Are aftermarket accessories for your vehicle worth it?

Aftermarket car accessoriesTHAT BLING THING


Maintaining your vehicle is just as important as maintaining your house, even if it’s with aftermarket parts rather than OEM (Original Engine Manufacturer) parts.

For instance, the wheel nuts on our vehicle started to bulge and become distorted because corrosion had built up between the actual nut and the alloy coating on the outside.

The price for the new parts were $8+ each so I picked up aftermarket plain nuts for $1.25 each.

The vehicle now has new wheel nuts and they didn’t cost me the earth. Not only that but the vehicle still functions the same and it’s safe.

I’m an avid fan of maintaining what you have because it will last longer and cost you less in the long run.

In the last few weeks I have definitely noticed more and more people taking some time to give their vehicles a little TLC. We are no different, in fact our vehicle will be taken to the car wash place for a shampoo and blow dry too.

Not only is it getting cleaned inside and out to get rid of all the salt that has hit it over this particularly nasty winter period, but the tires will be swapped over as well. After I’ve swapped over the winter tires to all-season tires both vehicles will get a wax and buff.

Spending money on maintaining our vehicles is money well spent in our budget. Sure I could add all sorts of aftermarket accessories to my vehicle but with increases in prices in just about everything these days and building our retirement funds why bother.

Keep in mind most people have kids, mortgages, OSAP loans for school and other debts too. We’d rather enjoy our debt-free life than adding expensive aftermarket accessories on our vehicles that most people could care less about.


Aftermarket accessories


We only limit ourselves to aftermarket parts rather than aftermarket accessories, but for some that’s just the beginning. Car bling or adorning your car in aftermarket accessories seems to be getting more and more popular these days.

There seems to be this desire to personalize our vehicles and make them look what I can only describe as something they are not. I’m sure you’ve seen these cars roaming the streets especially this time of year with all the bling attached. What do I mean by aftermarket parts?

Aftermarket “soup cans” on the end of your exhaust pipe to make it sound louder is just one option. Alloy rims and low profile tires, rear spoilers, large entertainment systems, blue LED under lighting and the list goes on and on.

Certain people insist on writing cheques their cars can’t cash.

Last week I saw a very basic Honda that has a low powered 4 cylinder engine with expensive alloys and low profile tires that must have more value than the actual car. What a waste of money, especially when I’m sure it could be spent on something much more worthwhile.

Maybe this is my sign that I’m getting on in years but I’m failing to see the point of most aftermarket additions to vehicles lately. Certainly low profile tires have better handling capabilities on track cars but a four-cylinder Honda is not what you’d call track material.

The best of it was 90% of the other cars were passing because the vehicle was too slow. Maybe they should have spent the money on maintaining the engines performance which will likely get them much further. It’s like spending your money on landscaping when your roof is caving in.

These cars are what I like to call “all show and no go“.

The ever famous rear spoiler that stems from the late 70′s and early 80′s that people put on their vehicles always makes me chuckle. They have a front wheel drive car and place a spoiler on the rear. Now, instead of making the car go faster, they just made it go slower.

The whole point of a spoiler is to add down force to the drive wheels. But I suppose if you’ve got more money than sense then do you really need a point?


Pimp my ride


I can remember a number of years ago when I still lived in the UK, one of the residents in my local area had a Ford Orion (it’s a UK car). It was a normal looking factory standard car when he bought it.

Every weekend and spare moment was dedicated to the pursuit of pimping up his car with aftermarket items. He had a body kit installed on it to flare out the wheel arches, a large exhaust system, tinted windows, alloys with low profile tires, chrome and a whole host of other stuff including expensive coloured brake calipers.

The trouble was he spent so much time messing around with it without truly knowing what he was doing and actually managed to destroy his car. The car wouldn’t start to begin with, then he had other break down issues followed by a final engine failure.

If he had left the car as it was it would have been a reliable car that would have him to work and back for many years. If he had decided that it wasn’t the car for him he could have sold it and bought something different.

Not this guy, he lost the lot and the car insurance company isn’t going to pay out on a car you destroyed from messing around with it.

You also have to be careful when upgrading cars, if you have altered them up to a certain degree and you are involved in an accident the insurance companies will more than likely not pay out.

The reason being that they insured the original factory car you bought not the jazzed up aftermarket version you crashed. If you are planning to jazz up your vehicle you might want to talk to your insurance company to see what the rules are surrounding the upgrades.

If you are young and live at home and have absolutely no intention of leaving the bank of mum and dad any time soon then why not bling the car.

For everyone else, can you really afford all the aftermarket accessories and does it really make your car run any better?



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Does having debt mean you have too much money fun?



Having fun and having debt is no laughing matter but not everyone sees debt through my eyes.

Sometimes debt is just a piece of paper that comes in the mail for someone who says oh look it’s gone up again and heads out for a night on the town.

My theory is you need to earn money before you can play the cash out game depending on what you are spending it on though. Keep in mind not all debt happens because of having fun.

Debt for some might mean they go to the grave owing people money and they don’t have a care in the world. Those are the people who live in that financial la la land that I talked about earlier. Learning about money saving habits and paying off debt first is not easy for some people and for others it’s a no-brainer.

My friend at My Money Design talks about why it is important to save money and now and when he says “because things will happen” he’s nailed it. Not only do things happen most of us will continually want more stuff over the course of our lives and if we don’t have cash to pay for it, well you guessed it. More debt.

Others like myself cringe at hearing the word debt or having to owe someone money whether it’s friends or family or a credit card bill that couldn’t get paid in full due to student loans, car loans, mortgages.

It’s not like I sit around counting money all day, but I don’t want my hopefully early retirement years mired with debt I haven’t paid because I was too busy having fun or buying things I didn’t need watching that debt grow bigger and bigger.


Fun with someone else’s money


It’s true, some people feel sorry for themselves because they had fun before they paid for it and now they are really paying for it. It doesn’t matter what happened to get you where you are because in the end debt is debt.

I’m pretty sure you know someone who doesn’t have lots of money or any at all and when they come into money they are happy as a pig in muck. They think they have hit the jackpot and they can go out and live large with that money and have tonnes of fun.

The problem is there are so many things that need to get done around the house, debt that needs to get paid, repairs, etc. yet they seem to forget all about it. Most times the windfall that comes into their hands is in the form of a lottery win, bingo win, loan from a bank, loan from a friend, found money and it’s gone before you have a chance to sit on it and think.

Those who struggle with paying down debt year after year may mean they are having too much fun with someone else’s money or they simply don’t make enough to pay down the debts with the money they were loaned or from products purchased.

Either way it has to be paid back so putting fun on the back burner to get debt priorities and other important tasks completed should be at the top of the list.

Should you be going on vacations, buying new vehicles, new clothes etc. when you have a pile of debt already? Well if you ask me you know I’ll tell you no you should be getting rid of that debt first unless you crave the debt explosion.

I also think that you need to be realistic about what you are spending your money on when you have debt. No one says you can’t have fun but if you are already struggling to stay afloat why would you drown yourself?

If you ask someone else, their opinion may differ but their opinion of sitting on debt probably isn’t as important as it is to me. I prefer to get up in the morning not worrying about money and debt where others seem to fluff it off as if they gave up on themselves.

Others might not care because they think they will never pay it off so why stress about it. If we have this mentality you can bet you will never pay it off because everything else that is fun will become a priority over paying off debts you already have.

Your choice though, it’s your life you’re right but you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t want to find a way to get out of debt. In fact I don’t know many people who celebrate the fact that they have fun and have debt and don’t care about it.


Take care of your stuff


I have an acquaintance who bought a used truck which was great for work a few years back and owes about $15,000 on it. Well his new to him truck turns out that he’s paying more in mechanics bills then he can afford on general repairs that are common to just about every vehicle owner.

So what does he do?

He goes out and gets another bank loan for another used truck because he can’t afford the bills on the first used vehicle he bought. I wish everything in life was like that. When something breaks down just toss it aside and buy a new one.

The problem?

He still owes thousands of dollars on the first truck. I hope he had some fun in the first truck because it sure will cost him some cash unless he can sell it to recoup some money. As we know vehicles depreciate and it’s not always fun when you have to pay to get your vehicle fixed but that’s life.

I don’t know many vehicles that don’t make its way into the mechanics shop at one time or another, it’s reality. Things break down and need replacing so like having a mortgage and a house needs repairs as does your vehicle.

If you can’t even pay for regular maintenance on your vehicle don’t be surprised if your vehicle won’t be nice to you when it comes time to get it repaired.

Some people are shocked at the bill but if you take care of what you own for the most part you should have a vehicle that lasts you a long time. One of our vehicles is 11 years old and is in mint condition because it’s well looked after and yes that costs money just like everything else in life.


Debt defined


What is debt? Debt is owing money to someone in the simplest of terms. If you have received a service or product and you haven’t paid for it in full you now have debt because you owe money to someone.

There are many reasons why debt comes knocking at our doors and honestly many people can say they had too much fun and probably could have done without and others well debt just kind of fell on their lap.

You see not everyone is out to splurge on buying items. Let’s look at a couple in a relationship where one spouse is a spender and the other is a saver or a couple where one spends but hides the debt from their partner.

It’s after they get caught or the relationship breaks down that all the debt secrets come to the table and the non-spenders are left with paying half the debt if not all of it.

We know a couple this happened to where the marriage broke down and she found out he had credit cards that she had no idea about. If you start to see your spouse coming home with new or even used stuff and you don’t see these expenses on any bills you might want to question where the money is coming from.

If you are in one of those relationships where my money is mine and yours and is yours remember if you are common law in the eyes of the law, it’s still your debt if you’ve lived together for x amount of months (depending on where you live check the laws) so be cautious.

Best of it is she just paid the credit card debt because she didn’t want to fight with him about money. Some people are like that and would rather suck up the debt and move on instead of trying to pull money out of thin air where there is none available or likely will never be.

Below are some other ways that having too much fun might mean we carry debt. How do you combat creating debt with your expensive hobbies and holidays?


Expensive hobbies


There’s at least one house on our road that has a boat residing on a trailer waiting to go in the water. It’s not just the cost of the boat that’s the expense here but insurance, licence, maintenance, fuel for both car and boat and any launch costs or mooring fees.
Having a boat and all the associated costs that go with it aren’t the only expensive hobbies out there though.

Photography if you take it seriously enough can cost you a small fortune. Once you get past the throw away snapshot cameras and into DSLR’s or Medium Format cameras the camera body is a separate item from the lens and prices increase dramatically.

Lenses go into the thousands of dollars and then there’s a plethora of filters, remotes, flash units etc. as well as editing software such as Photoshop elements 12 which I just bought for half price regular $150. That’s just the little guy though if you want the cream of the crop Photoshop can run you $700- into the thousands.

Some people manage to make their hobby pay for itself by advertising their services but most amateur photographers do it for the art aspect.

Restoring classic cars used to be a hobby that aging men get into reliving their youth but these days restoring a V8 Muscle Car isn’t exactly what you’d call cheap.

There are a few classic cars in our area, most of which haven’t set foot outside of the garage since we moved here. I’m not sure if it’s because the men that bought them had less mechanical skills than they thought or they suddenly realized how expensive that hobby really is.

Motor-homes can be very expensive to buy and maintain and yet they seem to spend most of their lives living on a driveway. I suppose that if used often enough it can provide slightly cheaper domestic holiday experiences that you have complete control of.

The problem with this is that do most people have all that extra time to use the motor-home? If you’re only going to use it a handful of times then that’s an expensive piece of kit just sitting around, depreciating faster and faster.




From the versatile motor-home to hotels abroad, whatever style of holiday you like there’s always going to be cost associated with it. I’ve already talked about the motor-home, so the next item on my list is the cottage or static caravan/park home.

There is always this big exodus to the cottage when the first decently warm weather turns up and people enjoy a weekend away.
I’m just not seeing it myself though.

How do you enjoy a weekend away to a cottage that you have to pay for year round through a second mortgage and have to spend money and time maintaining so you can go there for a few weekends during the year? Not everyone rents out their cottage in the off-season although that does help.

You could have probably gone somewhere different every weekend and stayed in a hotel for the same costs.
Now we haven’t been on a holiday abroad yet, although we’ve had some time away in Ontario.

I have been to many foreign places over the years but we concentrated on getting to where we want to be financially now by sacrificing such luxuries as a holiday abroad.

Where I used to work years ago in the UK there were plenty of people who used to go away twice may be three times a year. One particular person went to Cuba, which from the UK is more expensive than going there from Canada.

They spent two weeks in a resort without even seeing anything of Cuba as a country. Surely you could have the same experience in Spain which from the UK is cheap. It always amazes me that people will spend thousands to go on holiday to a far-flung place, boast about it and yet never set foot outside of the resort.

Look at what you want from a holiday and adjust your expectations to match, it will probably save you a lot of money and will mean you can afford the same holiday again later in the year.

So if you have debt and many people do ask yourself if the debt you have is because you are spending too much money having fun. If creating debt is because you are having too much fun and you are struggling to pay off the debts and keep adding more debt on top it’s time to dust off the budget or prioritize how you are spending money and paying down debt.

How do you keep debt low while having fun?



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Are you envious of others’ success in life?



Envious definition for me means that someone wishes they could have your success but they just need to find their own path to reach their goals. 

The minute your friends Facebook status goes up and says they got a new job, a new car or are in a new relationship do you get upset that it’s not you?

Do you question why nothing good ever happens to you?

Are you feeling jealous of other people’s success?

Don’t be but if you answered no I’d say you are telling a lie because every one of us a tiny bit of envy towards something. It’s how we handle that envy that matters the most.

No one likes to feel as if they failed at life and that they have no other options but to accept what they have been given. I think that we can do anything we want with this one life we are given if we find a way to make our dreams come true.

Sometimes all you need is a positive boost from a friend or someone who believes in you and before you know it you will land your dream job. Never give up on yourself.

I don’t think that just because someone is envious that it’s a bad thing. I should hope that with being envious of others success that someone challenges themselves to work harder.

Sometimes that’s what it takes to light a fire under someone’s butt to get the ball rolling in terms of their career or financial goals. Too often people sit around and sulk about how life has not been the greatest for them yet they put all that negativity ahead of anything positive in their lives.

When we look at things that spark a bit of envoy or jealousy in our lives and take that and work it into our own lives maybe we will be the next ones laughing all the way to the bank.

Envious people


There will be jealousy all around us whether it’s envious friends, envious co-workers or envious strangers that we’ve never met before.

They want what you might have but lack the desire to achieve it on their own or feel they can’t, have tried and failed then gave up. I’m sure the list can be ongoing but none the less these people need to flip their attitude and work it into bringing in success that makes them happy.

I’m pretty sure most of you have a friend you can call Money Bags because they seem to have an unlimited supply of cash. Then one day you will catch them on one of Gail Vaz Oxlade’s shows like Money Moron because all that showing off was done on credit they can’t pay back. What’s to be envious of that?

You may even find jealousy in your relationships but that just means someone has to build up the confidence in themselves and just trust love. Envy in love is not a good place to be because money and love can cause problems if the two people in the relationship are not on the same page.

If the male believes he is unsuccessful or that he should be making more money than his partner it could cause problems. If you are not happy with your career in the first place this may cause problems in a relationship because one is so focused on getting a job rather than the relationship.

Some people can’t be happy in love until they are happy in career. It’s just the way they are wired and sometimes letting go of these relationships might be the best thing for both of you unless you can weather the storm together.

Job envy


Being on the bottom of the ladder in an industry can be hard. Everyone around you gets paid more and has more opportunities to advance their career or move on to another job. This is the time to start learning past what you’re getting paid for and don’t let the envy under your skin.

It’s easy to come home at the end of the day and forget about work. You could be moaning about how someone at work was bossing you around because they are higher up than you. Get out there and improve yourself, take part-time courses if necessary.

Having envious thoughts against your neighbour because they have a better job than you can be a little harder to swallow. If they are a trades-person they have served several years as an apprentice on the bottom of the ladder too.

They had to acquire skills over the years to get to where they are now. A doctor or other highly skilled medical profession also takes years. I’m sure some of these people were envious of others at one point or another but put their skills to work and now they are reaping the rewards of a career they always dreamed of.

A lot of people have good jobs or well-paying jobs because they listened, learned and applied themselves to be the best at what they can be. They sacrificed nights out drinking with their buddies to build something that you are now envious of.


Financial envy


I’ve written before about how you should never compare your financial numbers with others numbers because you simply can’t do that. For different reasons and opportunities we all have accumulated wealth based on our savings ability, income levels and our determination to be debt-free or not.

I’ve said it a million times that “it’s not about how much money you make it’s how you save it” and it’s a saying that I created years ago and stand by fully. I’ve pretty much littered this blog with my quote in hopes of getting through to people and I’ve had some fans tell me that since starting a budget they understand what I mean now.

I know that when I was making a lower-income I was still saving money and paying off bills however I did not accumulate any debt. We were still able to go out for walks and spend time together as a couple doing things that didn’t cost money or very little. I guess thinking ahead of ourselves was smart, marriage, house, kids, travel etc.

If we wanted to do all of that we knew we needed the cash set aside. If we blew all of our money now to live in the moment we 100% knew we’d struggle down the road. If that’s the road you want to take, then so be it. It’s your life.

If you make the decision to start putting things on credit then you are deciding to bring debt into your life.

If you can save cash to pay for what you need it is 100 times better than putting it on a credit card and paying minimum payments each month. The other options are to save cash and buy second-hand items. If you have the mind-set that you need to impress everyone and have shiny new things and you don’t have the cash be ready to live with debts you need to pay off.

If you don’t have that mind-set like we have then you can live with an older refrigerator, a used vehicle and buying things that are essential as opposed to ‘wants’ in our lives. This has helped us to get where we want to be today, debt-free.

We never once cared what other people make because we know that just because you make 6 figures doesn’t mean that you are worth more than the guy who makes minimum wage. Think about it for a second.

It’s all about spending and saving. If you don’t have the discipline to save and watch your spending DON’T complain about what others have in the bank.

You don’t need TV, Internet, Junk Food, pop at the gas station, fast food, theatre nights, fancy clothes, hair styling, nails, booze, travel etc. In those rare circumstances there are people who live at the poverty line or below it or cannot work for one reason or another.

If you are fully capable of working then get out there and keep looking until someone says yes or find ways to get more education, volunteer, network even move if you have to. Do whatever it takes and get rid of feeling sorry for yourself because no one will care.

Those items above and many more are nice to have but only if you have the cash to pay for them while accomplishing your financial goals. That is what we live by but others may disagree and that’s fine, it’s your bank account in the end that maters to you not me.

So go ahead and be envious of what other people have but I’ll tell you that it won’t get you anywhere until you focus on your own financial goals and priorities.


Happiness envy


You don’t know everyone’s circumstances so this is very difficult to judge and besides I would never even attempt to build my happiness on what others have or don’t have. Happiness doesn’t mean you have money.

I know some people who have not a penny to rub together but they are always happy and enjoying the simple things in life. They are happy just to wake up in the morning. Sometimes the more you have the more you want or think you need. Then there are the people who have money and are miserable because just like the saying goes, “money can’t buy you love” or happiness.

Some people could have everything in the world yet be depressed. It depends on what you find that makes you happy. It could be helping others, achieving goals each day. The only person that can make you happy is you.

Looking into others’ lives and deciding that since they go out as a couple all the time or family vacations and believe they have no worries in the world is the wrong way to view people. Credit cards buy happiness for short periods of time and some people can hide being unhappy very well.

How not to be jealous of other people’s success

If you find you are envious of someone else’s success the first thing you need to do is accept that you have that envy but then do something about it. Find a way to make other people envy your drive and success.

If you can fuel yourself from something that you view as a negative half the battle is won. Below are a few tips I would use if I was envious of someone’s success and needed to find a way to boost my own.

  • Worry about your own life first
  • Set goals, realistic ones and start achieving them
  • Involve others in your happiness
  • Get out make friends and spend time with family
  • Smile
  • Network with like-minded people
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Get rid of that negative attitude
  • Believe in yourself
  • Never give up

As you can see being envious of others successful life or what you believe is successful is really all in your head. It’s up to you to make your world the happiest, best place it can be and no one else will do that for you.

Be grateful for what you have and if you want more, well you know what you need to do and maybe you might find people are envious of something you have that they don’t.



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Finances are like moon phases: February 2014 Net Worth update (+1.25%)

Moon phases of our net worth financesWATCHING INVESTMENTS GROW


Like moon phases, our finances including Net Worth is constantly changing and this month is no different.

There will always be ebb and flow in everyone’s finances, sometimes purely by the choices we’ve made.

In the CBB household we didn’t have an awful lot left over as spare cash from last month as we had city taxes and pet costs leave the bank.

However, there was positive news on the finance front in the form of yet another increase in the exchange rate due to the falling dollar.

This increase has led to our UK funds exceeding the total of what is left to pay on the mortgage and with quite a chunk of money left over.


Moon phases


We are definitely moving into our Waxing Gibbous phase where our finances and what we have set up are starting to fall into place.

The Full Moon phase will be when our mortgage is paid off and we can move on knowing that fact that we will be carrying zero debt. In the very near future we have to decide what we will be doing with the spare cash that is left over once the mortgage is paid off.

The money that we would have spent on mortgage payments needs to go somewhere and we are struggling to weigh up which investments to place it in.

There is another choice if investing is a little too sensible, expensive renovations that include the basement and kitchen. A visit to our financial advisor gave us good news about our investments, the returns were around the 12% mark.

There were of course variances between certain investments but they were good returns considering the market ups and downs and the fact we’re quite modest in our aggressiveness.

We’ve reached the $100,000 mark in our investment portfolio with our financial advisor which then leads us to lower costs in managing the funds as we will change over to a fee based system.

You may have read from our previous Net Worth update in January that we included an increase in our principal residence.

To put an actual figure on that we asked our real estate agent to present us with a calculated figure based upon comparative market analysis.

The estimated value for our house is $365,000, which is great news for us although one increase a year is more than enough for our egos. That is a $100,000 increase in value in just under 5 years of owning the home. Location, Location, Location.

We have therefore decided to leave our house value at $345,500 as of the January Net Worth.

How did you make out in February?


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)




Below are our 2014 target goals some of which are the same from 2013 and many which are new for 2014. I don’t like to move on to new goals if I have other goals that are unfinished but I also like breathing room and play time if you know what I mean.

I hope by posting them each month it motivates me like it has this past year to get stuff done and reach our target goals with some form of ease although nothing in life is that simple.

I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you.

Do you set goals for your year?


Our short-term goals 2014


  • First is to pay off our mortgage in full as of April 2014. :)
  • To renovate the upstairs bathroom
  • Re-model the spare bedroom (ie: decor, furniture)
  • Start working on putting in the new flooring in the living and dining room
  • Install a central vacuum system
  • Purchase a new washer and dryer
  • Purchase all new kitchen appliances
  • Purchase 2 medium-sized freezers
  • Finish the landscaping in the front and back yards.
  • Invest more in our TFSA, RRSP etc.
  • 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
  • Learn more about passive income
  • To read a new personal finance book
  • Learn more about Search Engine Optimization and blogging and how to manage my blog.


Our long-term goals 2014


  • Finish renovating the entire kitchen
  • Finish renovating the entire master bathroom
  • Save for a holiday
  • Start planning basement renovations (bathroom, bedroom, family room, laundry room, office, storage area.
  • Look at new ways to invest our money ie: rental units
  • Continuing to educate ourselves on personal finance and investments
  • Continue to network with other like-minded people
  • Continue in my new career in hopes of it becoming long-term permanent


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 to others target goals.

We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours 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 in terms of meeting our target numbers or what areas we should put a bit more focus in.


net worth update February 2014


Net worth updates 2014


Below you can click the links to read past net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.



networth feb proceeding 12 months

That’s all for this month’s Net Worth update. Check in at the beginning of April to see how we made out in March and what has happened to our finances since.



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Time to get serious with numbers: Our budget Feb 2014

bust-our-budget-budget-updateCRACKDOWN HAPPENS NOW


The numbers in this months budget update were a bit scary for us as we just made it with a bit left for our savings account.

It truly is more about how much you spend when it comes to the final numbers.

Although we earned a bit more this month with my new job the money went just as fast.

We did have to pay property taxes which took just over $900 but that money came from the projected expenses account. When that big bill comes due we’re happy the money is ready and waiting.

For others they would rather not deal with any more numbers than they have to so a portion of their city tax bill comes off their mortgage payments each time they are paid.

That seems simple enough although I’d rather keep our money in the bank to earn some interest rather than it sitting in someone else’s bank account doing the exact same thing.

Do you pay your own city taxes or do you have a portion paid each time you pay the mortgage?


Where the money went


This month was a particularly busy month for our budget and another reason we need to crackdown on our numbers. A good chunk went to home maintenance as we are starting to buy items for renovations as well as payments for our pet when he was ill at the vets are now paid in full.  We did make a few small purchases from Kijiji this month and I purchased a telescope from Sears.

I’ve always wanted to have a better look up in the sky and this baby will certainly let me do that. It was a great deal since it was regularly priced over $300 but I picked it up for around $90 after spending $50.00 in Sears points I forgot I had.

If you didn’t know I started a second job but this job requires I pay a parking fee of $147 for two months which is what some would call over the top for the hours I work. Anyone who lives in the GTA knows that parking costs are outrageous and we avoid them when possible but sometimes we simply can’t. The thing is it’s what I want to do so a foot in the door is better than nothing at all.

You will see the addition of the extra income in our net worth and budget update numbers although I’m only working part-time at the moment. The numbers will shift a bit for income but not too much that it will be a drastic increase at the moment.

My new job however is double what would be my current salary or hourly rate when broken down so if I get on full-time there will be some changes to our income. Anything is better than nothing. They say it’s good to have more than one source of income.

I just don’t have enough hours in my day with my full-time job, blogging and looking after the house and wife.  All is well though. I may see a shift upwards in hours in the next few months although my new role is seasonal in nature. Once this parking pass is expired I’ve decided that I will take the city bus instead as it’s much cheaper and environmentally friendly.

This will also cut down the parking pass cost and gas for a total just under $80 which is a huge savings for us. We also had to pay for a parking pass for my wife which is likely only to be a one time fee so we won’t be changing the budget numbers moving forward for that.

This is just another reason why we have those projected expenses because you never know when you need money to pay for something unexpected.

Thankfully our groceries were under budget for the month but I’m sure we will make up for it in the upcoming months. With BBQ season just around the corner it’s time to stock up on meat products. We’ve simply been using up what we already have to make sure we are rotating stock.


Get your free budget


  I’m currently offering 2 versions of our 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. 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.


Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet


  Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet Screen shot

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.

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?


Our budget plan


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.

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 made up for it or we learned from our mistakes just like anyone else would. 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 our numbers.

I’m just a regular guy just like everyone else; some might call me a budget or numbers nerd. 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


Budget changes


We didn’t make any major changes to the budget this month as we haven’t seen any reason to.

Although we did go over in some categories we still stand firm that our numbers are fine. I will be adding to our budget spreadsheet a projected expenses tracking sheet so we can track how much we are spending in the PE categories. It was something I was going to work on last year but simply forgot about it.

I hope this will give us a better idea as to how we are doing with our numbers and whether we need to make any further adjustments.  


Budget percentages February


February 2014 Budget Percentages

Our savings of  11.41% includes savings and investments. Our projected expenses this month is at 24.63% which now includes some increases due to overspends explained in the 2013 year in review. The total February 2014 Household Budget Percentages comes to 100%.


Budget percentages month by month


Year to date budget percentages


Expenses breakdown


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.

  1. Chequing- This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from.
  2. Emergency Savings Account- This is a high-interest savings account.
  3. Regular Savings Account- This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
  4. Monthly Budget Total: $5352.51
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$7555.85
  6. Total Coupons Used: includes every discount attained during the month = $23.97
  7. Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1860.68
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$5641.13
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $7555.85 (total net monthly income) – ($54.04 (cash savings) + $1860.68 (projected expenses)) = $5641.13
  10. Actual Cash Savings Going Into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $7555.85 (total monthly net income) – ($5641.13 (actual expenses paid out for the month) + $1860.68 (projected expenses)) = $54.04


Saving money


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 $1860.68 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.


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.


Our numbers


Below you will see two tables one is our budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of February. This budget represents 2 adults and no children and includes all of our investments.


Budget for February 2014


Budgeted numbers February

If it is highlighted in blue that means it is a projected expense of ours. You will also see our budget does not include the emergency savings as this is factored in at the end.


Actual budget expenses for February 2014


Actual budget numbers February 2014

You will notice we didn’t put the amount going to emergency savings as we have in the past into the actual budget which was a total of $54.04.


February 2014 goals


  • Reach 1600 Pinterest Followers- PASS
  • Get organized with blog activities- somewhat Pass
  • Learn more about affiliate marketing and blog advertising-ongoing
  • Complete and search out more freelance work -ongoing
  • Read more in my personal finance book- Fail
  • Reach 6375 Facebook Fans (2014 goal is to hit 10,000) Let’s do this!!- Fail 6348 (this has been challenging since I don’t hold contests like other bloggers do and Facebook reach is terrible unless you pay to boost your posts or your fans share your posts. You will also see some bloggers joining groups to try to help boost their own posts without having to pay fees.) Don’t rely on Facebook unless you want to pay $$$.
  • Reach 2500 Twitter Followers- PASS 2569 :-) Thank-you~
  • Reach 1240 Blog Followers- Fail.. chugging along
  • Continue with bathroom renovations- Fail
  • Start laying flooring in living room and dining room- Fail


March 2014 goals


Sometimes I think I am being too optimistic about by numbers but if I don’t reach them I try harder the next month.

Stay positive and that’s all you can do apart from bringing the best you can for your readers.

Not much has changed in terms of my goals for March apart from making the projected expenses sheet for the budget.

  • Start garden seedlings
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget
  • Reach 2600 Twitter Followers
  • Reach 6260 Facebook Followers
  • Reach 1620 Pinterest Followers
  • Reach 1225 Blog Followers
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance blog
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question
  • Get moving with renovations when I can find time
  • Start Spring cleaning
  • Update budget spreadsheets on blog
  • Connect with a new blogger
  • Reach 1500 Followers Facebook for The Free Recipe Depot


Budget updates month by month


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 April 2014 to review our March 2014 budget to see how we made out with our numbers and if any changes were made.




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