Finances In The New Year + New Budget = Success Formula

success formula

Finances In The New Year: What’s your Success Formula?

Today is officially the start of a New Year and for most that means the beginning of new goals but for us a new budget. For most debt and tackling personal finances will and should be their top priority when it comes to financial health in 2013. Nothing is getting cheaper and the average Canadian debt load is still at any all-time high. People are always emailing me asking “help me with my budget” and really it can be as easy or as difficult as you make it.

We have been using our family budget for the past 2 years and this year will be no different. The budget has taken us both by storm and helped us develop a lifestyle mindset that we hope others will grasp. Looking over our budget this year we realized that we would not have been able to save enough money to help us pay off our mortgage or accomplish some of the short-term goals without it.

What we did not do is accumulate debt something that is so hard for many people to do. I know when we quit smoking at the beginning of 2012 most of our family and friends were pessimistic about us succeeding. They thought we were set in our ways and in some part we almost believed that. The good news is we were not a bad sitcom on how to set yourself up to fail and we came out ahead.

The point is that even if you don’t have enough money to pay all your bills every month there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are negative before you start to budget or set any goals you will never and I repeat never succeed.

Earlier in 2012 I shared with you our budgeting series detailing how we designed our budget planner. We initially developed our budget on paper then transferred it to what we call the Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet which is an easy to use excel online budget. If you want a copy you can email me and tell me why you want to budget.

Related: Free Downloadable Money Saving Tools 

Our Canadian budget binder template includes projected expenses (PE) which means we save every single month for items we know we will have to pay for at some point in the year. For this reason unless you save money for upcoming expenses you might not like our budget. So many people forget about these expenses and it may shock you but our monthly projected expenses  as of Dec 2012 is a whopping $1257.39 up from Jan 2012 where we were saving $592.59.

What happened was as the year went on we started to realize more expenses that we pay for each year which we didn’t factor into the initial January PE. So for 2013 we will save in a separate account over the course of the year $16,386.36 to pay for items in our budget categories. This is one way we budget proof our finances making sure the money we need is waiting and ready when the bill comes in otherwise we have to pull from our savings account.

Our savings are not recognized each month until everything including projected expenses is paid and/or put aside. After we pay off the mortgage this year we will continue to grow our emergency savings back up to around 6-12  months of expenses. We also want to start major renovation projects on the house which will eat into those savings as we go along and are different from our home maintenance category.

We also noticed a decline in the use of coupons this year from $7428.81 in 2011 to $2727.94 in 2012. There comes a point where there are products that you have enough of so you move on. Our coupon binder was (we just emptied the binder of 2012 expired coupons) overflowing with coupons and we do use them when we find a great deal. Learning how to budget for groceries has been a learning curve but with the grocery game challenge we have been able to keep the budget at a steady pace.

Per month we will save $1365.53 in projected expenses x 12 = $16,386.36/yr

Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet Screen shot

Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet Screen shot

Our Budgeting Series:
  1. How We Designed Our Budget Step 1- Gathering All the information
  2. How We Designed Our Budget Step 2- Categories
  3. How We Designed Our Budget Step 3- Tracking Reciepts
  4. How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
  5. How We Designed Our Budget Step 5- 5S Organization
  6. How We Designed Our Budget Step 6- Who Does What and When?
  7. How We Designed Our Budget Step 7- Balancing Our Budget
  8. How We Designed Our Budget Step 8- Knowing our Coupon Savings
  9. How We Designed Our Budget Step 9- Reading Our Bills
  10. How We Designed Our Budget Step 10- Projected Expenses
2013 budget adjustments

2013 budget adjustments

Additions  or Adjustments to Our Family 2013 Budget :
  1. We forgot to input some receipts- How do we fix that problem? We will initial every receipt so we know it was actually put into the spreadsheet. We will then put the receipts in baggies then into our household binder.
  2. We need to label our receipt bags better so we will use a permanent marker.
  3. We needed to add a blog category.
  4. We wanted to add a stockpiling category for great deals so we weren’t blowing the grocery budget to bits. This will help us stock up on items that are an amazing deal and budgeting for groceries. If we don’t spend the $20 a month in this category it goes right to savings. We will not carry the money over.
  5. Many utility bills are going up and some will go up at some point in the year so what we knew was adjusted.
  6. We needed to adjust our grocery budget for 2  due to inflation and the proposed 3-5% increase in the cost of food. We also considered the average amount spent in 2012 which was more than the $190 per month. We ended at an avg of $223.76 per month. Keep in mind the grocery game did not start until early 2012. It has helped us stick to the budget especially when we know we are being held accountable for our spending.
  7. Birthdays increased as we added in a new addition to the family as well as buying cards and stamps for everyone.
  8. Christmas was updated to included Holiday Drinks, the new addition, cards and stamps.
  9. Vehicle Stickers- These are going up again in 2013 but we realized we were putting too much away so we lowered that by $1.00 a month
  10. Pet- Includes potential vet bills, food, licences as well as bird seed in the summer.
  11. Allowance- That went up because, well, I was spending a bit more than I thought I was. Time to cut back on the beer which I’ll admit has tasted mighty good this past year. Hopefully this will keep me in check but I’m hoping to lower it back down to $15 with some perseverance.
  12. Water- Good ol water bill is going up again in our city for 2013. They say water is the new oil so tap into all the water saving ideas that you can so you aren’t paying out the nose.
  13. E-test- with a new year brings higher prices so that was adjusted.
  14. Mortgage- Will be paid at some point in full this year but until then we will keep paying monthly. We do have the cash it’s just not all in one spot so it will take time to get it all out.
  15. Gas (vehicle)- One category that has a new budget cut. We budgeted more than we needed so we lowered this expense.
  16. Investments-  Our investments will go up and I also will be looking at RRSP and other contributions with my advisor in early 2013. We are also hoping to drop our life insurance now that we will be one year smoke-free as of the end of January 2013.
  17. Property Taxes- We don’t know what our  new taxes for 2013 will be yet but we will adjust as we need to.

Whether this will be the first time you use a budget or if you are a seasoned veteran then you know budgets can change from month to month. Make sure you return to your budget and check to see if any updates are needed. Taking control of your finances in the new year with a budget can equal your success formula but it’s up to you how you you want to walk the path to debt freedom.

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

Mr.CBB’s Quote

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Photo Credit: Success Formula : RF123

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


  1. Happy New Year Mr. CBB! I have a lot of changes and additions in our family budget, but I will have to start making a big effort to reduce spending and effective waste.

    • happy New Year .. I just posted our 2013 budget changes which were alot. Come post your grocery shops in the grocery game.. it will help you stick to your budget when you are held accountable. That’s how we stuck to our grocery budget the best we could in 2012~ Mr.CBB

  2. jefferson @SeeDebtRun says:

    You are certainly being very thorough with your categories, and I have found (myself) that the more granular I can be, the easier it is to identify areas where cuts can be made.

    And major kudos to you for quitting smoking! Huge costs savings and health bump there!

    • Cheers mate! Yes the more we break it down the bigger the picture we get and the easier to make changes. It’s been a process the past couple of years but it has helped us every step of the way!!! Happy New Years mate! Mr.CBB

  3. I like the spreadsheets! I hope to make something a bit more detailed one day when I find the time to sit down and go through it. Until then, I will have to use my simpler and less comprehensive spreadsheets ;)

    • The update spreadsheet did take some time but that is expected at the end of the year. The budget took about a year to put together as we were constantly updating and changing it. We are comfortable with our budget spreadsheet now. Happy New Year!! Mr.CBB

  4. AS much as I dread setting up a budget for our family it is so crucial. I like how you break down your categories, I may be stealing some of your tips.. thanks

    • Hey Kyle,
      Yes over time we broke it all down so we could see exactly where the money is going. It’s been super helpful when looking back to see where we need to improve and where we are on track. Steal away! Happy New Year! Mr.CBB

  5. I look forward to seeing what 2013 will bring financially! I hope I can make you proud!

  6. I haven’t completely looked at the budget yet but the changes for next year…..hmmm….I know I will need to increase a few categories, I definitely need to reduce a bunch lol. I will try to save for things this year that I hadn’t in the past. For example, my father in law is paying for us to fly to Florida and visit him on March Break and we are trying to save cash for our spending money and expenses while there rather than putting everything on credit. I still have much work to do but have made great strides since April 2012.

    • Good for you Jen. Like I mentioned earlier you have all the tools now and you know what you need to do. You and I worked hard in 2012 and we will continue to do so in 2013. Keep up the good work and stay positive, never give up. Make SMART goals.. and you will have your success formula. Mr.CBB

  7. Hi There, dropping by to let you know I do “Appreciate your stopping by and liking my Christmas blogs. This blog of yours took some work I am sure, you have done the work for them let’s see if they take NOTE. Happy New Year ;-)

  8. serenaboughner says:

    New Year — new budget — new knowledge! Looking forward to trying ur system!

  9. Christine Weadick says:

    I’m looking to get a list of expenses so I can figure things out. The biggest problem might be having the peace and quiet to actually run the numbers with out someone telling me what I’m doing wrong and why he knows better what to do with the finances. I liked the looks of your charts so I will try to get what I can printed off. Maybe when that certain some one goes for a walk or some such. I am going to try my hardest to come up with a budget to deal with things here…..I know I can work something out but the big question will be having it work when hubby thinks he knows so much more than me about budgets…..Given that there is a very real probability that I will have to do things on my own I need to figure it out….How much time I will have to figure things out with him still around is the big question. That part may depend on the skill of the doctors and the Good Lord…..

  10. Our budget is not changing too much from the budget we made when I started working at my current job. We may make some tweaks to our TFSA versus RRSP allocations but that’s about it. We usually do a new budget when one of us has a raise or a new job, so the next one should come mid 2013.

  11. New year, new budget, new opportunities for new savings, new investments and spending on new experiences.

    I look forward to your posts. Good luck with the 2013 budget!


  12. looking forward to new things this year :)
    our budget being one of them! Going to try new ways or oraganize everything and hope that it will help to see everything that we are planning and not just talk about it and hope we remember that we did it.

  13. mycanuckbuck says:

    Happy New Year Mr. CBB. Sounds like you’ve put a lot of work and effort into your budget, but it’s really paid off!

  14. I love how tangible your improvement list is. Having a list of things you can actually do is so important in making change and reaching your goals. So many of us make unrealistic lists and we just set ourselves up for failure. Best of luck with the new budget. I am sure you are going to rock it in 2013.

  15. Wendy Ann says:

    Happy New Year Mr. CBB. I landed a job as an Supply Teacher starting in January. I am now reworking the numbers for the the budget as the income will be going up. :) Thanks for all the support and knowledge that you share. Looking forward to working out a grocery budget that I can get in on the grocery game. (This is one of my financial changes for 2013. Looking forward to all that you will be sharing over the year.

  16. I’ve got a spreadsheet I use to budget, and this will be year 3 I’ve been using it and it’s worked like a charm!

  17. says:

    That budget is pretty detailed! You’ve really got everything in there. This is a great download for you to make available for free.

    Here’s my budget download:

  18. Wow, I have a long way to go to make my budget look good.

  19. I do not know yet about changes to my finances. We are on disability so I just don’t know. Maybe save a bit more.

  20. Budget, save more and spend less !

  21. Gail Squires says:

    Working on a small savings plan that goes along with my couponing. I am preparing a small budget to start the year and hoping february bring hubby a stable job (keeping our fingers crossed) with a more regular income. cheers to 2013 and TY Mr. CBB

    • Hi Gail!! I’ll be crossing my fingers that he finds a job that he enjoys and pays well. Keep the faith and keep on budgeting and managing your money.. it was the best decision we ever made. Happy New Year! Mr.CBB

  22. I will be focusing on saving more! Last year my husband changed jobs twice after 18 years at 1 job so we didn’t put much in savings! It was a tough year.

  23. Thank you! Good luck all

  24. amie pepper says:

    Great Tips

    This year we are trying to save a little more each month for emergencies and thinks like Birthdays and extra money for summer activities!!

  25. Angelene Ashawasega says:

    I have to admit you 2 are excellent in your budgeting! I do 1,2 & 7, as of last year, i still have alot of work to do. I will get on it as I am very interested to see my spending in a budget sheet, as this will probably be the only way to prove and curb what I am spending on home etc. Thanks for sharing!

    • Good for you Angelene and I’m sure like us you WILL see the benefits of knowing where your money is going and how you can best distribute it to pay off debt and save for whatever you need or want to save for. Happy Budgeting.

  26. I like the idea of initially your receipts so that you know you’ve entered them on the spreadsheet, too many times I’ve tossed my grocery receipts only to discover that I hadn’t entered them on my Excel spreadsheet. I’m going to implement this idea right away.

  27. donna pierce says:

    Mr.CBB I saw where you had furnace rental.How does that work ?

    • Our water heater runs the furnace. It’s actually a very expensive system that was in the house when we purchased it and we’ve left it that way. It’s apparently the bees knees to most tradesman that have been in the house and have seen it.

  28. donna pierce says:

    Thanks for explaining it to me. I’ve just never heard of it here in the US. Guess that’s on your to change list one day. :)


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  46. […] budgeting now and planning my weekly shopping around the flyer inserts. I use coupons more than I ever have […]

  47. […] hamburger and fries while eating out, but be mindful of how you are spending the money in your budget. If you don’t spend your entertainment money one month save it for another so you can spend a […]

  48. […] finances frugally by budgeting, tracking our spending, and meal planning, which helps us to feed our family of six on under $450 a […]

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  52. […] how we were able to get ahead by planning and later using a budget spreadsheet that we designed “The CBBS” we call it. That is “The Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet” and not only has it helped […]

  53. […] if you have to ask yourself, “How much should my grocery budget be?”, working out a personal budget first is probably a good place to […]

  54. […] stores carry the same products as the higher end pricier grocery stores. If you don’t have a personal budget set up you need one of those as well so you can document where all the money is going. Cutting your […]

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  56. […] I tracked my spending every month – down to the last penny – for many months. Doing this was a real eye opener, at first, and helped me curb my unnecessary spending. Then, it kept me honest and on-track with my budget. […]

  57. […] we really don’t need them at all. They are a luxury but one that shouldn’t break the budget in order to have […]

  58. […] When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals. We don’t care how much money others make or if their net worth is lower or higher as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path towards debt freedom. […]

  59. […] mortgage. In 2013 we will be mortgage free, just 4 years after buying our home. Taking the time to budget our money in order to save, research properties and rates to make informed decisions really did help guide us […]

  60. […] you find that you know someone you are trying to talk some money sense into or trying to teach them the importance of budgeting this coffee and lunch comparison is a great way to tally up the numbers and give them a bit of a […]

  61. […] we track our receipts in our budget we keep our receipts especially if it’s an item with a warranty. Lately we’ve hung on […]

  62. […] her money and finances. Eventually Jen and family got to a place where they were budgeting using my Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet that I designed for our family […]

  63. […] frugal habits. Mr. CBB has also shared some excellent tips for frugal living and how to budget  that you can learn from and apply to help you slice debt and win the battle. I finally realized […]

  64. […] that point we designed a “10 Step Budgeting Series” on the blog to document what we did to put our budget together to help us along the way and others. […]

  65. […] not really but it’s just one of those things that saved us some money in our budget and without hardly any effort at all. To some people they may view a project as too much work, or […]

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  70. […] too familiar where to begin or you know how you just need a push to start. You can read my budgeting series which I wrote where you will see the Canadian Budget Binder budget sample that we use for our own […]

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  75. […] home herself and cared for, free. We all know that grocery shopping can eat up a big chunk of the budget so if you want to save money, plan how you are spending your money […]

  76. […] to enjoy life now but not with the stress of debt on your shoulders. Spend less than you earn now, budget and save for what you need in the future while spending what you can to live your “one […]

  77. […] currently put away $113 a month into our pet budget category to cover costs such as vet bills, food and treats, pet licence, snow boots, leash, poop […]

  78. […] less than we earn is a forever clause in our marriage and we continue to use a budget because that’s what keeps our finances on […]

  79. […] way, making the guest room a special place for any guest can be done on a simple budget and should no longer be a problem. It can be maintained easily for when anyone needs to stay the […]

  80. […] on-line ads in hopes of finding goats for sale and forget the rental fees altogether. That’s smart budgeting especially if you can have your new goat make you extra money as a goat for hire. Never know who […]

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  82. […] for your kids’ birthday party is something you can easily plan into your monthly budget so you don’t have to dig into your emergency savings or put the birthday party on a credit […]

  83. […] child (who doesn’t) when life was easy, we didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, budgeting or who was going to make sure the bread and milk was stocked in the kitchen. Nor did I have to […]

  84. […] Advertisers are brilliantly skilled when it comes to making us believe we are getting more for our money but we have the final say in what we buy. Strategically planning your shopping means you invest some time in saving money in your budget. […]

  85. […] we reach the fork in the road. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything went as planned, even the budget? Even that has to be tweaked and so should our plans for the […]

  86. […] going to be a bumpy ride. There are so many ways to cut costs for a wedding or better yet, just budget the money. Live the life you want by making smart financial decisions […]

  87. […] try very hard not to do is spend more than we are earning which can get tricky if we aren’t tracking our expenses. I’ve kept my eye open by scouring the MLS to see what house prices are going for in and […]

  88. […] Really, there is no budget yet, just an ego. She has read my blog for over a year and has read my budgeting series and wants to start a […]

  89. […] we could approach our finances that way. Take something relatively straight-forward like putting a budget together and put it to work for us. Not only is the pink colour of the sticker eye-catching […]

  90. […] these days never seem to have enough staff on hand. I know it has to do with their payroll budget but is this not an important part of making […]

  91. […] I haven’t said before? I’m sure we could have saved much more money if only we were using a budget. We are both quite disciplined individuals who can appreciate patience while working towards the […]

  92. […] much effort into our own lives. I wish I could come on here and blog how perfect my life is and how our budget never has any problems but that’s not true, no one is […]

  93. […] saving money and that surfaced shortly after moving into my flat. No, I didn’t have an actual budget like we do today, the thought never crossed my mind as odd as that may […]

  94. […] When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals. We don’t care how much money others make or if their net worth is lower or higher as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom. […]

  95. […] the amount we originally borrowed in only a few months. What a waste of money. If only we had a proper budget and were more aware of our spending we could have avoided this […]

  96. […] you have been following Canadian Budget Binder and have read my budgeting series and are still not sure if you want to budget then at least download it and give it a shot for one […]

  97. […] of their allowance or if they have a paper route or earnings to set a portion aside as we do in our projected expenses account. This way you can pay a portion and the child can pay a portion and learn about saving money for what […]

  98. […] New Year + New Budget = Success Formula ( […]

  99. […] to take because there is more to it than what you own. You need to factor this small cost into your budget as it is a must-have not a nice to have policy. Some landlords are now even requesting that you to […]

  100. […] can download my free excel budget spreadsheet to get you started and read my 10 step budgeting series to give you an idea of where we began with our […]

  101. […] pockets as long as you follow through by spending money. Hopefully not money you haven’t budgeted for but as well all know many people become shopoholics because they love to spend and adding […]

  102. […] where we can splurge a bit but we still need to be cautious. We aren’t giving up the budget nor are we splashing out on toys we don’t need. ( OK maybe on a couple but it’s all […]

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