A Money Smart Budget Begins With You
If you’ve been waiting for my free excel budget spreadsheet for the past 2 years the time has come that you can now download it free.
If 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 month.
I often talk to fans who email me for budget help but they don’t use a proper budget or one that gives them the data they need to make informed decisions. You don’t need a budget that is so detailed you get lost with all of the information, at least we didn’t.
There are so many free budget spreadsheets available on the internet it’s not a one size fits all system. I don’t think there is any one “perfect budget” out there but you can customize an existing budget to fit your lifestyle.
I’ve used many online budgets, printable budgets and the pen and paper version so if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. You can’t win the battle if you hang up the towel at the first fall.
When I put the call out for budget testers back in 2012 I had so many people email me for my excel budget spreadsheet mainly because they saw the screen shot I place in every bust our budget update post and they too wanted to test it out.
The only thing I asked of the fans who wanted to test the budget in its beta phase was that they emailed me with any concerns but at the end of the month I wanted them to send me an email with their feedback on the budget.
I didn’t care if they hated it, I wanted to know what they loved and where they felt the budget needed improvements.
I know from many of the emails that I did receive was that some fans were not comfortable with using an excel spreadsheet which meant errors could easily happen since all of my formulas are left open.
Some people are better off with the budget binder where it’s all pen and paper and you keep it nice and tidy in a binder. We did that for the longest time as well before our online excel budget but we do still use our budget binder to keep all of our receipts and documents related to our personal finances for the month.
I will do an upcoming post about how we put together our monthly budget binder and bills/receipt book.
What I realized over the course of the 2 years of designing and constant change of our budget spreadsheet was that the fans wanted me to keep it simple but have the essentials for them.
At the time I offered the budget testers a choice between a free budget spreadsheet without projected expenses or the other with projected expenses.
Considering that not everyone saves a little money each month in their budget for those upcoming expenses I was thrilled to read email after email requesting the budget spreadsheet to test with projected expenses.
You can read all about what projected expenses are below but just to know that people are thinking about those expenses is crucial to your budget.
They need to be accounted for along the way and I don’t care what anyone thinks because if you don’t have the cash when the bill is due you’re stuffed. The money has got to come from somewhere.
The feedback I received from every fan that did email me at the end of their test month was both positive and I won’t say negative because it wasn’t bad it was more about making changes to the budget to keep it simple or to accommodate things I had not thought of when designing the budget.
Essentially the Canadian Budget Binder Budget was never intended to be a free downloadable tool until the fans started emailing me for the spreadsheet. I had designed it for our own personal use and trust me what it looks like today is not what it looked like in the beginning.
I’m sure if you ask Jen she will tell you she’s still using the earlier version because she got so used to it but what she doesn’t know is come 2014 I’m going to move her into the new Canadian Budget Binder Budget so she can utilize all the updates since being the very first fan to test my budget with success.
The new blog design is amazing and if you haven’t had a chance to look around please do. You will notice my Free Money Saving Tools button on the right side bar and that is where you can find all of my free downloadable money-saving lists and the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet.
Get your free budget
I’m currently offering 2 versions of my budget and the reason behind it is simple. Firstly, read the disclaimer because what you do with it is your own business so if you mess it up you need to sort that out. I have not closed off any cells so you can make all the changes you like to the budget to reflect your lifestyle which is what the fans wanted.
Although I would love to help every single fan with their budget I am unable to do so but I am always willing to answer any emails you send me so don’t be shy.
The 2 Budget Spreadsheet versions are as follows below but I will be updating the below budgets for the 2014 year in December based on any issues that might come up from all of you so please take a moment to download the budget of choice and let me know how it goes and any further feedback you can give me.
I’m always open to feedback but be polite as you don’t want to hurt my feelings lol. I’m a sensitive guy you know.
This was after all meant to be our personal budget and although I would love to customize it for every fan that wants to use it I’m afraid I cannot.
I’m not selling this budget or hope to make any money from it so enjoy this free budget and I hope that it works for you as much as it does for us.
Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet
You can download the free budget spreadsheets here.
- Budget 1- You can use the pre-existing categories or you can use your own if you wish and you have the option to use projected expenses or not. Please read all notes left around the budget for tips.
- Budget 2-Everything is pre-set so you have to use the pre-defined categories but this budget will generate year-end budget figures whereas the other one won’t but you must use the categories already in this budget. If you change anything you will mess up the formulas and year-end figures. Please read all notes left around the budget for tips.
I’m always open to feedback but be polite as you don’t want to hurt my feelings
Get started and don’t procrastinate. Test it out for a month and see how it goes.
There is never any harm in trying something new in life. You either love it or hate it, that is a fact with anything.
What type of budget do you use?
How we budget our monthly expenses
I often have fans ask me how to budget money and what we do in order to save so much money but the reply is that it’s not about the money it’s about the process involved. We don’t always save as much money as we would like every month but most importantly we are not going into debt because we are budgeting our money.
Budget failure only occurs when you give up on the budget which should not happen as long as you give 100% into making sure you reach your goals. Sometimes fans email and ask me if living on a budget in Canada is any different from living in other countries. To be honest I’m going to say, probably not. If I still lived in the UK I could use this exact budget to meet all of my needs. Below are links to the 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. Please take the time to read through the budgeting series and I hope you take something away from the information.
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 1- Gathering All the information
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 2- Categories
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 3- Tracking Receipts
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 5- 5S Organization
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 6- Who Does What and When?
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 7- Balancing Our Budget
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 8- Knowing our Coupon Savings
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 9- Reading Our Bills
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 10- Projected Expenses
Other than the changes to our Rogers internet in August not too much has changed as far as budget amounts this month. In the beginning of 2014 I am predicting changes in our budget just by looking back over the year at a glance and seeing what we have spent. That is the beauty of budgeting when you can look back and make those decisions based on past performance. I don’t think a budget will ever need dusting off in our house.
Our savings of 11.88% includes savings and investments. I’ve also went ahead and added in our projected expenses this month at 18.97% which brings the total September 2013 Household Budget percentages to 105.35%. The more than 100% figure occurs due to the $363.97 over spend we had this month.
This is simply a breakdown of our expenses which has helped us to understand where all of our money goes. I appreciate that you enjoy this budget update each month but I do hope you view this as an educational tool rather than comparing your own financial numbers as we are all unique. Sometimes we wish we had more money to budget with but understand that we only have what we earn and if we want more, we need to earn more. Spending less than we earn and budgeting our money has been the easiest way for us to pay down debt and save money.
- Chequing- This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from.
- Emergency Savings Account- This is a high-interest savings account.
- Regular Savings Account- This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
- Monthly Budget Total: $4459.03
- Monthly Net Income Total: $6802.19
- Total Coupons Used: includes every discount attained during the month = $5.75
- Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1290.40
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: $5875.76
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out Calculated is $6802.19 (total net monthly income) + $363.97 (total monthly savings/overspend)–Projected expenses $1290.40= $5875.76
- Actual Cash Savings Going Into Emergency Savings: $0.00 Calculated is $6802.19 (total monthly net income) – $5875.76 (actual expenses paid out for the month)–$1290.40(projected expenses)= -$363.97
Overall: We had a busy month for expenses for home maintenance and the purchase of a complete home computer system and a new laptop and printer and surround speakers. We also purchased a range hood for $1400 plus tax but only put a $400 deposit on it so in October the remainder will be reflected in our budget. I also finished the landscaping with the purchase of new sod.
What are Projected Expenses? - We project expenses throughout the year so we have the money saved.
PE= A projected expense is money which is automatically saved each month so it is ready when the bill comes in or when you need it as in the example below. We review 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. Sometimes we remove a projected expense as well so it’s very important to keep an eye on your expenses.
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 these expenses 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.
When we spend the money in a projected expense category we move that money to our chequing account in order to pay for that incoming expense. We pay money into the projected expenses account continually throughout the year even when bills come due as it’s revolving so as one bill gets paid the money continues to come in from the other categories all year-long. So the $1290.44 gets paid into the projected expense account every month no matter what. It seems to be easier to track our money this way but you can do what works best for you.
Projected expense example
If for example our clothing category was a projected expense we have a budget of $50 per month for the two of us. If we spend $30 on clothes for the month that means we need to pull $30 from the projected expenses account to pay for this expense or we move only $20 to projected expenses for the month and leave the $30 in your chequing account. It’s up to you how you do it as I mentioned above. I’m hoping to put together a projected expenses spreadsheet to track the expenses all year-long otherwise you need to do that to make sure you don’t overspend what you haven’t saved or will save over the course of the year.
It’s a fairly easy process and becomes a lifestyle change for your finances but the most important part is that the money is available and saved, which means potentially less stress. This means we should have $600.00 per year for clothing to spend. We have to track that expense as we spend it manually but hopefully for our 2014 budget I can incorporate that into our spreadsheet so it tallies the numbers up as we go along. That way we will be able to know exactly what we’ve spent as an ongoing total.
Budget for September 2013
If it is highlighted in blue that means it’s a projected expense. You will see that the budgeted does not include the emergency savings. This is added in last after all expenses.
Actual budget expenses for September 2013
September 2013 goals
- Plant the cranberry tree – PASS
- Roll the back lawn- PASS
- Put in the new sod out front- PASS
- Read more in my personal finance book- BIG FAIL
- Sort out the mortgage- In Progress
- Move my money to Canada- In Progress
- Reach 6250 Facebook Fans- FAIL
- Reach 1950 Twitter Followers- PASS
- Reach 1210 Blog Followers- PASS
- Install garden spotlights- FAIL
- Fix the deck lights- FAIL
- Start to tear main bathroom for renovations- FAIL
- Take a 3 day holiday with the love of my life x- FAIL
October 2013 goals
- Get organized with blog activities
- Learn more about affiliate marketing and blog advertising
- Do more freelance work (HIRE ME)
- Read more in my personal finance book
- Sort out and pay mortgage in full
- Move my money to Canada (watching exchange rate)
- Reach 6250 Facebook Fans
- Reach 2000 Twitter Followers
- Reach 1230 Blog Followers
- Install garden spotlights
- Fix the deck lights
- Start to tear main bathroom for renovations
- Train for 10k run and get my time down
- Take a 3 day holiday with the love of my life x
In case you missed our budget updates from the start of the year I will list them all here each month.
That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of October with a new budget update and who knows maybe some good news.
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