March 2013 CBB Budget Update #3- A Quiet Month With The Budget

Canadian Budget Binder Monthly Budget Update

Well, here we are at the end of March 2013 with another budget update which with confidence I can say is a bit better than our February Budget Update. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have a quiet month with the budget because it helps to put things into perspective. Sometimes budgeting and saving money doesn’t always happen depending on what your priorities are that month.

As an example, last month we saved no money in our emergency savings, a big fat zero. We actually spent more than we earned in February which can be discouraging but also motivating to do better the next month.This month we didn’t have any big-ticket expenses like our water softener that cost us over $1000 in February.

We didn’t have alot going on this month in terms of expenses but we did pre-pay the full 20% of our mortgage of over $32,000 for the 2013 year which I will get into in an upcoming blog post. I’m expecting next month to be costly for us with having another installment of city taxes to pay and our hydro./water bill will be coming due.

Other than that with spring and then summer just around the corner I will start to get the deck sanded down and treated. I already purchased the Thompson’s sealer with tint at Canadian Tire earlier in the year when it was on sale. I’ll also be looking at our landscaping projects which is top priority this summer as we’ve put it off for far too long.

I’ve got the vegetable seeds ready to go for the garden, so we will see how much money we will be spending on plants this summer but hopefully not too much. I had a peek in the compost bin which I jammed full of leaves and other organics at the end of last summer so I’m sure I will reap those rewards shortly. I did manage to save some of our flowers and plants from last year by bringing them indoors for the winter although next winter I will be pickier on what comes in. I try to do whatever it takes to shave some expenses off the home maintenance budget for the year including re-using and re-purposing items we already have.

I also plan to start renovating one of our main bathrooms with a full tear down, heated floors, new cabinets, new counter tops and faucets,toilet, Shower faucets, tile floor to ceiling, new mirrors, accessories, heated towel bar and shower curtain and bar. That’s a big project for me but I’ll be tackling the outside before I do any indoor work. This job alone will take a big chunk of our budget but will add value back into our home.

What spring cleaning do you do? 

How We Budget Our Monthly Expenses

Below are links to my budgeting series which I wrote while designing our spreadsheet. I’m not a financial planner/advisor so I can’t tell you how you should budget but I can show you how we budget. I’m just a regular guy just like everyone else, some might call me a budget nerd. I love seeing money grow and where it has gone. Please take the time to read through the budgeting series and I hope you take something away from the information.

  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 Receipts
  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

Click this link if you want to see a sample of a budget sheet spreadsheet that we designed>>> Finances+Budget= Success Formula

Changes to the Monthly Family Budget This Month

I mentioned a bit about our life insurance policies and how we applied for life insurance as non-smokers since we are now over 1 year smoke-free. We received our assessments back and we are now only paying $70.43 a month as opposed to the $135.05 so that is a bit of savings for us at $64.62 a month.

Our income taxes are done and I’m proud to report that I did them on my own. I read everything I needed to read in a couple of days and did them online for free. We are getting just over $200 back which isn’t much but that’s fine as long as we don’t have to pay the government any money. I’ll be removing the $2.50 a month we were saving in projected expenses out of our budget and put that money in our emergency savings now.

March Monthly Household Budget  Percentages Overview

Our savings of 60.18% includes savings and investments. I’ve also went ahead and added in our projected expenses this month at 12.53%  which brings the total budget percentages to 100% for the month of March.

March 2013 Monthly Budgeted Expense Chart 2

The CBB Family March Budget Expenses Breakdown

We have 3 Canadian Bank Accounts with our Chequing account being with President’s Choice Financial. We chose PC Financial as one of our banks because we didn’t want to pay any bank fees. We also have never felt the need to see anyone personally inside of a bank but if we do Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) will gladly help us out as PC is affiliated with CIBC.

  1. Chequing– This is where all the bills get paid from.
  2. Emergency Savings Account– This is a high interest savings account.
  3. Regular Savings Account– This a savings account that holds our projected expenses money.
  4. Monthly Budget Total: $4611.65
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$8544.05
  6. Total Coupons Used (includes points redeemed, big box store coupons, not just grocery coupons:=$91.38
  7. Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout year and save monthly for = $1282.90
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$2927.97
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out Calculated is $8544.05 (total monthly income) –$4333.18 (total monthly savings)–Projected expenses $1282.90 = $2927.97
  10. Actual Cash Savings Going Into Emergency Savings Funds$4333.18
  11. Calculated is $8544.05 (total monthly net income) – $2927.97 (actual expenses paid out for the month)–$1282.90 (projected expenses) $4333.18

March Budget Updates

What are Projected Expenses?

PE= A Projected Expense is money which is automatically saved each month ready for when the bill comes in or for when you need it as in the example below. We go over our projected expenses at the beginning of the year to set up our yearly budget and adjust as we go along if a new projected expense arises and needs to be added to the budget.

This has happened on many occasions but it’s bound to happen as we can’t predict everything we have to pay for over the course of the year. The important part for us is that we are saving for the expense and we no longer have to stress about taking money from our savings to pay for them. To learn more about projected expenses read Step 10 in my budgeting series.

Projected Expense Example: Clothing we budget $50 per month. If we don’t spend it we move it to the projected expenses account. This means we should have $600.00 per year for clothing to spend. We have to track that expense as we spend it.

Below is our Budgeted Amount for March-Money that we budgeted to spend minus the savings as that gets added once we see what is left for the month.

Budgeted Amount March 2013

Below is our Actual Budget Expenses for the month of March-What we actually spent plus our emergency savings

Actual Budget  March 2013

March 2013 Goals 
  • Network with some new Bloggers let’s say 2 for now, keep it simple.- PASS
  • Reach 4200 Facebook Fans- PASS  4830
  • Reach 1500 Twitter Followers-PASS 1528
  • Reach  900 Blog Subscribers-PASS 905
  • Order 1 personal finance book from the library and start reading it (not sure how well I will do with this one but I’ll try) Any recommendations?-FAIL I really need to get on this.
  • Clean out the garage mainly the salt on the floor and organize it a bit- FAIL
  • Get my flower seedlings going as I’ll need lots of flowers this year!- PASS
  • Guest Post for an awesome personal finance blog (not sure who yet though)- PASS  
  • Complete our Income Tax Returns on my own (fingers crossed I don’t mess it up)- PASS
April 2013 Goals
  • Pre-Pay another 20% off the mortgage
  • Pay the mortgage in full after we pre-pay but will see how this all comes together
  • Order a personal finance book from the library and actually start reading it
  • Reach 5000 Facebook Followers (lofty goal but I’ll try)
  • Reach 1575 Twitter Followers
  • Reach 920 Blog Subscribers – I’m just taking baby steps with the blog until I move to self-hosted soon
  • Work out the final touches on the new blog design with my designer
  • Clean out the garage
  • Guest Post for an awesome personal finance blog (if you want me, email me)
  • Take the winter tires off and store the winter beater to bring out my hot rod (not really but I like my set of wheels)
  • Clean out the inside of the vehicles
  • Start sanding down the deck
  • Get the indoor plants out
  • Clean the windows inside and out around the house
  • Scrub the front porch
Our Year To Date Percentages 2013

Year To Date Percentages March 2013

Overall: March overall was a good month for us as we had paid down the mortgage which left us with $417 a month expense that we would typically use to pre-pay but are now at our max for the year. We didn’t spend as much as we budgeted in March simply because we didn’t go out too much and we didn’t have anything to purchase. All good things come to an end though so we will see some healthy expenses in and around the next few months to cover renovations around the home. We will also be paying off our mortgage hopefully by the end of April 2013.

How did you do in March with your budget?

Quote-Budget and Money

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Mr. CBB was born and raised in the United Kingdom who then moved to Canada where he is a permanent resident. He recently became a father to a very busy toddler who allows him to be a kid at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 after University and his second at the age of 24. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are Debt and Mortgage Free and they did it all in under 5 years using a Budget. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where he shares their financial experiences with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. Welcome to CBB!


  1. I’m glad you did your taxes on your own!! Not too difficult, hey? I end up doing around 15 returns every year for family and friends, so I am trying to teach them to do it on their own. It is ESPECIALLY easy if you use a tax program, but kudos to you for doing it by hand!

    Nice work on the budget, as always.. and you know what my recommendation would be for an investment book! 😛

    Have a good week!

  2. After you redo your bathroom, would you mind swinging by and taking care of ours?! 😉 It sounds like you’re adding some nice features with the remodel…heated towel racks sound awfully nice. We need to get to our gardening here very soon. We got an inch of snow this morning, so I am glad nothing had been planted yet.

    • What? Really you got that much snow, I feel for you. Well I’m going to add in what we think will add value for market resale and something that we can enjoy while we live in the house. we don’t really use this full bath as we have a full ensuite so it will likely just look pretty and that’s about it.

  3. congrats on the monster mortgage payment! I have given the garden another change after reading your post, cucumbers and broccoli seem to be happy, the tomatoes is another story…

    • So your cukes and broccoli are getting on are they.. ha! Lots of my seeds are really coming up now. I have plenty more to start this month, mainly flowers as I have 9 hanging baskets to fill and lots of pots. I can’t wait for the sun. Happy Easter Pauline.

  4. janesavers says:

    Congratulations on being smoke free for one year. It is such a such a huge accomplishment. You are healthier and it is saving you money.

  5. I am definitely in spring cleaning mode, getting rid of books I don’t read and pretty much anything else laying around that’s just wasting space. It’s so freeing to get rid of stuff!

  6. That’s an awesome savings ratio, Mr CBB! Way to have another great month =)

  7. Congrats on being smoke-free for a year! Yeah, I think we all have those months that just get crazy expensive. I’m hoping for a quiet month, but with possible medical bills it might not be. But at least I can be good with everything else. Good luck this month with everything.

    • If only you didn’t have those medical bills imagine the money you could save. We are truly blessed with the health care system we get in Canada although there are always those pros and cons. When do you go for your MRI? I can’t get over the cost.

  8. Mr. CBB, your a good man to share those numbers. One thing I decided early on was not to share my specific numbers. I weary enough to be concerned about putting them on the “net”. Thanks!

  9. You guys are saving 60% of your income!!!! That’s awesome!! I love that your mortgage is only $972 a month!!! What a dream, way to go 😉

    • Let’s just hope it’s a trend lol.. could be just luck this month. Yes the mortgage was always that much we just put an extra $417 a month on so $5k a year. We just dumped around 32K but that is all they will let us prepay until April 25 then we can drop another 20%, then we will tell them we want to break the mortgage and pay it in full… I’ll write a post about it, but I’ll be happy when it’s gone!!! Keep up the good work with your mortgage you are killing it!!

  10. Great job on being smoke free for a year. That’s a big milestone! I can’t wait for spring weather, there’s no better time of year. Good luck with your April budget.

  11. April is a tough month. We have both annual life insurance policies, annual HOA dues and taxes due. Luckily, since I’m on plan now, we have the annual expenses already saved up and ready, but it still sucks to take those expenses out of savings. That’s awesome with your mortgage. Hope your April will be good as well.

  12. theoutliermodel says:

    We don’t have any seeds saved from last year… we’re not quite at that point of gardening yet! We’ll probably start accumulating seedlings and seeds through April. There is a big plant sale that I usually hit up towards mid-April and that’ll form the bulk of our purchases.

  13. Wow – you did great with your budget this month!!!! And all of those projects – whew! You’re going to have plenty to do, that’s for sure. :-). And, Mr. CBB, you’re welcome to guest post for The FF anytime – you have SO much wisdom to share!

    • Thanks Laurie,
      I’m optimistic that I will get some of them done lol… I always over do it on the goals. Thanks for your kind words my dear. Remind me about the post… I may be moving site soo n and with that will go a loss of sanity I believe. 🙂

  14. Whenever we “project” what we are going to spend we always round up. If the expense is $7.99, like our non-cable subscription we call it $8. If we don’t know the exact amount like gasoline, we’ll round to the nearest $25 or $50. It makes me feel awesome at the end of the month when I give us $300 for gas, but only use $165 or so 🙂

    • Ya, we are like budget nerd central over here so every penny is to the penny. Many people forget about all those expenses not accounted for when calculating how much money to allot to each category and are stung bad come time the bills come rolling in. It’s been well worth it for us to save for projected expenses every month.

  15. I love that clean out the garage is one of your monthly goals. That seems to be on my list every month…probably because it never gets done:)

  16. It’s wonderful that you’ve got your expenses recorded and forecasted to the last penny. It’s a daunting task (all those figures and calculations) but it seems to be paying off.

  17. Looks like you had a very productive month! Congratulations. March was good for us as well. Keep up the awesome work.

  18. Christine Weadick says:

    We sent our taxes to the accountant as usual, the dear man didn’t put a bill in with it when we picked it up….. The library book sale is coming up starting April 11 so I plan to look for a book or two on finances for ideas, might be a good one or two to be found. I got the original wealthy Barber last spring….think I paid a dollar for it. Your finances are looking really good!!! Last month the rude surprise was your water softener, this month we got hit with new brakes for the truck….. haven’t seen the bill for that one yet but it’ll be close to the cost of that softener…..:-(

    • We just have to be prepared for these rude awakenings because on month it could be the water softener the next something else, even worse, injury,job loss etc. That was nice that you got no bill. I read both the wealthy barber books and they are both good reads.

  19. Yet another great month, good work mate!
    I love how you track down to every last cent. I used to do that but have become slack.

  20. wow, this is a very detailed review and budget in a nutshell. I am not that detailed in budgeting. Well, as far as your goal on followers I signed up following your blog, twitter and I already follow your Facebook… good luck in upcoming season…

  21. Great detailed budget! I used to carefully budget each month but have become very lax in this area, I have made a committment to myself to get back on track with budgeting.

    My goals for April are:
    Track all expenditures and make a more accurate budget for May
    Clean closets in spare room and office
    Start flower seeds (I know I’m late but I was waiting to see if the vegetable seeds were going to come up – they finally did this week). 🙂
    Clean blinds and ceiling fans
    Paint baseboards

    Not many goals on my list this month since I will be working late nearly every day and I don’t have much energy when I get home in the evenings or on weekends.

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