3 Budget Guidelines That Fuel Our Financial Success




If you think setting budget guidelines are financial over-kill than let me tell you how good debt freedom feelsdamn good. You can do this too! The idea is to start somewhere small to get to where you want to go that’s far bigger than you have ever imagined. It may not happen as fast as it did for us, but you’ll get there.

So go ahead laugh or say you don’t need to push the limits with your budget because I will shout from the highest mountains (right now that’s the snow pile at the end of our drive) that you get out of budgeting what you put in, full-stop.

Creating a budget should be the least of your worries when it comes to budgeting because most people don’t even get past the first stages, “thinking about budgeting” As soon as the new year hits this blog gets power-housed from readers all over the world looking for budget tips. That’s refreshing to see but I’d like to see this happen not just in January and February, but all year-long.

There are so many free budgets online including our Canadian Budget Binder budget spreadsheet where someone has already done the hard work for you. That is the easy part. What you need to do as owner of a budget that you choose to use is follow simple budget guidelines to help motivate you to see the short and long-term effects of tracking your money.

You might be that person that is more than happy to see money in their checking account and that’s all you need. Although this may sound a bit crazy to a budget nerd like myself many people DO live by the you’re richer than you think ideal of having money in the bank.

That’s not enough I’m afraid to say that you are taking charge of your money situation however for those of you who pat yourselves on the back it’s a stepping stone. We all have to start somewhere and for Mrs. CBB and I when we started to budget we were the people described above. The balance in our chequing account was great a savings portion was a bonus.

After the first year using our budget we realized there were things we weren’t doing such as planning for future expenses and allowing budget category breakdown for a better idea of where our money was going. So, for example we put all of our groceries and household type expenses under groceries. Some of you may still do that but for us it wasn’t enough. We wanted to see what portion of our income was going to put food in our mouths.

This is where change happens to your budget based on your financial goals.



Creating personal budget guidelines


Budget guidelines whether you tap into what I share with you today from our personal experience or you create your own are another crucial element to budgeting success. I wish I could tell you that living on a budget was a breeze but I won’t lie to you, it’s not. Budgets take work but consider this type of work one of a successful business. If you want your success you must breathe it and eat it from start to finish. That means, 8ft deep.

Money will always be a battle whether you are retired or working, rich or poor.

At first you may feel that you’re being punished because you believe that if you had more money or were richer that you wouldn’t have to live like a slave to your budget. This is becoming more worrisome to Canadians with the increase in minimum wage, cost of living and debt load carried. We all got high on the news of a minimum wage increase for 2018-2019 and shot down with cut-backs and increases. This won’t end.

Let’s not forget the workers who have spent years with an employer who are now making just as much or close to what someone new makes walking through the door earning minimum wage. I’m pretty sure most of you in this position have not seen or heard of a raise to balance out the minimum wage increase with your years of service.

You might not even want your friends or family to know that you use a budget for fear they may think you are struggling financially. All of these fears WILL lead you to budget failure so one of the most important things you can do when budget surfing online for information on how to budget is to stay motivated. Part of your budget guidelines should be that no one will ever make you feel as if YOUR MONEY is not enough.


Fear of financial failure


When we started on our budgeting journey we had a fear of financial failure because of the stages of life we were going through. Selling everything I owned to move to Canada and literally starting a new life and Mrs. CBB going back to school we certainly got a financial wake-up call.

It was then after we married where talks about our financial future really became in-depth. Since we were renting we talked about saving for a down-payment on a house, life insurance, retirement savings and most of all reaching our goal of debt freedom before we were 40.

Why 40? It started mostly as a joke between the both of us since we were known as the frugal couple in our family. I’m pretty sure it started when Mrs. CBB was laughed at for buying second-hand clothing just to save money. Her response was something like, “Well, when I’m 40 and retired you’ll wish you did the same”.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to buy used to become debt-free. It certainly does help by setting budget guidelines to understand your journey from a deeper perspective. In the heat of the moment it sounded like a pretty good come-back to make them think about themselves and not what other do with their money.

Sometimes people put more emphasis on a grocery budget than they do clothing because eating is important for survival. There is no wrong or right when it is part of YOUR personal budget. This is YOUR journey, not mine so the idea is to save in one area to get what you want in another.

Saving money by purchasing second-hand or shopping in-store clothing deals helps build up the reserve used for food. Not everyone has food on the brain or cares about it as much as we might so their growth importance may be with another category.

We can always improve something even if we believe we can’t. This is a mindset we’ve adopted over the years. It has become more of a budget balancing act than anything BUT we’re paying ourselves first and that’s what’s important to us.


The idea is to save in one area to get what you want in another.


Think about those of you who wonder how on earth you are going to save money when you are broke. You must consider cutting back on something for gain. It’s as simple as that or you earn more money.


Generating YOUR Budget Guidelines


At the beginning of each year Mrs.CBB and I talk about how our budget worked for us over the past 12 months. As you might have learned budgeting has two elements, success and failure. There is no in-between, just lessons learned.

Moving forward we both look at our budget failures and our budget successes to build budgeting guidelines for the new year. These are personal budget guidelines that you should excitedly create yourself based on your financial goals. Be happy that you are taking steps rather than moaning about failures. This should be a time to celebrate your money.

There are though a few simple budget guidelines that I feel should be standard and on everyone’s must-follow list.

  1. Commitment
  2. Monthly Review and Repair
  3. Motivation

Your budget guidelines don’t need to be the same as ours however we wanted to share with you how 3 simple budget guidelines that get us over our financial hurdle. I can promise you that budgeting will never be smooth sailing because money surprises will pop up all year-long. I urge you to be prepared in any way, shape or form if even to consider a projected expenses account like we use.

If you’ve ever wanted a bit of piece of mind think-projected expenses or reserves for future expenses.


We all want financial success


Nobody I know of (but I’m sure exists) doesn’t think about money on a daily basis. It’s hard not to when everything we touch these days comes with a price-tag. Your idea of financial success may mean keeping your debt at zero or building savings in the bank.

Others of you might want to become millionaires but what’s important to remember is that the financial success you create is based on input, output and part luck. You know the saying goes, “It’s all about who you know” that gets you further up the ladder. This might mean networking, calling a friend or talking to strangers about their personal situations. Either way the road to success is always led by YOU. Take one step forward, two steps back and then run like hell.

Start, Fail, RUN and don’t stop until your goals are met to a degree that you accept and are proud of.

I believe in this wholeheartedly because almost every opportunity I’ve been given has come from output and luck. I’m not one to back down from my goals so I go above and belong sometimes pushing the boundaries I set out for myself. This is what you need to do even if your financial success for the year is to save $20 a month in a TFSA, paying off bills once and for all and not incurring any debt.


Budget Guidelines for Life


How does one do all of this? Well, if you’re using a budget you obviously want to become one with your money and understand it like you do yourself. This means we constantly are learning something new.

This is where our budgeting guidelines come in to play.

  1. Commitment

Whether you are single or not it is so important when using a budget to treat it like you are in a relationship with it. Don’t become obsessive about your budget just love the debt right out of it and water your savings to watch them grow.

This became one of those standard budget guidelines that made sense to us. A budget has to be nurtured, loved and cared for daily. I know that sounds a bit wacky but people who are mindful of their money and think about how each day they are going to save more or make more are further ahead then someone who simply watches their bank account for progress.

For us a commitment meant using our budget and communicating with each other about money and doing whatever we can to SAVE BIG to live our comfortable life.

  1. Review and Repair

This budget guideline started as way to hold us both accountable to our monthly budget. We knew that we had to sit down together at the end of every month and review our expenses. It was and still is critical now that we are debt free to find leaks in our budget.

With prices on the rise in Canada we may find there are budget categories that we need to discuss. Just recently we made a change to our grocery budget for 2018 increasing it by $35 to offset the increased costs of our toddler eating more and pricing increases.

  1. Motivation

I’d have to say is the hardest part if one partner is not that into saving money but is doing it for the sake of the relationship or peace of mind. For those of you starting out with a budget whether you have debt or not like we did it was important that we encourage our success along.

There were times I’d come home and Mrs. CBB would ask me if I had a receipt for groceries and I’d say, I lost it or forgot it and I was put in the naughty corner. (that’s an inside What’s For Dinner Joke on my Facebook page).

Each time Mrs. CBB would explain to me the importance to our budget success so I would set an alarm in my head to get a receipt and read it over BEFORE I left the store. One thing that irritates us the most is getting home only to find mistakes on our bill. We’ve since take a moment before leaving and sit or stand in a corner to review our receipt every time.

I reciprocate with humour and making sure I do the same when needed for her. She might want to spend money on something that she could do without out and I pull her out of that consumer conditioning dreamland to chat about it.

It doesn’t matter HOW awesome you think you are at saving money, building a nest egg or using a budget we all make mistakes or decisions that we regret with money. Learn from those mistakes and move forward. The last thing you want to do is dwell so much on your mistakes and financial situation that you waste more time complaining then you do repairing.

Setting your personal budget guidelines should not become just another boring task because there’s nothing more exciting than experiencing the freedom of debt free forever. Make creating your budget guidelines a priority and get excited about trashing debt and getting YOUR rich on!!

Discussion Question: What are some budget guidelines you’ve set out for yourself or as a couple or if you haven’t name something that you consider important to your budget success?

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Mr. CBB who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, moved to Canada where he is now a permanent resident. He is also a father to a very active 3 year old boy which keeps him young at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 in the UK after graduating University and his second at age 24. Mrs. CBB bought her first house at the age of 30. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are 40-ish year-old finance lovers who accomplished debt freedom before the age of 40. Canadian Budget Binder is a fun, family-friendly place where he shares their financial journey with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. No silver-spoon just hard work and perseverance. Welcome to Canadian Budget Binder! You've got this!


  1. I’ve always thought about the budget as me versus it. But I do like your approach better to consider it with “love” and to work with it as life ebbs and flows.


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