Budget help for families who want out of debt

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Never Be Afraid To Ask For Financial Help

I had a reader contact me the other day and asked me for my Canadian Budget Binder excel spreadsheet that you see me post snap shots of each month when I post our budget update because he said their finances are in chaos and they risk losing everything. It’s not easy asking for help when it comes to finances because for many people talking about their money is taboo so they suffer in silence and continue to pile debt on top of debt. Although it seems like lately I’ve seen a shift in those wanting to break-free from their debt and the emails to my inbox have been flowing through daily asking for help.

Sinking your financial ship doesn’t have to happen nor do you have to feel shameful of why you are where you are financially because we all have our reasons and no one should ever judge. What I do encourage is for people to speak up whether they are already in a crisis or believe they are headed that way. Most people already know they are going to be in trouble financially but there are those few that will say they had no idea they were digging a hole.

You only have to watch various debt related tv programs such as The Suze Orman show or Til Debt Do Us Part shows to see that the people who seek free budget help only do so when they are faced with major debts and feel they have no where else to turn. Most flat-out say they had no idea their debt or spending was as bad as it was. Why?  Well, the answer is simple. They had no idea where they were spending their money, how much they were spending nor do most know what their own net income is.

A disaster waiting to happen but money motivates and people will share their life story with the world if that means getting back on track with a cash reward in the end. It just goes to show you that if you set a goal and plan for a win with a prize at the end you might just push yourself that much harder.

So for example if you start budgeting and set goals but along the way you have a projected expense in your budget to save up $4000 to go on a vacation as your prize for getting back on track financially that might motivate you even more. There has to be a win at the end for people to push although for many in debt just getting out of debt is the biggest win but for others they need more.

Budgeting

Our budget sheet is not yet available on the blog only because I’ve had numerous fans testing out the budget behind the scenes for me to work out any bugs or incorporate any suggestions that they may have. When I first started thinking about how to create a budget in excel I don’t think I anticipated all the changes that I’ve made since I started. You can make a budget as easy as you want or as complex as you want.

I was aiming for balanced so that it appealed to my readers which is what I think I’ve done to the best of my ability with their help. There are free budgets all over the internet but like one fan says below you have to find one that is the right “fit” for you. I will have my free online budget tool available for download soon on the blog in my free money-saving tools section.

Numerous people have come to me over the past year and a half and have asked me for tips and shared their debt stories with me because they felt they had no one else to turn to. Then there was Tony who shared his story about how his family worked their way out of over $100,000 worth of debt and you read these stories and think to yourself, wow if they can do it, so can we. It’s true, you can, you just have to believe.

If you are a regular fan here at Canadian Budget Binder you will know the fans that are here day in and day out because they want the financial independence that comes with having no debt and balanced lifestyle when it comes to love, finances and life.

Canadian Budget Binder fan Jen was the very first family that I helped get on track financially using my budget spreadsheet and they are still using the original budget spreadsheet today even though I’ve attempted to send her the updated version. It’s amazing how some people are set in their ways and when something feels right and is working for them they may be wary about change especially after they feel they have jumped a hurdle and are making progress.

Change is scary

Change for most people is like the unknown because once we are in a routine it’s hard to break that routine with the unknown but it doesn’t have to be that way. I won’t lie and say that working with Jen and Ken was easy via internet because it wasn’t for her or for me.

It’s not always easy to explain how something works without showing someone exactly how it works especially an excel program which Jen will tell you is not her strong suit. She messed it up so many times that I wanted to tear my hair out BUT she never gave up. This girl she is a warrior when it comes to her family finances and she would stop at nothing even if it meant sending me 10 emails a day just to get it right.

I admired her determination and that meant I was doing something right because when I started Canadian Budget Binder I wanted to give budget help to families who want out of debt but just didn’t know where to turn to.

I’m not a professional but you don’t need to have a degree to use a budget all you need is motivation and a desire to get to the other side like Jen and Ken did and still are today. Best part is their enthusiasm and the change in their personalities and relationship is phenomenal because they do so much together now including cooking aside from their finances.

Jen still emails me and we still talk almost daily as we have formed a friendship that I’m sure will last a lifetime even though she has never met me. I get email after email from fans sharing a bit about their financial life and wanting me to help them out.

I’ve kept each one of my fan emails in a folder just so I can go back periodically and check in with those who reached out to me. I might send them a quick email to see how things are going and ask if they have any questions for me. My fans are very important to me as I learn from them what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to budgeting so I can share that feedback with the rest of the world.

Helping people get out of debt is only a small step in the budgeting game because it’s only a money-saving tool. I always tell someone that if you are serious about getting out of debt and you want to get your finances on track so you can stop stressing out about them then you need to have that passion with-in.

The guy who emailed me above that prompted this post is in charge of the finances in his home although they do budget as a couple but it’s not so much them it’s the kids that are causing them to spend more than they earn and they don’t know how to get them on board with the budget. We’ve talked numerous times about teaching children about money and the importance of leading by example but what happens when you let the kids lead you as a parents? Trouble, that’s what.

Many parents feel this guilt inside if they don’t give their kids what they want like my friend with his young daughter who uses a form of “but daddy I need it” spending manipulation to try and get what she wants. Since he is not with her mother he feels the need to give in to his daughter more often than he should because he doesn’t want her to think he is not a good dad. We know and he knows he is doing her no good but he is working very hard to make changes in his life because he wants out of the rat race just like many of the fans who contact me.

Change doesn’t have to be an anxious filled word and if you stop procrastinating and take that first step, I promise you that you won’t look back and say “why did I start to use a budget I’m a moron”. You won’t. No one I know kicks themselves for working on ways to save money. If you seriously want something, you have to fight for it and push your way to accomplish the goals you set forth and then do it again because goals never end.

Budgeting help

I came across your website this evening and have spent 2 enjoyable hours reading about budgeting – who would have ever thought it. I would like a copy of your Canadian budget binder personal budget spreadsheet with projected expenses.  My husband and I (plus two kids) have recently moved back to Canada and are struggling to get our finances in order – with wanting to purchase a house on one income (I haven’t found a job in the area yet) we really need a tool to help with the budgeting.

I have read your blog for some time now and realized I must have a better budget in place. The basic budget that I have is not working and I never have money for those small things that come up (birthday, car breaking down etc) I would love if I can use your budget that includes the projected expenses.I am deeply in debt and want to get out of this rat race

Since my husband and I got married (and just before when we moved in together) we’ve been struggling to put together a budget and way to track expenses. I would love a copy of your excel budget (with projected expenses – this is essential for us). We are both very committed to budgeting and keeping out of debt so this worksheet seems like it would work great. Right now we are shuffling money around and just need a plan!

My husband and I have just hit a hard spot in our lives where we are quickly realizing that we are losing money every month and we can’t account for it. We have just sold our house, but have not found another to buy and it is proving difficult with knowing what we should spend. We want to be comfortable and have savings, not house poor and miserable knowing we have to work extra hard to try and afford it. Unfortunately we are not having much luck, but by starting this budget we may have a better idea of what really is realistic for us. I would like a copy of your spreadsheet to see if it might be a budget we may use.

I mentioned this to my husband a couple of years ago when I read a book about saving and budgeting but he never seemed too interested. He came to me the other day with some concern that we need to be doing something better. We are eager to get rid of our credit cards and start using cash for everything while saving for things we actually need. We just need a little bit of help getting started. That’s where you come in.Mr CBB.

You are doing a fabulous job at inspiring people that’s for sure.  My sister and I both follow you and are trying to get our families on track to be debt free. I would like your budget spreadsheet with project expenses.

I’m just a regular guy who fancies budgeting and saving money so I don’t have to worry about it so when I receive emails like the above examples it makes me happy to know that people are responding and they do want budget help.

I recently found your blog and as I am on maternity leave and my income is lower than usual, I am looking to do a better job at budgeting.  Your blog has a ton of great information, and you are a very good writer. May I please have an email copy of your spreadsheet with projected expenses? It would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to request a copy of your budget spreadsheet.  I have recently split up with my husband, (3 weeks ago) and think I need to seriously start budgeting to get ahead. I would like a copy of it with projected expenses.  Thanks so much for all you do!

I don’t give advice to anyone when it comes to their personal finances but what I do give is tips on getting that budget started and how to bring the family on board so they can all work together as a family unit. When the parents are not stressing about finances the children will reap the rewards of that positive energy that they send out to those around them.

So for my anonymous reader who sent me the email with a plea for budget help for his family who desperately wants to get on track here are a few tips for you. These are tips that we used, still use and which I have learned from fans just like you in conversation because you say it works for you. Just another reason why CBB also means ‘family’ here because we teach and learn from each other.

Stand up tall, be fierce and let no one stand in your way and you WILL succeed. Smile… push… never give up… let know one tear you down because you are the warrior behind your own kingdom.-CBB

Tips to help families get started with a budget

  • Stop procrastinating and take the first step
  • Get the entire family involved and explain what a budget is and why the family will be using one
  • Explain the need for a budget with your children, what a budget is and create a mini budget that you can all work on together as an example
  • Ask for feedback from your children on ways they can earn money around the house so they can save up to buy what they want and pay cash (having them come up with ideas will motivate them to champion them as they are the initiators of the idea)
  • Know all your financial numbers and bring them to the table
  • Set Goals and make a plan of action (how will you remember to put your receipts away as soon as you get home etc)
  • Set up your budget binder, budget file folder etc so you have all of your bills, receipts and paperwork in one place
  • Set up your budget spreadsheet online or on paper whichever works for you
  • Reduce expenses by cutting out what you don’t need
  • Call credit card companies and ask for rate reductions (talk to a manager)
  • Hide or cut up your credit cards so you are not tempted to use them while working your way out of debt
  • Know who is responsible for what when it comes to keeping track of money
  • Make sure you get an understanding of the budget from everyone involved (not just a nod)
  • Talk about expenses especially big ones before purchases
  • Be realistic with your figures
  • Don’t give up even if you have a bad month (we all do)
  • Work on ways to come up with free or frugal ways to have fun as a family to keep motivated
  • Visit your budget weekly to check in on progress and document your expenses and income
  • Don’t be afraid of change
  • Don’t worry about what other families are doing
  • Spend less than you earn

This list of budgeting tips can go on and on and I bet once you start budgeting you can add many more tips for others to think of. What other tips from your experience with budgeting your way out of debt or simply choosing to live a lifestyle that uses a budget can you add for those looking for guidance today reading this blog post.

I trust that each one of you are here and reading this because you want to make a change in your life for the good or you already are and this post proves to motivate you to keep on giving it your all. Budget help is always at your finger tips so plan to succeed and push your way to the top.

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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. I have been following you for about a year. I have taken some of the tips that you have provided and even came up with a few of my own. I understand the one father’s comments about his daughter…I’m unfortunately the same. Now that she is in school and not living with me, I find that I am not spending as much money as when she is home. I’m hoping that I can make a dent into the debt during this time so that when she comes home, I have the motivation to keep it up and even encourage her to start.

  2. great tips! getting out of debt is a journey!

  3. Smart move about not telling people what they should do but just giving them the tools to get their financial lives in order. Also I want to congratulate you on the new design! looks really nice and clean, I am happy you eventually got it done!

    • Thanks Pauline…. I’m working on the site as we speak as it’s all new stuff to me. We worked hard on the design all year but will sort out the bits as we go along now.

  4. I LOVE the new site design! Much cleaner and easier to read! I think when it comes to budgeting, it’s important to be flexible so you can evolve with it over time. I started and stopped a budget SO many times before I found a system that works and stayed consistent. Congrats on doing such a great job encouraging your readers..I’m sure you’re helping A LOT of people out there. That has to feel good!

  5. Chris @ Stumble Forward says:

    Great article MR. CBB. Also I like the new site design.

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