PF Weekly grab a brew #45: Butt out that smoke with kids in the car


Kids don’t always have a voice when it comes to people smoking around them so we must be their voice and butt out.

No one likes second-hand smoke and I understand that more than ever since I am now officially a non-smoker.

Saving money in the budget is only one perk to butting out or smoking less for those who are working on kicking the habit.

The most important perk is that it is saving your health from potential self-inflicting problems which many can avoid simply by giving up this habit.

On Thursday the government of Alberta introduced a law Bill 33 of The Tobacco Reduction Amendment Act that if you have anyone under the age of 18 in your vehicle you are no longer able to smoke in the vehicle with them present.

There may be a health savings aspect to this new proposed law but it also might save you some money in the budget if you aren’t smoking as much as you used or were allowed to.

Growing up my parents did not smoke so I did not have to worry about them smoking in the vehicle when we went out together as a family. My wife on the other hand had both parents who smoked and they smoked in the vehicle whenever they were in it and in the house when they were young.

Smoking in Canada is just as big of a problem as it is in the UK or any other place around the world. It’s not uncommon to see someone throw their finished cigarette butt on the ground and to be honest I was shocked when I moved to Canada from the UK and noticed that many smokers butt out on the ground.

When I did smoke I don’t ever remember throwing cigarette butts on the ground but I’m sure there are people who simply don’t give a toss and do it anyways. I’ve always made sure the cigarette was butted out completely and disposed of appropriately.

Quitting smoking is hard enough to do and I know because I’m coming up two years smoke-free and proud of it. We never did smoke inside the house but even if we did there was no one else besides us in the house as we don’t have any kids. The sad part is what smoking does to your house, furniture and clothing and that itself will cost you a bundle to clean if at all.

Back in the day Mrs.CBB says it was not uncommon to be in the grocery store and to see people smoke while they did their grocery shopping, including her parents. That is no longer permitted as times have changed as have the alerts by Health Canada on packages of Canadian cigarettes with warnings of the effects of smoking on your health. I was always very cautious smoking around non-smokers and children and made sure I was well away because it was the proper thing to do as it wasn’t their habit, it was mine.


Butt out Canada


Trying to eliminate all of the ways or places a smoker can smoke can get frustrating for the addicted smoker (I know I’ve been there before) but sometimes things happen for a reason.

Imagine for just one moment if you smoke in your car with the kids, in the grocery store, in the mall and so on how many more smokes you would smoke and how much more it would cost you? Let’s not forget about the added risk of cancers caused by smoking and other potentially fatal conditions.

It was for those reasons alone that we made the decision to butt out. It’s also something that only you can do on your own and no one, not even the government can force you to do unless cigarettes become illegal. Even then the addicted would find a way just as they do with marijuana and other illegal drugs.

Little by little the government and consumer establishments have removed the ability to smoke in public places and now the government of Alberta is saying no more smoking with children in the car under 18.

At first when I read that I thought, oh no here we go again but I don’t think it’s a bad move on the governments part. Another good part aside from the Health benefits of quitting smoking you might also find that your life insurance premiums are lower.

If you are a smoker and spend time in your vehicle with children present chances are you won’t be smoking nor will you be smoking more than you normally do. Then again in most places there is a ban on using your cell phone and driving but all you need to do is look around when you are driving and you will see many people don’t really care about having a minute to live. Cell phone usage while driving continues to be a huge problem even though it is against the law.

You will also save money on smokes considering you aren’t buying them as often if you cut back from smoking in areas that you normally would smoke more in like inside the home or the vehicle. I struggle to even imagine someone inside their car lighting up a smoke when there is a new-born baby or toddler in the vehicle.

Eventually if you find you don’t really need smokes any more you will turn back and say, “wow where did all the time go?” and decide to give it up completely. Wishful thinking, maybe but it’s worth a shot if you can make it to that stage.

We quit smoking pretty much cold turkey with the help of a few sticks of Nicorette gum and motivation but we got it done. We can easily recall smoking and how it affected our lives and how it has given us back hope that there might be a future for us.

If we had kids there is no way we would be smoking inside the vehicle at any time because it really is a bad habit although you don’t see it as much when you are still smoking. It’s not until after the fact will you understand the overall picture and cost to your health and budget and wonder what took you so long to give it up.

I know that smoking in a room filled with adults is hard enough for non-smokers to tolerate imagine what the kids must feel like when they don’t have a voice that is heard. I think this is a smart move on the part of the government and who knows it may motivate those who smoke to butt out or those who want to smoke forget about lighting up altogether.


Do you think that you should be able to smoke in your own vehicle even if there are kids present?

How well do you think this law will be enforced?


Top recipe


coffee brownie

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called The Hungarian Food Guide who shared a new recipe called a Coffee Brownie and if you know me you know that I love every kind of brownie around.


Weekly reads


Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #45 so happy saving and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.



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The Saturday Weekend Review #41: Would you buy a house that has a spooky or illegal past?


Behind Closed Doors Lurks A Story You Might Want To Know

You are looking for your dream home when you suddenly find it but then you also find out there is more to the home than meets the eye.

Getting my daily dish of Yahoo this morning I was reading about whether Satanists decrease the value of a home.

The article had me thinking about what other things might decrease the value of a home that was out of the ordinary and would I put an offer on a home of that calibre.

I don’t suspect the property assessment with the Multiple Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) would be affected as they value the homes that are comparable in the neighbourhood so we might not see any value decrease reflection documented when the paperwork arrives.

Then again, what do I know?

Whether it was a grow op house for sale, illegal activities, someone may have died or even worse was murdered inside of a house would you put an offer in on a house you fall in love with knowing this information?

There was a time last year where a beautiful home sitting on a large property in our city was busted as a marijuana grow op in a relatively quiet neighbourhood that stunned the residents.

Although many did say they could smell the scent of marijuana which is hard to miss they never quite thought that something so illegal was happening right under their noses.

For the longest time the house had yellow tape around it and it was boarded up which I imagine the police did as they conducted their investigation.

Through the grapevine we heard there was quite a bit of damage to the interior walls of the home as well as general damage from the amount of moisture in the air especially since the house was closed up all of the time.

When the house was put on the market the MLS pictures showed that they had cleaned up the house and also managed to call in a home staging company to make it look pretty for the open houses and potential buyers.


Real Estate agent requirements


If something happened in every home including natural death and it had to be disclosed would that really hurt the real estate agent salary if homes were then valued less? I don’t know.

If a death happened, well I don’t think that’s a big deal as it’s a natural part of life and people die at home all the time.

If it were me, I’d rather not know that old man Johnny had his final moments on the living room floor before peacefully leaving this earth. That to me is disturbing the peace, let it go.

I have talked to some agents and it’s clear as day that lining their pocket is more important than anything else.

I think there is a fine line when it comes to a code of ethics and many will teeter on that line and push the envelope as far as they can go unless they are of the type that believes what goes around, comes around but in a positive light.

I’d be interested in getting some feedback from agents to hear what they have to say on this topic and how they handle it or are supposed to handle it.

I’m not sure if home sellers or real estate agents have to disclose that the home was a grow op but I’m guessing that is the case to some degree from an article I read in the Toronto Star written by Real Estate lawyer Mark Weisleder who says,

In Ontario, real estate agents must disclose any material fact that they are aware of under the rules of their Code of Ethics. In my opinion this includes whether a murder or suicide had occurred on the property and could also include certain neighbourhood conditions.

I can see why it would be important that the homeowner know as well the home inspector so he/she has a sense of how the house has been taken care although any good home inspector will just find the defects without any prior history because that is what they should be trained to do, although that is not always the case.

To be honest I can’t see that a grow op would deter many people as long as they know what the damage was and whether it was repaired to the highest standards before moving in or at least securing a sale with a price that reflects the repairs needed to be done.

I don’t think a grow op would be as bad as a murder scene or suicide or even worse captivity which has been exposed and we hear about on the news from time to time that shocks the world.

I agree that the house should just be torn down and rebuilt. No one would want to move into a home like that, but are all these situations reported? Probably not.

The grow op house did sell eventually for a relatively decent price we thought, keeping in mind that the home still needed lots of work doing on it but the asking price reflected the renovations that the new owner would need to do.

If the home has a spooky past I don’t know if I could put an offer in although for some people it might not bother them as much. Saying that, be cautious just because you don’t mind if you plan to sell the next potential buyers might have a BIG problem with it especially if they can Google the information on the internet.

These days you can find just about anything, heck I can still find the listing to my UK house from when I was selling it and the next owner.

Sometimes things linger on the internet for years and years so do your homework because you might find the home for you but the home might come with a story you want to know about, or at least should know.

Would I buy a house that was a grow op? I don’t know to be honest, it really depends on the house structure and damage if any to the home, which is likely.

If the story about the home was headlining news and we know exactly what went down inside of that house through such media coverage and then the house was later on the market up for sale I might be hesitant.

If after having knowledge of what happened in a home I might not be that comfortable to live in it but it really depends on the situation.

It’s different if someone just passes away in their sleep or from complications I don’t think that would bother me as it happens all the time. What I think bothers me is when it becomes a crime scene where death or something way over the top occurred.


Home value


I believe the home’s value will decrease in price because people will know what happened and you may discourage potential buyers simply for their own personal reasons. Some people get spooked out thinking that ghosts will haunt their new home because of bad dealings in the home or consequently don’t want the dark vibes surrounding them.

There will always be a darkness in a home that was surrounded with evil in the sense of wrong-doing because life lingers on especially if it wasn’t meant to leave at that time.

That’s what I believe and maybe it’s far out there but that’s enough to spook me out of being a potential buyer.

There are so many stories on the internet and even a TV show if I can recall about ghost sightings and evil spirits lurking in homes with weird things happening during the wee hours of the night that prompt homeowners to seek professional help. Once you start reading and seeing TV shows like that it’s enough to say, nope I have no interest in homes like that.

At some point the home will go up for sale and when it does potential home buyers who don’t really care so much about the history will only care about that reduced price on the home simply because of that history.

Someone might score a bargain of a deal just like the buyers of the grow op marijuana house did in our area which was later put on the market less than a year later.

The house sold with-in 2 weeks this time as it was fully renovated and landscaped. There was no trace of the home being a grow op as we took a tour during an open house (yes we are nosey neighbours).

Would you buy a home if you know a homes dark past?

What if the home was reported to be haunted by ghosts, would you buy it or believe it?

Should a home price drop in value if illegal activity occurred in the home?

Should the real estate agent and/or homeowner disclose any information about the home or homes surrounding the home?


Canadian Budget Binder this week


If you missed any Canadian Budget Binder posts this week you can catch up by clicking any of the links below. Something is always brewing at CBB so subscribe to the blog today and get my daily post sent to your inbox!

Exciting news for Canadian Budget Binder as we make our way into the news again this week in The Toronto Star online and in print. Katrina my Canadian Budget Binder contributor gives a lovely interview with the Toronto Star about grocery shopping, budgets and the Thanksgiving holiday. Please do enjoy this one. “In Budget Plans Every Dollar Counts Rent it Instead: Do you really need to see the movie on the big screen? If the answer is yes pack your snacks.The combo amount amount to a small grocery load.”


Making a difference



Hi, my name is Bridget and I founded Money After Graduation to chronicle my own journey from negative net worth to relative riches. After graduating with over $20,000 in debt from my Bachelor’s degree, I was financially maxed out with no financial assets.

Thanks to the help of the online personal finance community and some serious budgeting efforts, I was debt-free within two years, had five-figures saved for retirement, and had started taking on investing in the stock market. I fell in love with money management, and thankfully it loved me back!

My primary goal with Money After Graduation is both to share my own story, and help others on their journey.

Debt, particularly student loans, is an all too common burden on twenty-something shoulders, and unfortunately holds a lot of people back from living the life they want.

I frequently hear my peers question how they will ever afford to buy a home or raise a family when they’re living paycheque to paycheque.

For many, money is a total mystery: they know how to use it to buy stuff, but they don’t know how to make it work for them. Often it is very simple changes to habits and clear goal setting that can completely turn someone’s financial situation around.

Money After Graduation provides information to readers about budgeting, saving, and investing, and encourages shedding your debt and building the foundation of your financial future early in your adult life. My hope is that I can help readers set off on the right financial foot and life happy, wealthy lives!


 Blog post sharing


I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website.

Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.

A big thanks to these blogs for thinking of CBB even though I haven’t been around much this past month. Cheers!


What is a blog carnival?


Some fans have asked me just what a blog carnival is so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans. A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web.

Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed. If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals


Carnival glory



Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favourite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • Do most guys not cook?- I don’t know it’s hard to say, I love to cook
  • Banks for sale in Canada- Why do you want to buy one?
  • Paid my debt to you- Funny, I haven’t received a thing :-)
  • Alcohol jackpot- Now there’s a jackpot I’d be proud to announce
  • Teen couple making baby- Nope not going to find any lovemaking on CBB
  • Money isn’t everything- That is so very true

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #41: Would you buy a house that has a spooky or illegal past?

Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into. Have a great week everyone.



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September 2013 net worth update: (+0.72%) Believe and see victory in numbers


Your Net Worth Is Seen Through Your Eyes So Open Them Wide

I love reading about how other people grow their net worth because it’s motivating for me to see that if someone else can do it, so can I.

I believe that having a positive attitude about money is a way to get from the bottom to where you want to go, after all we all started down there.

Just the other day I finally included our Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet to my Free Money Saving Tools which only took me 2 years to put together.

I have had many people test out our budget for me because I wanted it to reflect our values as a couple in terms of finance but also to include elements that others might enjoy.

Without our budget I can safely say that our net worth wouldn’t be where it is today although we have a long way to go in order to reach our personal finance goals.

This past month our budget has taken a hit with all the spending we have been doing around the house mainly.

Finishing the landscaping and purchasing 2 new computer systems cost us big time but we were willing to take the hit to our net worth for these pleasures.

We save each month for projected expenses like the landscaping but when items such as a new computer systems pop up it can leave a gash in your numbers that you will have to accept and move forward. We will do that and it won’t be the last time.

The good news is the exchange rate on the British pound has gone up to 1.67 and seems to be hovering around that mark for the time being.

I’m happy that I have my money in a liquid state in my UK bank account but now I have to make the move and the right move at the right time. I know you are shaking your head and like investing the bloody exchange rate is enough to make you want to scream.

I can literally lose thousands if I wait and the rate goes down or I can stand to make thousands if I wait and the exchange rate goes up.

It’s one of those situations where we might have to bite the bullet, move it over and be done with it. When I started my journey in Canada the exchange rate was around $2.30 or maybe a bit more which is depressing so I try not to think about it but I don’t want to make the same mistakes and lose even more money. It’s a decision-making process that we need to make and move on.

I am anticipating more home improvements in the upcoming October, November and December months as 2013 has seen us spend plenty more money than anticipated on improvements around the house but at least they are getting done.

The great news is a house on our street that is comparable yet smaller is selling for $349,000 with no renovations or upgrades which means we can easily get our $100,000 over the original price of what we paid for our home at $265,000 just over 4 years ago if we sold today in its current state.

I know I keep our house at $329,000 in our net worth chart but in reality it’s higher. I did that to play it safe just in case prices did go down but it’s been a year and so far house prices have been doing very well so I may adjust the housing figure come 2014.

I will also have to adjust our vehicles as they would have gone down in value for 2014 so we may see an increase but also reflect the value decrease in our vehicle assets.

Net worth tracking


I was reading a blog called the Free Money Minute the other day and they shared a list of other personal finance bloggers who track and share their net worth online with the Net Worth Tracker page that was posted.

It’s a great list of bloggers and the best part is that it’s not about having a high net worth, it’s about people who are working hard to reach financial independence by growing their net worth.

You will notice on the list that some bloggers are in the negative but the point is they are swimming and others are high net worth individuals that are soaring to the top.

They are swimming up and working their way out and that is what budgeting and setting financial goals is about to me.

If we believe in ourselves and our ability to save and spend less than we earn whilst paying off debt we can put ourselves in the position of moving up the ladder.

Sure, we’d love to have a million dollar net worth but realize that even those that are already in that position who might even be younger than us worked hard to get there no matter what way we look at it. Some people are lucky, some people get jump-starts and others make the right decisions when it comes to where they invest their money.

I’m not sure what it means to have an ultra high net worth as someone searched on the blog the other day but I can only assume that it means there are no more worries about money in your life because you have far surpassed anything imaginable to most around the world.

Not everyone will be worth millions upon millions of dollars unless you are a lottery winner, very successful business owner, investors or you excel at what you do. You might even be an actor/actress, TV personality, famous for one reason or another or a rock star who has hit it big. Should we care about those that are successful or celebrities net worth numbers? Not really but it’s more the path or footsteps that got someone there that intrigues me the most.

I wrote a post earlier this year about how we stopped focusing on other people’s financial numbers and worried more about our own personal net worth. Comparing your numbers with those of someone else’s is not a smart way to motivate yourself because we all have different incomes, debts and lifestyles.

Our personal financial advisor told us that he has high net worth clients that struggle just like everyone else but they make it to the top because they don’t let negativity get in the way.

Not only that but we are all in different stages and our age may be different so comparing numbers means nothing, but using their drive for success in personal finance is where we draw energy from and so should you.

How do you stay motivated to build your net worth?

Understanding net worth


What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?

Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.


Determining net worth


How To Determine Net Worth?

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities 

Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances. Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number. Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?

Now you can stop asking yourself, how do you find out your net worth because it’s easy to determine. Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)


Our short-term goals 2013


  • To pay off our mortgage with-in the 5 yr term ending in April 2014- Update: Money has been moved to my bank account now I have to transfer it to Canada. I hope to have this done with-in the next month as I’m watching the exchange rate.
  • Focus on TFSA and other investing- will look at this once the mortgage is paid in full
  • To Save money for smaller renovations- trying little by little
  • Continue to meal plan, create new homemade meals- I’m always whipping up something new in the kitchen (check out all my new recipe index on the blog)
  • To  sow and grow more vegetables/herbs in the garden to save money- garden is done for the season.
  • To take vacation somewhere in Ontario this summer- planning this now!
  • To take this blog to self-hosted and get a redesign (happening 2013!)- This has now been completed, finally!
  • Learn more about Passive Income- working on this one
  • To Read a new Personal Finance Book- working on this, slowly
  • Learn more about SEO and Blogging- I’m always learning something new but it’s all beneficial and has helped Canadian Budget Binder grow the way that it has. My eyes and ears are open.


Our long-term goals 2013


  • Continuing to educate ourselves on personal finance and investments
  • Continue to network with other like-minded individuals
  • To finish renovating our home- Landscaping is pretty much completed as of the end of September. Next is bathrooms.
  • To continue with educational training to further careers- More training for me coming up in the next month.
  • To save money for big renovations- I’m starting to tear out the bathrooms and measuring up the kitchen to purchase new cabinets and counter tops and do a full makeover. 
  • Start thinking about saving for a second-hand vehicle in the next 5-7 years
  • Save up for a European Adventure in the next couple of years
  • Potentially save for a second home to rent out or build/move to our dream home


Our financial numbers


When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals. We don’t care how much money others make or if their net worth is lower or higher as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.


Different paths


Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of  you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back. Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, lost a job, fell ill and so on but you can’t let that stop you, I didn’t. Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.

Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying. The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery.

The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals. Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who are negative towards their own situation. I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, that is if you want that to happen.


Our net worth


We are always looking for ways how to increase our savings and by tracking our net worth these numbers below show us how well we are doing or what areas we should put a bit more focus in.


Net worth updates 2012-2013



Overall: I’ll be honest and say I was skeptical to see an increase in our net worth this month with all of the money we have been spending but with a bit of an increase in the exchange rate and more of an increase in our investments and the mortgage being paid down we came out ahead  at +0.72% of a net worth increase. I guess we do have to believe to see victory in numbers.  Have a great month and I’ll catch you here same time in November.


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The Saturday Weekly Review #17- All Mouth And No Trousers!

The Saturday Weekly Review
Behind Closed Doors With Mr.CBB

It’s Saturday, so close the door and come on in, sit down, grab a cuppa tea, relax and hang out with me for a moment. No, nobody is going to massage your feet and take the tension from your shoulders and rub hot oils all over your body to take the worry from your mind here at CBB.

To make up for the lack of spa like atmosphere at this moment If I can have your attention for 5 minutes I promise I will make you forget about all the crap you have to do this weekend. If not, go have a beer or cocktail with an olive and suck it up! It’s not every day on the blog I get a chance to kick back and wind down for a bit with everything that’s going on in my life.

With a newish career, the blog and working hard to renovate around the house life can get a bit hectic for me. I haven’t even factored in the wife but she gets me when she wants so I try not to bundle her in with “stuff to do” list or I may find myself in a tent in the back yard.

This past week I have been working on a secret project in my garage which you will learn about shortly. No, it’s not going to make me a millionaire but it will save us a few bucks and get the neighbours talking. Yep, I’ll be sharing my neighbours junk and what I’ve done to bring it back to life. Sometimes I am amazed at what I find and I hope you can trail along with me to see what I do to transform or bring back to life junk my neighbours don’t want.

Since the weather is heating up I’ll be tackling my fence shortly as well as making the deck all pretty so I preserve it’s beauty year after year. Amazing what  a bit of elbow grease and $25 can do for your deck. I’ll be filling in some crack on the drive and giving it a lick of black, working on the new landscaping project and the list goes on.

All Mouth And No Trousers

Do you know someone that you want to slap around a bit to wake them up? I do, and pretty soon he’s going to be driving the lawn mower home and not his Mercedes (just having a laugh). He’s a good mate, a bit arrogant and sometimes drives me around the nutter because he’s all mouth and no trousers (a little too full of himself). If you promise someone you are going to do something, just do it and be done with it. Don’t give them the run around with excuses.

Canadian Budget Binder Weekly Review

Mortgages Toronto Star April 25 2013

What an amazing week on the blog with lots to say and plenty of comments from the fans. I really do like when you toss in your two cents because that not only shows me that you read what I spend hours putting together. The other part I enjoy is that I get to learn more about you and your opinions as my readers. So, don’t be shy, leave me a comment.

PLUS…. Canadian Budget Binder made The Toronto Star in which I am so grateful that they reached out for me to ask me some questions about how we were able to save and why we wanted to pay off our mortgage. It’s not going to make CBB famous but what it will do is share our reasons for paying off our mortgage and hopefully motivate others to think about their own finances.

It’s a great read with a couple of other families that shared what they did to save in order to pay their mortgage off. If you missed this past Thursday’s Toronto Star it’s my understanding the article will be online in the upcoming week. It’s difficult to read the one part of 2 that I scanned but you can double click the photo to see if you can read it from that point. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I see it, I’ll let you know.

Facebook has heated up this week as well, my What’s for Dinner post is still on fire as my top post of the day and the fans dive in and share their favourite recipes, frugal living tips and what’s hot in the kitchen. I’ve decided to continue every Sunday on Facebook as “Frugal Food Sunday” with Mr.CBB.

One thing about personal finance that I’ve learned is money isn’t the most exciting topic but we all love food. Food is love and here at CBB we take food seriously and if we can make a meal that we love and can share it with the fans that’s what we are going to do.

So, if you have a recipe you want to share, pop around and share your recipe link every Sunday for my fans. Tomorrow I’ll be rolling out my Homemade Crockpot Lasagna which turned out surprisingly good! Don’t Miss this recipe if you like quick and easy in the kitchen!

Not alot to report back on the blog design front but I’m hoping to get my arse in gear with the new design as we roll it out shortly. I’m on the hunt for a hosting company at the moment and then we will turn Old CBB into New CBB with a bit of magic.

We are now full speed ahead with the CBB Facebook fans who call themselves “The Cheerleading Squad” who lead the way championing for CBB as we strive for 6000 Facebook Fans. You all know who you are and you can bet I appreciate every single thing that you all do for me and CBB.

So, if you aren’t following Canadian Budget Binder on Facebook.. head on over and LIKE my page!

Hot Posts Of The Week

Canadian Budget Binder’s Weekly Blog Posts

The CBB Blog Post Bundle… just for you!

PLUS… Check out my contribution post at “You Only Do This Once” called Smart Budgeting And Grocery Shopping For 2

Making A Difference

Making A Difference Wise Dollar

Last week I talked about how important it was to “Make a Difference” not only with my life but with this blog. I put out a call for other bloggers to email me a few sentences about why they are making a difference with their blog and to share what that difference was. I want to host this every Saturday and our first Blog to Make a Difference goes to Jose at Wise Dollar.

I’ve followed Jose for a little while now but one thing that caught me about Jose was his willingness to share and to comment on posts that he can add something of personal value to. Jose is making a difference not only for his fans but for his children. Today I ask you to head over to Wise Dollar and check out his blog that he works very hard on for all his followers. If you like what you see, hang out with Jose, just like I do. Well done Jose!

Why Jose Says He’s Making A Difference

I started my blog for my kids, particularly my 20-year-old son has always had a fascination with my investing activities. I’ve slowly, over the years given him tidbits of information on how I invest, what I look for, etc. I have never really had the discipline to document everything.

Creating the Wise Dollar Blog has given me a vehicle to document how I invest and pass that legacy on. Even if the Wise Dollar eventually goes away, I will have put down in words the information that my kids will need to be successful investors and better money managers. A secondary objective? Yes, of course. I would like to make the Wise Dollar a successful Personal Finance (and more) blog) to provide extra income when I semi-retire!

Blogs You Should Check Out And Follow

Who’s Talking Canadian Budget Binder

Thank you all so much. If I missed you please send me an email and I’ll get you on the list.

Carnival Glory

web search terms

Google Search terms really help me to understand what people are looking for at Canadian Budget Binder! Any typos below are simply how the person who searched Google and typed it in search incorrectly, or me ;-) Another week of thousands of search terms but only a few good ones worth mentioning.

Top Pick: How To Make A Home Pregnancy Test- Now there’s a science project I never thought of.

  • Sexy Men, Sex Men Over 60- Nope, none of that here.. maybe almost half that age!
  • Cash For Beer Cans- Crap, they’re catching on
  • Animated Pizza Tossing- Because that’s what we do here…
  • Why Man Like Money- Oh, I don’t know maybe because, it pays the bills.
  • Hiding Spots In Homes- Part of  The Burglar Research Academy

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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 2Categories
  3. How We Designed Our Budget Step 3Tracking Receipts
  4. How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
  5. How We Designed Our Budget Step 55S Organization
  6. How We Designed Our Budget Step 6Who Does What and When?
  7. How We Designed Our Budget Step 7Balancing Our Budget
  8. How We Designed Our Budget Step 8Knowing our Coupon Savings
  9. How We Designed Our Budget Step 9Reading 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?

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