TAKE THE STRESS AWAY FROM ONE-TIME EXPENSES THE EASY WAY
Over the years I’ve had many fans email asking me how to budget for one-time expenses when using a budget. This is no surprise as we’ve made our fair share of mistakes during our newbie years of budgeting.
Let me explain.
If you’ve never used a financial budget before for your expenses and are contemplating ringing in the new year with a fresh look on money, you’ve come to the right place. You won’t find any hard-to-understand information here as I tend to keep it simple.
The key to budgeting is to start slow and to remember that your first go at budgeting might need tweaking. You may find that using budget jars works for you or stashing money in envelopes for the month. Some readers would not dare keep cash at home for fear of dipping into the jar here and there.
Everyone IS different the way they handle their money. What’s important to remember here is that it really doesn’t matter what budgeting platform you choose as long as it’s working for you and not against you.
How do you know if you’ve found the right or wrong budget?
Well, if you find that you aren’t interested in budgeting after the first month you possibly have a budget that isn’t inspiring enough. You might want to see numbers, lots of numbers because this is your money motivation. Others might dwell on information overload and be using a budget that is overwhelming causing them to fail at using it.
One-time expenses are future projections
One-time expenses: What are they and why do you need to budget for them?
There are many reasons a budget might fail but right up in the top 5 is the dreaded, one-time expenses. When I started writing our simple budgeting series for readers of this blog I included a step titled, “How we designed our budget-Projected Expenses” which I thought was self-explanatory.
This is the part whee I learned that just because I know something someone else might not.
Sometimes what you find easy someone else might not understand this is why I’ve chosen to eliminate the financial barrier. Money jargon is the worst when finance is NOT your favourite topic. Most of you want everything laid out in the easiest way so you can get the job done right. Fair enough, and I don’t blame you.
Failure rates using a budget are high mainly because of lack of understanding how to create a budget and how to use a budget. Don’t let that stop you from managing your money because it’s not as difficult as it may seem.
Understanding financial jargon
When a fan writes me asking for help with their one-time expenses I typically direct them to my projected expenses post. It is then after reading the post that they email me back to say thanks. (insert CBB smile) Sometime I wondered what the big deal was? Why are they even asking me when the information is right there in my budgeting series?
Well, for one they likely haven’t read my 10 step budgeting series because if they had their questions about one-time expenses may have been answered. The other reason that came to mind is that people don’t know what in the world projected expenses are so they skip the topic or think it’s not relevant to them.
Compare fancy finance terms to reading the fine print on a contract or document you’re signing. It’s nice to read but who the hell reads everything from top to bottom. YOU might but not everyone will because it may be boring or they simply put trust in the mumbo-jumbo print that might come back to bite them in the ass one day.
This is what one-time expenses are like – a pain in the backside if you don’t invest time into planning for payment ahead of time. In light of that I’ve chosen to break down what projected expenses are right here but using the term. ‘One-time expenses” which I believe might resonate better with my readers who are just starting out with a budget.
I won’t get into the entire topic of projected expenses because you can read all about them in my post. You’ll be happy to read that it’s not as mumbo-jumbo or boring as you thought. In fact, we find this part of budgeting to be the most interactive because we have to think about what one-time expenses we will have come up over the course of the year.
Just knowing that you are tackling what I like to call the dark side of budgeting will make you feel far more confident had you not put any effort into it all. Waiting for that one-time expenses to show up as a bill payment to consider where you will get the money from is a bad, bad way to approach one-time expenses.
The minute you start taking from Paul to pay Mary you compromise your savings accounts and the goals you have set for them. Our projected expenses bank account is ONLY for projected expenses. It is not our savings account for “fun stuff” it is not our emergency savings account either.
One set-back many budget users may have is seeing money build in their bank accounts and getting too comfortable with that money. They use it like it is a life-preservers when in fact all of your money should have a purpose. If you look at it as if it is one big lump of money, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
In fact, for many of you who struggle with keeping money where is should be pretending it’s not there is the better option. As soon as you start to budget for your one-time expenses (projected expenses) consider that money, long gone.
Unless you make a major life change such as moving to a new country, new job, new home, baby, adoption, divorce or new relationship that money is meant to have a purpose and one purpose, to pay one-time expenses.
One-time expenses example: Foolproof Savings Tips 1, 2, 3
We recently bought a brand new truck which is far larger than our old truck and car which we no longer have on the road. When we would budget our one-time expenses for yearly Krown under-spray for winter vehicle maintenance we would put aside every month x amount of dollars so we had the money in our one-time expenses bank account to pay for it.
The problem we ran into just yesterday in fact was that the one-time expenses that we were saving for was not enough. Since we changed vehicles almost near the end of the year and the cost to service a bigger truck costs more money, we were short money.
What happens now is that we have to take extra money from our one-time expenses account (projected savings) to pay for this and replace it somehow so other upcoming one-time expenses are paid in full. This might mean you need to take an allowance cut for a month or two or find ways to make a bit of extra money. You see one small variation even in pricing can throw your one-time expenses account into jeopardy. This is where a little side-hobby or income comes in handy.
Again, this is why it is crucial to review your budget every month. If there are any changes that need to be made consider doing them at that time or at least once or twice a year depending on your money situation. We typically do a budget categories over-haul at the end of the year once we have all of our monthly numbers tallied up.
Why only once a year? We aren’t terribly worried since we are debt-free but for those of you who are not a little can make a huge difference. Now that we know how much money our new truck will cost us each year we can take that amount and divide it by 12 and start saving that money in our one-time expenses bank account.
If you want to be even more precise which we try to do is narrow down the exact month you will need the money for your one-time expenses and do the math accordingly.
For example: Our Truck for 2018 will cost $145 to get winter-care from Krown which we always do in December just before it snows. That means we’d like to have the money ready by November just in case we do it a bit earlier and since December is the last month of the year.
$146/11= $13.27 or $13.30 a month. Come the end of November we will have saved enough money for our truck to be serviced in our one-time expenses account.
What happens if they raise the price of goods or services you are projecting? Good question and it will happen. This would be where your emergency savings could come in. If a price change is above and beyond what you were saving for each month you’ve now got a budget emergency you need to handle. Moving forward you will see why emergency savings are crucial to be used only for emergencies.
If you notice a price change on your one-time expenses mid-way through saving for them or right after you start saving ideally you will want to adjust your savings number in accordance. This seems like a bit more brain work but trust me you won’t regret it.
Remember- On CBB Projected Expenses also means One-time expenses
- Write down all of your one-time expenses and potential due dates
- Take the amount you will owe and divide it by 12 for the year or the exact month it will be due
- Open a one-time savings account at your bank and transfer that amount every month. If you have multiple one-time expenses in your budget add them up and transfer that amount. You will see this number on our free budget download sheet as it tallies up your one-time expenses number for you.
You will never know every.single. projected expense off the hop but give budgeting a chance and you’ll start to grow your one-time expenses list as you go along. Budgeting is a process and one that must be taken seriously and with some patience. If you set your expectations too high may not get out of budgeting what you desire.
Keep budgeting simple and don’t forget to save for one-time expenses that can throw you off-balance month after month. Make 2018 the year YOU take control of those one-time expenses and then report back to me once you start paying them and tell me how good it feels knowing the money was ready in a special bank account.
Discussion: Do you get overwhelmed reading budgeting information? What are your top questions about budgets? Leave me your questions below in the comment section and I’ll reply.
Where our money went in November
As I transitioned into my new career there were a few set-backs which meant I needed to take some time away to deal with personal issues in the family. These of course were unpaid however the purpose was more important than the money to us. Moving forward we will see my income stabilize as I’m back to work and earning money again.
Soon we will see our dental benefits kick in which means we’ll also have higher dental charges for 2018. I now have one time coverage of $2000 for braces and Mrs. CBB may be getting invisible braces. Starting a new job comes with budget changes as I pointed out in today’s blog post. No budget will ever be perfect but it can be re-worked.
With that being said I have lots of catching up to do at work which means I’ve been super busy. Trying to balance my time between family, friends and blog has been tough. I know everyone understands. Life can get crazy at times and it may seem like there is no break (at least for me) from the chaos but we must never give up.
How was your month?
Pick a Free budget that’s right for you
I’m currently offering 2 versions of our budget and the reason behind it is simple. Firstly, read the CBB blog 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 you asked me for in your emails. (See I do listen and read your comments and emails)
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.
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 but, 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.
Get Our Free 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 where 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.
Test the budget for a few months and see how it goes. Trial and error, remember that.
Our family budget plan
How we budget our monthly expenses?
CBB fans want to know what we do in order to save so much money and the reply I give is simple>> It’s not about the money it’s about the process involved.
We are both money managers of our finances and with our relationship compatibility we have been able to get to where we are in 2017, debt free.
It doesn’t matter if you are using a cash only budget or you use your debit and credit cards, if your budget doesn’t balance you have budget issues you should check it pronto.
Learning how to be your own money manager is important because no one else will care about your money more than YOU!.
We don’t always save as much money as we would like every month but most importantly we are not going into debt but only because we are budgeting our money. In fact we are currently debt-free including the mortgage which means all we pay for is our monthly bills and expenses.
One of the most important things we did for our personal finances was that we never let the budget deter us from reaching our goals.
Sure we’ve had crap months but we’ve made up for it or we learned from our mistakes just like we should. Budget failure only occurs when you give up on your budget which should not happen as long as you truly want to reach your goals.
We didn’t always earn the income we do today but made do with what we were earning so we didn’t go into debt. That my friends is “living below your means”. The only science to becoming rich!
Sometimes fans email and ask me if living on a budget in Canada is any different from living and budgeting 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 spreadsheet to meet all of my needs however the budget needs to be reviewed monthly.
Below are links to the budgeting series which I wrote while designing our excel budget spreadsheet which will give you an idea just how we designed our budget.
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 or numbers nerd.
Learn how to budget with Mr.CBB
Our Simple Budgeting Series
Do you want to learn to budget like we do?
We explain everything we do and more in this mini-series below all about budgeting.
Please take the time to read through our budgeting series plus read Budgeting in the New Year. I hope the information will help stop you from making common budgeting mistakes that I hear of often and that you take something away from the information and apply it to your financial situation.
If you have any questions about what we do with our budget money tracker feel free to email me.
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 1– Gathering All the information
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 2– Budget 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
Budget percentages November 2017
Our savings of 24.19% only includes the investments for this month based on the income of $5131.92. Even though we put money away for the projected expenses we were still over budget. The other categories were fairly normal but the lack of income hit us this month.All of the categories took 140.57% of our income.
Budget percentages month by month
Breaking down expenses
This is simply a breakdown of our expenses which has helped us to understand where all of our money goes. Since May 2014 we have been mortgage free so much of our money will be directed at savings, investments and renovations.
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 our situations are all unique.
Although I encourage your comments and love to hear what you have to say about our budget categories and expenses please don’t tell us to donate our money to charities because we have too much or are fortunate. We are hardly out of the clear with finances for the rest of our lives and have worked and sacrificed to get where we are. We do plan to enjoy the money we’ve saved now since we haven’t over the years with our son.
What we do with our ‘extra cash’ is our business and although we do donate to a charity we won’t be putting it on display for the world to see as it defeats the purpose in my eyes. It is part of the budget as you see it. I hope that clears that up for those of you who had concerns about our extra money.
Just 10 years ago I started working in Canada making a bit over minimum wage and have since moved up the ladder. I’m now working very hard to secure my dream job with one foot in the door. We aren’t all lucky but if you do the best you can at least you can look back and say you gave it a shot.
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 Budgeted Total: $5187.39
- Monthly Net Income Total: $5,131.92
- (Check out our Ultimate Grocery Guide to see where our grocery money goes)
- Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1917.68
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: $5269.31
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $5,131.92 (total net monthly income) – $1,917.68 (projected expenses) + $2082.07 (spent too much) = $5,296.31
- Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $5,131.92 (total monthly net income) – $5,296.31 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1917.68 (projected expenses) = –$2082.07
How to save for future expenses
What are Projected Expenses? – We project expenses throughout the year so we have the money saved. PE= A projected expense is money 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. So this means the numbers go up and down in the projected expenses account based on what we need to pay for that we saved for in the account over time.
The only thing you need to do is track your projected expenses each month manually as I can’t customize that for you in the excel budget spreadsheet as I don’t know what you will use for projected expenses.
For now we will have to manually track which means month after month we add up what we save in each projected expense category and minus what we spend so we know how much we have and what is left in each category. I have updated our personal excel budget spreadsheet for 2017.
We pay money into the projected expenses account continually throughout the year even when bills come due as its revolving so as one bill gets paid the money continues to come in from the other categories all year-long. This ensures that money is always available. It may not always be enough but having something ready is better than having nothing at all and having to use credit.
So the $1967.68 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.
Example Projected Expense
If our clothing category was a projected expense we would 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. My plan is to create a projected expenses spreadsheet to track the expenses all year-long otherwise you need to do it manually which we currently do in order to make sure we don’t overspend what we haven’t saved or will save over the course of the year.
It’s a fairly easy process essentially becoming 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 when I find some time I can incorporate that into our budget 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.
Time for the juicy category numbers and to see how we made out with our monthly budget. Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of November 2017. This budget represents 2 adults and a toddler plus our investments.
Budget colour chart
If highlighted in blue that means it is a projected expense. You will also see our budget does not include the emergency savings as it’s factored in at the end.
Budget for November 2017
Actual budget expenses for November 2017
December 2017 Goals
- Remove ceiling fan in our sons room that I smashed with the bunk bed and replace it
- Finish insulating the basement- Almost done!!! Then the drywall is next.
- Fix the screw holes in our sons bedroom wall- This still needs to get done
- Get rid of more stuff in the house either donate it or sell it- This is still in progress and lots has been done.
- Sell our second vehicle after I repair a few bits- I just got my free part and need to install it.
- Finish painting a lovely wood cabinet I picked up free from Kijiji- We have no room for this right now. I still need to add one more coat and it will be finished. It’s in our garage at the moment.
- Finish Christmas Shopping and wrapping gifts
- Make one Christmas recipe to bring home that is low-carb and sugar-free
Budget updates month by month
In case you missed our budget updates and want to do a quick search I’ve compiled them all on one handy page: monthly budgets. For the 2017 Year I will also keep track of each month below and update the monthly budgets page.
- January 2017
- February 2017
- March 2017
- April 2017
- May 2017
- June July August 2017
- September 2017
- October 2017
That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of December 2017 to see how we made out with our November 2017 budget.
Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!
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