will not know what it was spent on a week later so it is very important to also know how your payments are made to match the receipts.

  12. Great topic for the financial literacy theme. Having a budget is one of my top PF tips too. Some people think it’s hard, but they just need to make a habit out of it, and then it becomes easy and even fun :0) Everyone already controls what they do from day to day, and make plans for the weekends. A budget is just the financial aspect of planning our actions today and also how we plan to live our lives tomorrow.

  13. I might be biased ;) but this is a great tip. It took months of tracking my spending, before I could make a budget that I could stick to… but it was worth it!

  14. Great Article Mr. CBB. My name is Marko and I’m an expert at TD Helps. I like that you point out that: “people are in debt for a myriad of things and it is not only that they are spending frivolously on items that they don’t need.” Many people that write about budgets on financial blogs seem to scold people for being in debt because they are spending money needlessly. Many times people seriously cut back on “eating out” or shopping for clothes frequently but still find themselves deep in debt. The best way for people to analyze their spending habits is by using budgeting software or an online budgeting tool as they are quick and allow us to see a visual representation of their spending. The best tools to use are ones that are “plug and play,” or where you simply fill in your income, debts, and expenses when prompted and the resulting report explains the uses of your income and makes suggestions on how your spending can be more efficient. A good program to use is Quicken 2012 because it is so simple and a good on-line calculator is the Cash Flow Calculator on the TD site which can be found here: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/planning/retirement/cash_flow.jsp . I am pretty sure that people will be shocked when they use a budgeting tool for the first time, but “ignorance is bliss” should not be a valid reason not to budget.

  15. Hey MR CBB! Great collection of posts here! Bookmarked for future reference because I know I have missed a few. Budgeting is key, but it is also HARD!!! :)

  16. Enjoyed the post!
    I have to agree that creating and sticking to a budget is the best financial tip I have ever received. Even though it took me a few years to jump on the budgeting band wagon, I am happy to say that the last 18 months of “living within my means” and disciplining myself to stick to a budget has been some of the best months of my life.

  17. If you use coupons, you should put the value of the coupon into a savings account…. it’s amazing how much it will grow and grow.

  18. Christine Weadick says:

    A budget is so important!!! I’m trying to figure one out, working on what goes out and going from there as right now there is a whole lot of nothing coming in. Once there is and I know what I’m working with I’m hoping I can get a handle on it. I’m trying………….

  19. Joanna Cheevers says:

    You’ve picked a great one for your best tip, I agree that having a budget and knowing where your money is going is very important. I started budgeting this year and created my budget with the help of your budgeting series. I did not start because I am in financial trouble but because I really didn’t know exactly where I was spending my money. I certainly know now. As for another financial tip, it would be what I have read in some books and learned from relatives. Start your retirement investment when you are young. I know easier said than done but the interest will add up. You can potentially do better investing from age 18-30 and stopping than you would starting at 30 and investing until your retirement. With the way things are now we certainly cannot rely on Canada Pension still existing by the time some of us are ready for retirement. Wish I had started a little earlier. Thanks for the post.

  20. angie hotte says:

    i try to stick to a budget but im not the only one in the house and no one wants to help out

  21. Great post! Budgeting is the #1 financial tip that I would give as well. Honestly, budgeting changed our life!!!

    • Same here and I don’t think we truly appreciate how much they help until we do it for a couple months. It’s like weightloss, once you start to see the pounds melting off it motivates you to go for more.. just like a budget, the more you save the more you want to make it the best budget you can for your finances without sacrificing life.

  22. Rhiannon F says:

    We finally have some savings put aside, but sadly our budget is in shambles. We have a very hectic schedule between shift work and therapy for our daughter, and I have found just about every excuse to put off fixing it. Need to buck up and just get it done.

  23. I agree with you that a budget is the best financial tip. I have learned more about finances in the last 7 months since I started budgeting then I’ve learned in the 11 years since I left my parents home….heck I’ve learned more in 7 months then I’ve learned since I had my first job 19 years ago! I really wish I knew then what I know now! But we live and learn right?! It all started with couponing which is also a good tip :-)

  24. joanne tjerno says:

    Really enjoyed this post…am counting down the days to the new year so i can create and stick to my budget :) In the past year I have definetly learned to be more aware of my spending. To keep track and when I do create a budget (such as my grocery budget) I can stick to it or even be under budget. Thanks so much for everything….and definetly helping to kick my butt into gear about getting my finances in order :)

    • That’s great news Joanne! Since you are one of my awesome fans, you can email me and I’ll send you our budget if you want to use it… it’s up to you. The grocery budget can be a huge expense for families and one that can easily get out of control because it is a variable. Posting your shop aims to help you remember your goals and how much you have to spend. Putting your budget together will be life changing, it was for us. Cheers Mr.CBB

  25. Great tips to live by!

  26. Yeah I couldn’t agree more! If I had done that when I was first laid off, things would be so different right now. sigh…

    • Never too late, we’ve budgeted through debt and it’s been the number one reason besides perseverance that we have accomplished what we have. There’s so much more I can talk about, I just haven’t got their yet on the blog. Hope the new site is serving you well, I’m jealous, can’t wait to move! Mr.CBB

  27. Great tip Mr. CBB. I am going to live and die by the budget next year. The first whole year of ever doing that. You are almost to your one year anniversary. That has to be exciting.

    • Thanks Kim! If you want to check out the budget we use I can send it to you if you want. It’s not on the blog as it’s what we use if not the offer is on the table. Yes end of Jan will be one year for the blog. It’s great to see so many people from around the world want to take back that control with their finances. It has to be done, we can clearly see on the news and on the internet that things aren’t all that great. The time is now to get on track. You are doing well posting your shop. It is those very people that take the time to post that I know truly are serious. It’s like taking the time to run everyday and not miss a day in your schedule.. life is funny but if we plan and set goals it makes the journey a bit more fun. Mr.CBB

  28. Veronica Hill says:

    Couldn’t agree more. There’s always the prospect for earning more, but how often can you change how much money you’re keeping in your pockets without too much significant effort such as a simple budget? Not so often. Control where the money goes = control over life. Thank you for being so passionate about your advice.

    • Cheers Veronica, that was lovely of you to say. I am passionate because I’ve lived it and that’s how I connect with others when they write is if I can feel that passion. You know when someone is telling you like it is, or from experience. Thanks for sharing Veronica. Mr.CBB

  29. one simple farmgirl says:

    We have always worked with budgets , but found with the cost of living going up and up and out money coming in not covering what it use to we had to re-amp what we had been doing and change things around with new challenges. Life also keeps changing as kids move out and then back home because they have challenges of their own. Life is a funny game!

    • You are right and although we may have to deprive ourselves of the expensive nights out and clothes etc if we want to get out of debt we have to make a choice debt or debt-free. When people whine about why they should be able to have fun while paying off debt I say, wait a minute, you are in debt, you already had your fun or your reasons to be in debt with money you haven’t even made yet. That entitlement has to stop but it’s an individual call, nothing I say or do will make that change. I mean really, we made it through without going out for dinners, fancy clothes and cars. Yes we could die tomorrow but we also may not die, life is a funny game so we have to play it to our advantage and we choose minimalist stress free over worry. Cheers Mr.CBB

  30. When I met my husband I was a spender…over the years I have turned that around and have become more frugal and a saver…I really liked your post but sometimes it just seems so hard to stick to that budget! I find the best thing for my husband and I is to live on cash…for our major spending groups…I have a hard time tracking and writing down everything I buy but if I have cash I can see it running low and it is a reminder not to buy that extra treat from the store!

    • You have to do what’s right for you. We like to see the numbers. We like to see how much we save using coupons all year, how much our expenses are monthly and yearly and what we were buying all year. This helps us to compare and set goals for the next year. We are not cash people as we prefer the credit card reward point route but there’s nothing wrong with using cash. Mr.CBB

  31. Getting on a budget is what finally turned my financial life around. It’s tough to start when you’ve never done it before, but the peace and clarity it brings cannot be overestimated. Great stuff CBB!

  32. Crystal Alves says:

    My best financial tip is this: when gettting paid from work I always remember to pay myself FIRST – meaning I always remember to set aside money in my savings account, to save up and in case of emergency – that way I always know that I have money in that account before I start budgetingthe rest of my money for bills and groceries :)

  33. Great read, sir! My best financial tip is to clarify clear goals, to stop floating aimlessly and p*ssing away your finances. (For example, if your goal is to retire a millionaire, make it happen! Sacrifice, save and invest. Rinse and repeat for as long as necessary.)

  34. Debbie Jackson says:

    When I coupon i take half of what I saved and put it into a savings account

  35. Amanda Weatherby says:

    Best financial tip I can give is make sure you save money for a rainy day.I learned last year all about not saving when we both got laid off and had no money in savings to get us through.

  36. Thanks so much for the info

  37. Budgeting is probably the number one reason why I can make so much progress; otherwise I just spend without realizing that I won’t save as much as I want by the end of the month.

  38. Susan Thornton says:

    I’ve just read this article after spending the last two weeks in the hospital. (LoL! This is NOT a sympathy vote/comment!) Thank you,..it’s GREAT as all of your articles are. I take all of your information seriously and try to put much of it into practise.
    Every holiday, people go into debt because they spend far more money then they should. There is ONE easy lesson to learn before you get caught in that trap,..make a BUDGET, stick ot it and don’t spend money that you don’t have!

  39. wendy nicholls says:

    The best tip I ever gave was to my husband when we got married. I told him to leave all the finances to me lol If he’s got a dollar in his pocket he’s looking how to spend it :)

  40. Shawn James says:

    Definitely, there are some good financial tips for all. However some specific financial tips do not work, only basic tips are useful for all people. Your story is really good and I am impressed that You do not drink and left smoking as well. Keep it continue.

  41. I really enjoyed rereading The Wealthy Barber recently. What I recommend is the first 50-60 pages for an easy-to-digest description of mutual funds, and their advantages. We had the series on public TV here (1990′s?) but maybe people are as not as familiar with it in the States.

    • That’s true they may not be familiar with it but I do hope they can source out the book if they want to read it. Both books offer great information for anyone who wants to learn more about their money. Thanks for dropping in. Mr.CBB

  42. Cynthia says:

    Putting your wants on hold…. That sums it up. Thanks for putting it so clearly. I have never heard it put quite that way. Needs are not as negotiable but wants are the tricky thing.

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