Budget help for families who want out of debt


Never Be Afraid To Ask For Financial Help

I had a reader contact me the other day and asked me for my Canadian Budget Binder excel spreadsheet that you see me post snap shots of each month when I post our budget update because he said their finances are in chaos and they risk losing everything. It’s not easy asking for help when it comes to finances because for many people talking about their money is taboo so they suffer in silence and continue to pile debt on top of debt. Although it seems like lately I’ve seen a shift in those wanting to break-free from their debt and the emails to my inbox have been flowing through daily asking for help.

Sinking your financial ship doesn’t have to happen nor do you have to feel shameful of why you are where you are financially because we all have our reasons and no one should ever judge. What I do encourage is for people to speak up whether they are already in a crisis or believe they are headed that way. Most people already know they are going to be in trouble financially but there are those few that will say they had no idea they were digging a hole.

You only have to watch various debt related tv programs such as The Suze Orman show or Til Debt Do Us Part shows to see that the people who seek free budget help only do so when they are faced with major debts and feel they have no where else to turn. Most flat-out say they had no idea their debt or spending was as bad as it was. Why?  Well, the answer is simple. They had no idea where they were spending their money, how much they were spending nor do most know what their own net income is.

A disaster waiting to happen but money motivates and people will share their life story with the world if that means getting back on track with a cash reward in the end. It just goes to show you that if you set a goal and plan for a win with a prize at the end you might just push yourself that much harder.

So for example if you start budgeting and set goals but along the way you have a projected expense in your budget to save up $4000 to go on a vacation as your prize for getting back on track financially that might motivate you even more. There has to be a win at the end for people to push although for many in debt just getting out of debt is the biggest win but for others they need more.


Our budget sheet is not yet available on the blog only because I’ve had numerous fans testing out the budget behind the scenes for me to work out any bugs or incorporate any suggestions that they may have. When I first started thinking about how to create a budget in excel I don’t think I anticipated all the changes that I’ve made since I started. You can make a budget as easy as you want or as complex as you want.

I was aiming for balanced so that it appealed to my readers which is what I think I’ve done to the best of my ability with their help. There are free budgets all over the internet but like one fan says below you have to find one that is the right “fit” for you. I will have my free online budget tool available for download soon on the blog in my free money-saving tools section.

Numerous people have come to me over the past year and a half and have asked me for tips and shared their debt stories with me because they felt they had no one else to turn to. Then there was Tony who shared his story about how his family worked their way out of over $100,000 worth of debt and you read these stories and think to yourself, wow if they can do it, so can we. It’s true, you can, you just have to believe.

If you are a regular fan here at Canadian Budget Binder you will know the fans that are here day in and day out because they want the financial independence that comes with having no debt and balanced lifestyle when it comes to love, finances and life.

Canadian Budget Binder fan Jen was the very first family that I helped get on track financially using my budget spreadsheet and they are still using the original budget spreadsheet today even though I’ve attempted to send her the updated version. It’s amazing how some people are set in their ways and when something feels right and is working for them they may be wary about change especially after they feel they have jumped a hurdle and are making progress.

Change is scary

Change for most people is like the unknown because once we are in a routine it’s hard to break that routine with the unknown but it doesn’t have to be that way. I won’t lie and say that working with Jen and Ken was easy via internet because it wasn’t for her or for me.

It’s not always easy to explain how something works without showing someone exactly how it works especially an excel program which Jen will tell you is not her strong suit. She messed it up so many times that I wanted to tear my hair out BUT she never gave up. This girl she is a warrior when it comes to her family finances and she would stop at nothing even if it meant sending me 10 emails a day just to get it right.

I admired her determination and that meant I was doing something right because when I started Canadian Budget Binder I wanted to give budget help to families who want out of debt but just didn’t know where to turn to.

I’m not a professional but you don’t need to have a degree to use a budget all you need is motivation and a desire to get to the other side like Jen and Ken did and still are today. Best part is their enthusiasm and the change in their personalities and relationship is phenomenal because they do so much together now including cooking aside from their finances.

Jen still emails me and we still talk almost daily as we have formed a friendship that I’m sure will last a lifetime even though she has never met me. I get email after email from fans sharing a bit about their financial life and wanting me to help them out.

I’ve kept each one of my fan emails in a folder just so I can go back periodically and check in with those who reached out to me. I might send them a quick email to see how things are going and ask if they have any questions for me. My fans are very important to me as I learn from them what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to budgeting so I can share that feedback with the rest of the world.

Helping people get out of debt is only a small step in the budgeting game because it’s only a money-saving tool. I always tell someone that if you are serious about getting out of debt and you want to get your finances on track so you can stop stressing out about them then you need to have that passion with-in.

The guy who emailed me above that prompted this post is in charge of the finances in his home although they do budget as a couple but it’s not so much them it’s the kids that are causing them to spend more than they earn and they don’t know how to get them on board with the budget. We’ve talked numerous times about teaching children about money and the importance of leading by example but what happens when you let the kids lead you as a parents? Trouble, that’s what.

Many parents feel this guilt inside if they don’t give their kids what they want like my friend with his young daughter who uses a form of “but daddy I need it” spending manipulation to try and get what she wants. Since he is not with her mother he feels the need to give in to his daughter more often than he should because he doesn’t want her to think he is not a good dad. We know and he knows he is doing her no good but he is working very hard to make changes in his life because he wants out of the rat race just like many of the fans who contact me.

Change doesn’t have to be an anxious filled word and if you stop procrastinating and take that first step, I promise you that you won’t look back and say “why did I start to use a budget I’m a moron”. You won’t. No one I know kicks themselves for working on ways to save money. If you seriously want something, you have to fight for it and push your way to accomplish the goals you set forth and then do it again because goals never end.

Budgeting help

I came across your website this evening and have spent 2 enjoyable hours reading about budgeting – who would have ever thought it. I would like a copy of your Canadian budget binder personal budget spreadsheet with projected expenses.  My husband and I (plus two kids) have recently moved back to Canada and are struggling to get our finances in order – with wanting to purchase a house on one income (I haven’t found a job in the area yet) we really need a tool to help with the budgeting.

I have read your blog for some time now and realized I must have a better budget in place. The basic budget that I have is not working and I never have money for those small things that come up (birthday, car breaking down etc) I would love if I can use your budget that includes the projected expenses.I am deeply in debt and want to get out of this rat race

Since my husband and I got married (and just before when we moved in together) we’ve been struggling to put together a budget and way to track expenses. I would love a copy of your excel budget (with projected expenses – this is essential for us). We are both very committed to budgeting and keeping out of debt so this worksheet seems like it would work great. Right now we are shuffling money around and just need a plan!

My husband and I have just hit a hard spot in our lives where we are quickly realizing that we are losing money every month and we can’t account for it. We have just sold our house, but have not found another to buy and it is proving difficult with knowing what we should spend. We want to be comfortable and have savings, not house poor and miserable knowing we have to work extra hard to try and afford it. Unfortunately we are not having much luck, but by starting this budget we may have a better idea of what really is realistic for us. I would like a copy of your spreadsheet to see if it might be a budget we may use.

I mentioned this to my husband a couple of years ago when I read a book about saving and budgeting but he never seemed too interested. He came to me the other day with some concern that we need to be doing something better. We are eager to get rid of our credit cards and start using cash for everything while saving for things we actually need. We just need a little bit of help getting started. That’s where you come in.Mr CBB.

You are doing a fabulous job at inspiring people that’s for sure.  My sister and I both follow you and are trying to get our families on track to be debt free. I would like your budget spreadsheet with project expenses.

I’m just a regular guy who fancies budgeting and saving money so I don’t have to worry about it so when I receive emails like the above examples it makes me happy to know that people are responding and they do want budget help.

I recently found your blog and as I am on maternity leave and my income is lower than usual, I am looking to do a better job at budgeting.  Your blog has a ton of great information, and you are a very good writer. May I please have an email copy of your spreadsheet with projected expenses? It would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to request a copy of your budget spreadsheet.  I have recently split up with my husband, (3 weeks ago) and think I need to seriously start budgeting to get ahead. I would like a copy of it with projected expenses.  Thanks so much for all you do!

I don’t give advice to anyone when it comes to their personal finances but what I do give is tips on getting that budget started and how to bring the family on board so they can all work together as a family unit. When the parents are not stressing about finances the children will reap the rewards of that positive energy that they send out to those around them.

So for my anonymous reader who sent me the email with a plea for budget help for his family who desperately wants to get on track here are a few tips for you. These are tips that we used, still use and which I have learned from fans just like you in conversation because you say it works for you. Just another reason why CBB also means ‘family’ here because we teach and learn from each other.

Stand up tall, be fierce and let no one stand in your way and you WILL succeed. Smile… push… never give up… let know one tear you down because you are the warrior behind your own kingdom.-CBB

Tips to help families get started with a budget

  • Stop procrastinating and take the first step
  • Get the entire family involved and explain what a budget is and why the family will be using one
  • Explain the need for a budget with your children, what a budget is and create a mini budget that you can all work on together as an example
  • Ask for feedback from your children on ways they can earn money around the house so they can save up to buy what they want and pay cash (having them come up with ideas will motivate them to champion them as they are the initiators of the idea)
  • Know all your financial numbers and bring them to the table
  • Set Goals and make a plan of action (how will you remember to put your receipts away as soon as you get home etc)
  • Set up your budget binder, budget file folder etc so you have all of your bills, receipts and paperwork in one place
  • Set up your budget spreadsheet online or on paper whichever works for you
  • Reduce expenses by cutting out what you don’t need
  • Call credit card companies and ask for rate reductions (talk to a manager)
  • Hide or cut up your credit cards so you are not tempted to use them while working your way out of debt
  • Know who is responsible for what when it comes to keeping track of money
  • Make sure you get an understanding of the budget from everyone involved (not just a nod)
  • Talk about expenses especially big ones before purchases
  • Be realistic with your figures
  • Don’t give up even if you have a bad month (we all do)
  • Work on ways to come up with free or frugal ways to have fun as a family to keep motivated
  • Visit your budget weekly to check in on progress and document your expenses and income
  • Don’t be afraid of change
  • Don’t worry about what other families are doing
  • Spend less than you earn

This list of budgeting tips can go on and on and I bet once you start budgeting you can add many more tips for others to think of. What other tips from your experience with budgeting your way out of debt or simply choosing to live a lifestyle that uses a budget can you add for those looking for guidance today reading this blog post.

I trust that each one of you are here and reading this because you want to make a change in your life for the good or you already are and this post proves to motivate you to keep on giving it your all. Budget help is always at your finger tips so plan to succeed and push your way to the top.


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The Saturday weekend review #38: Dream big and have faith


Never Underestimate The Power of Your Dreams

If you’ve ever had a big dream and I know you have then you know how easy it is to give up on that dream when you lack confidence and faith. Sometimes when we are alone we sit and think about all the things we want to do with our life but never really do much about what ends up on our bucket list. I hope to change that about me and I did starting with this blog almost 2 years ago.

This blog started with a small dream to make it a place where people came to learn about personal finance and to share their success and lessons learned in their life. I know if you are a personal finance blogger you can probably count how many times you wanted to throw in the towel because you can’t justify the time you spend blogging or you just lose faith in your ability to grow your audience. I’ve been there many times but with that push from my fans like I mentioned in yesterday’s post I’m still here today.

I’m getting ready to embark on the next phase of Canadian Budget Binder moving to self-hosted with a new fresh look and hopefully I can spread the word louder than I have. We don’t always dream about making money, sometimes it’s just an inner peace we crave where we feel we are making a difference in this world.

Others, they like to make money and blogging is certainly an outlet that you can earn some extra cash but it all takes time if ever for some people who don’t go the extra mile, because that IS what it takes and then some.

I’ve had so many people email me wanting to learn about how to start a blog and I always direct them to the Blogging for Dummies book because that is where I started out. I also started reading a blog all about Search Engine Optimization and to be honest I don’t know how I stumbled upon it but I’m glad I did because it really has helped Canadian Budget Binder get out into the internet world.

I’ve had other people who have dreams of finding a better job who want advice and tips and my sister-in-law said it best this morning to me in a Facebook private message. I asked her for job hunting inspiration for my best friend.

Below in the quote is what she said when I asked her if she knew of anyone hiring in the local area since she has a big network of senior level management friends. I wanted to motivate my best friend with her words because I know he needs that push to find the better job plus get his hobby off the ground because he is so very talented. I’m ready to help him any way I can.

When you see someone who has talent no matter who it is, stop at nothing to motivate them because most times they doubt themselves or they fail to see that talent. They may thank you one day.

If someone really wants to find a job they love they will find it. They will stop at nothing and they will do everything it takes to get noticed and show the employer they are the number one pick. Never give up.

It’s easy to see how confidence can play a big role in getting what you want in life especially if you dream big but you must have faith in anything you do. Without faith you are giving up on your dreams but most of all we must have patience because nothing in life is handed to us on a silver platter.

We may get shot down 100 times before 1 person believes in us and when you find that person who accepts you, your dreams or that employer run with it and don’t look back.

Dare to dream big

I was doing my Yahoo weekend reading when I came across this article about a guy Zach Green named “entrepreneur of the year” who didn’t think twice about quitting his day job after coming up with this amazing idea for an illuminated helmet that glows in the dark for fire fighters.

This invention would help save many fire fighters lives and go on to help others. He was fascinated with luminescence technology and this brilliant invention was created which would benefit fire fighters all over the world. He started selling the helmets from the trunk of his car going station to station.

When I read how this guy never gave up on this dream starting with small sales then growing into what it is today solidifies how important it is to have faith. Although Green went out on a limb maxing out credit cards and refinanced his house he rolled this out like a bull and cranked in $85,000 in sales in his first month going to fire fighter trade shows.

I can only imagine what it must have felt like for him to see what he had created was getting so big. His business is now called “MN8″ and he has a sales force and his selling his products around the world. His product line has expanded and now includes stickers, paint and magnets.

Reach for your goals

It is one of those inventions that has made him a million in revenue so far but you sit back and go.. why didn’t anyone think of that sooner?

Sometimes the simple things are the most important things but we tend to overlook them because we are looking for big and bold, flashy frosting type ideas but that doesn’t always mean it will be a success. Don’t overlook the obvious and if you have an idea don’t be negative about it, don’t give up and don’t let others bring you down.

No one really knows I blog but I know if I told people what I do essentially for free because I don’t make any money they would think I was nuts. I’m giving up so much of my time for this blog but for me it was and still is my dream to bring Canadian Budget Binder to the top for my fans not for anyone else.

This blog is for the fans, it’s my dream for all of you and I have faith that we will grow together. If Canadian Budget Binder makes money in the future I’m sure it will be used to continue to improve the site for the fans. Giving back.

Read the full article here.

Have you had an idea or a dream that you wanted so bad and didn’t give up on? What was it and how did you motivate yourself?

Blog update

Make sure you are subscribed via email because once I leave free WordPress if you are not subscribed via email you may stop getting my posts in your inbox.

You can now follow Canadian Budget Binder via Bloglovin and continue to get my daily posts in this reader.

If you are a regular reader you would have already received these awesome posts in your email or reader but just in case you missed reading one I’ve put them all together here just for you.

PLUS…. check out the NEW FEATURE I’ve added which is my New Free Recipe IndexYou get all the recipes that I have posted here at Canadian Budget Binder in one spot so you don’t have to go looking for them.

Blog Posts On Canadian Budget Binder This Week

Making a difference


If you don’t already follow Modest Money, hook up because Jeremy has a great site and he is a fellow Canadian Blogger friend of mine who has been around since the beginning and we have worked together, collaborate on projects and help each other out to spread the word about personal finance and much more.

Hello Mr. CBB fans!  

My name is Jeremy and I run a blog of my own over at ModestMoney.com. I’ve been blogger friends with Mr CBB for a while now…I guess ever since he made some waves in the top Canadian finance blogs polls I hosted this year and last. Obviously he’s got a lot of fans and has been helping a lot of people.  When he asked me to contribute to his “Making a difference” series, I was happy to help out.

Well a bit more about me…I’m just an average guy in my early 30s who’s trying to get his finances in order. I’ve made my share of financial mistakes, but I’m learning from those mistakes and putting my best foot forward. I’ve come a long way already. Now I’ve bought a condo, got engaged and managed to make some progress with my finances.

While I admit that my blog was originally launched to help myself, I soon realized how much I could help other people too.  Early on that was more about helping fellow bloggers since I do website marketing work as a career.  It seemed like I was always e-mailing back and forth with some blogger or another giving tips.

As my audience grew to more than just fellow bloggers I made more of an effort to share my personal finance experiences and advice.  I want to do everything I can to ensure people don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.  For example, I wasted way too much money on a brand new car.  By sharing that story, hopefully some people out there will think twice about making that mistake. I  may not be a financial expert, but I do feel that I have learned lots that I can pass on to others. That includes both personal experiences and knowledge I’ve gained by being immersed in the financial blogging community.

We actually all have the ability to help each other become financial responsible. For whatever reason though, finances are a taboo subject that many people just don’t want to talk about.  I think as the financial blogging scene gets more popular, it will play a role in getting more people talking about this touchy subject.

Blog share

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

web search terms

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.

  • Til Debt Do Us Budget- Yup, that’ s the way it goes for us
  • Do you want to be right or happy? – lots to ponder there
  • How to be exposed about love- I’m not sure about this one.. how about you?
  • How to pay off $100,000 quick- Win the lottery?
  • Old man sexy cook- hey… who you calling old.. hahah I’m a puppy ;-)
  •   now we’re really opening the budget gates.. a budget for every sport, career etc.. interesting

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review Dream Big and Have Faith. Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into.


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Reader Question: Ways money can kill the spark in a relationship


Help With My Relationship

Today I have a reader question revolving around money, love and marriage for all of you. I hope after reading today’s post that you, the fans can help Alicia with your opinion. I am only one person and I know that many of you might be in the same position as her or you have been there and can offer up some support. If you have a question you want to ask please email me. You can find all the info on my contact page.

Dear Mr. CBB

I know you run a personal finance blog which I have been following for over a year but since you are a guy I thought maybe I could ask you a question about our relationship problems that seem to be creating a part in our marriage. When we first were dating we talked about money and our finances so we both knew that we were on the same page.

He didn’t have any debt and neither did I since we were quite focused on our careers and staying out of debt. Although we didn’t budget we did talk about a budget after we were married and started to budget as a couple which was great up until recently. We have no kids and are still young but I seem like I’ve jumped ship and there’s no turning back.

We have been so focused on our financial numbers that we aren’t spending any money on “us” to do things together and keep the spark alive in our relationship. I know you don’t need money to have fun but I feel that he has forgotten about me. Sometimes I wonder if he realizes that I want him to be romantic and surprise me with flowers or a special date night that he created. I don’t feel I need to tell a man how to be romantic or that I desire it. It wouldn’t hurt if once in a while if he would tell me I’m beautiful too. It’s the little things that count as well and what I miss from when we first started dating.

I often get jealous when I hear my girlfriends say that their husbands have done something special for them or I hear they are going on day trips and just doing fun stuff together. My husband has become so boring that I don’t know what to do any more, life seems lonely. I want to live my life, have fun, enjoy what my surroundings have to offer even it that means simply going to the beach and watching the waves and taking photos to keep as memories of our time living in that moment. He doesn’t have many friends and that’s because he chooses to be that way so he never goes out with anyone. It’s work and home and that’s it although on the odd occasion he may have a beer with a friend.

I do my best to surprise him but I don’t really spend money because I don’t want him to say that we went over in the budget. A budget is great and has helped us but I also think it’s become so restricting that we are letting our relationship slide. I’ve talked about it with him in the past but he says he doesn’t want to go out for dinner and could care less about the movies as we can watch them for free from the library or cheaper at home streaming them on the television. I don’t argue with him but I believe his thinking is one-sided and that has led me to search out other ways to make me happy.

He does work hard, he’s a brilliant man who is meticulous in all he does and he has lots to do around the house. When you get married and the honeymoon phase is over and if you throw away the key sometimes you find it’s hard to get it back, if ever. I worry about our marriage but at the same time when the spark in a relationship is gone, can you get it back and how? Any tips?



Dear Alicia,

Well, I can’t say I didn’t expect to get an email about relationships since I do tend to talk about them on and off here at Canadian Budget Binder and they are popular posts. I’ve said it before and it’s true that most women simply don’t want money in a relationship they want balance, they want to be loved.

Alicia is not the only one who feels alone in her relationship because of the division of work and play and how money is factored in. Sometimes we let our lives get so entangled in our goals if ever leading to success while letting the people we love take the back seat. If there is no success you may find you’ve not only stumbled at work but also at home and lost it all. Although love is supposed to be about forever and not giving up sometimes it’s hard when you are left holding both hearts.

Marriage breakdown is not always about money, I agree but many times it is. In this case I believe the problem is money and communication between Alicia and her husband. I also believe that Alicia has shut her heart from loving any further because she doesn’t want to feel the pain she feels when she’s lonely. I can tell just by the way Alicia talks to me in her email that her life is blank in many ways yet happy in others.

Alicia wants and craves to be beautiful in the eyes of the one man that she married yet the feeling falls by the side. She knows she is beautiful, every woman is but woman want to hear it once in a while whispered in her ear with gentle kisses. Women want to know that they are the only person in the world that smiles just for a while when their husband tells them how lovely they are. There’s a reason why women love Bruno Mars and why his song “Just the way you are” topped the charts. Hands up ladies if Bruno melts your heart, I’m sure he does. We all crave someone who wants us like a magnetic force. We all want to be loved, that is a naked truth that we cannot hide.

Woman are from Venus and men are from Mars there is no changing the fact that we are on two different levels especially when it comes to emotions. Some men can be dumb as nails and they simply forget while other men are very romantic, they tell their significant other how beautiful they are every single day.

Problems in relationships sometimes fall deeper than what the surface reveals and that’s why it’s important that any couple communicate their feelings. If you stop talking, if you stop feeling, if you stop being one, you will stop loving each other. You may love someone but that doesn’t always mean you are IN LOVE with someone any more.

Sometimes the hurt is too much and that is why people stray because they want to fill that void in their lives and eventually the divorce papers are waiting on the table and the spouse might not have a hope in hell trying to figure it out. Sometimes we wait until it’s too late in a relationship to fix relationship problems and it’s hard to go back. Once the damage is done, the hurt sets in, the anger takes over and we just want to move on.

Healthy relationships

When a couple works on their relationship to keep it healthy it brings together two people who grow and learn more about each other as time goes on. Any relationship that wants to stay healthy takes work or eventually some couples just settle being with the person they are with, even if they are not happy. Is that fair… to you?

Alicia, I’m not saying that all problems in relationships mean the end is near or it has come. What I’m saying is that if you believe in your heart that you want this marriage to work, then push. I often motivate people to do the right thing but if you feel that you just want out because you don’t think that your love is in the right place you need to make those decisions on your own. Both you and your husband seem very focused on your finances although he may be focusing a bit too much on the finances which in turn is leaving you feeling left out, unappreciated and unloved. Speak. Speak Loud. Speak Clear. That’s all you can do.

There is no dating doctor here at CBB, I’m just a regular guy who loves to love and I know that with heartbreak sometimes it brings a joy that we have longed for, freedom. I read a quote once that said that it’s nice to fall in love when you are young but it’s even nicer to grow old with someone you love forever. I believe in true love, I believe in serendipity I believe that we all have a soul-mate out there, we just need to find him or her.

I also believe that two hearts will call out to each other when they love each other and nothing in this world, not even money will get in the way. Sometimes the simplicity of life is easier than dealing with having money in the bank. It’s a catch 22 for some but if you can balance out your finances and your love affair with love, life and your marriage the both of you might just be able to pick up and keep on walking down the path you promised when you said your vows.

I wish you all the luck Alicia and I know that you will do what your mind and what your heart tells you to do without unguarded decisions, after all you took the time to email me for help. I’ll leave you with a few tips below about the spark in a relationship and some common relationship problems and solutions.

All the best,


Relationship problems and solutions

Failure to communicate

When we are captured by the beauty and love for someone there is never a loss for words. We can talk for hours upon hours to learn as much as we can about someone. There is this heated desire to want to get to know someone and when you can talk to them you feel sad inside. You crave them. The problem is after some time when couples get together, move in together, get married, whatever the accommodation that sexual desire and communication may fade.

In fact for most people it does fade but it is crucial to try and keep the lines of communication open and the attraction desirable. If that means talking about how your day went, plans for the week, working out together etc than do it. When couples stop communicating they are giving up on growing old together. Don’t blame shift and certainly don’t turn a blind eye. We all need to keep motivated so find an outlet and surge to the highest peak for when you reach it your happiness will be the pinnacle of all mankind. We can only create our happiness if we are happy with who we are.

Not enough fun

How to keep happy in a relationship? Easy, make sure you make time to play. I’m not talking just in the bedroom either, I mean doing things together. Too much work and not enough play ends up sinking a relationship faster than you can say…. well missed love. We can love someone so much but we put them on the back burner when it comes to building that love most times for work or hobbies. Talk about what you really want money for and plan it so that you fit your relationship into the mix. Having money and no fun doesn’t make things right.

When we give 110% to something we are passionate about we have to remember that living passion is in our face and we can’t deny that we must give just as much to those that are standing before us with an open heart waiting for our touch. Don’t put all your energy into one basket and forget about your loved ones, seek to balance your life.  Take time to plan romantic dates, surprises even day trips to go shopping and pamper each other. Keep reminding each other why you fell in love in the first place.

No savings

When couples create debt together that they struggle to pay off most times it will create some sort of tension in the relationship. I believe it’s imperative to have an emergency savings just so you aren’t always so worried if something should go wrong. Knowing you have some Cash instead of using a credit card or line of credit is worth it’s weight in terms of peace of mind.

Too much debt

Having a  high debt ratio is taxing on the emotions of many couples who struggle to pay all the bills every month. They juggle bills, credit cards and try to make ends meet so they make it to the end of the month. This entire cycle of finances is tough to manage and simply draining for some people. They can give up hope, feel they are losing the battle but it’s imperative to never give up.

Work hard to kill your debt and work as a team to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A life without debt is a life worth working hard for. It may take you some time but when the goals are in place you then have the stepping-stones to work towards lowering your debt load and saving more for the future. This creates a sense of freedom for many although it may not be independence it’s a damn good start.

Focused on financial numbers

Just like Alicia’s husband who seems very consumed by their financial numbers these numbers can tear down the walls in a relationship. The walls are a sacred place in my eyes because they encompass all the love that a couple has built together and once the walls come down the love has been set free. Money isn’t everything. I don’t want to have to say it over and over but we need to realize that all the money in the world can’t buy love and happiness. Money is good for one thing and that is to pay our way through life so we don’t end up hungry and on the streets. The rest is all just luxury to many. Staying focused is good but losing focus of what is in front of you may cost you big time.

Keeping up with others

I want, I want, I want and those are the 2 words that may just cripple you financially and personally when it comes to money. Desiring what everyone else has and trying to make it a reality can burn bridges, burn you out and burn a hole in your wallet. No one is worth the heartache you may cause yourself, your family and/or your relationship so don’t put so much emphasis on “stuff” in your life. If you want something then save up the cash for it and pay for it in full so no looming debt is upon you, if possible.

Lack of romance

Finally, I leave you with love. I don’t go around and preach that I am a Love Doctor but what I do know is that whether you are male or female both sexes crave love. If you forget about the person you were once so madly in love with, eventually they will forget about you. Eventually someone else may find them attractive, someone else may want to know more about them, someone else will catch their heart and reel them in right before your eyes.

You just don’t know it yet. Don’t be a fool.

If you want your relationship to work you have to put work into it. Plan something special for the 2 of you once a month, surprise each other, hug each other, kiss each other, and tell each other how much you love each other every single day. A simple note filled with passion is free. Most of all, smile for each other for when you both smile it tells you that the other person is happy and in love.

I hope this reader question has you thinking about how some people can kill the spark in a relationship often times without knowing it. I also hope it gives you a broader look about how you are approaching your unity of love between each other with your significant other.

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for finding the one, the hard part is keeping that one special person in your life and never letting go. If you want to grow old, grow along the way together and share special times even if it is sitting at the beach in each others arms watching the waves together for hours.

True Love will always find a way to bring two hearts together, forever.

What do you have to say to Alicia? Share your thought in the comment section below.


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Top 3 Reasons why a budget sucks

Not hearing about budgets

A Budget Is Not For Everyone

Not everyone thinks a budget sucks, in fact we love using a budget but I don’t think a budget is right for everyone. If you are working too much or have too much pressure at work the last thing you want to do is count your dollars when you get home. Funny though, that task is now viewed by myself as a positive in my life rather than a task I “must do” in order to build our net worth. If you know me then you know there will be motivation in this post especially if you are someone who wants to take steps towards a debt free lifestyle.

Looking back

Some people say ‘I never look back’ but I do for certain things in my life, especially if it’s to learn from an experience. There comes a time when you have to realize that you just can’t change someone. If they don’t want to use a budget, they won’t full-stop.

When I was on my own and bought my first home at age 21 I can tell you that budgeting wasn’t for me. Looking back it was probably because I wouldn’t have invested the time needed, simply because I didn’t know any better. I worked long hours and I picked up every overtime shift I could which included holidays to get double or triple pay.

I was more interested in making money rather than spending it so why on earth would I need to budget it. That and I was too damn tired to do anything else. Sometimes working too much can drain the rest of your life away.

I probably should have slapped myself a couple of times because I really had no control over my finances, although I believed I did. Most people do believe they have control of their finances and don’t want anything to do with a budget. My sister is a great example because she loves to shop but you won’t catch her with a budget, no way even though she has more debt than she could ever handle.

She knows about money since our parents taught us about money from a young age but she chooses not to listen. This is why a budget might suck for some people. No matter what you say or do you won’t be able to change what they think if they don’t want to change themselves. Some people actually do love budgets like us but many people don’t and in some cases this can attribute to a high debt load if the finances aren’t controlled in some other fashion.

When you don’t know where the money is going and how much of it is being saved and spent then it’s hard to keep track. Even if you aren’t a budget advocate you could easily track numbers in a way that benefits you so that you don’t spend more than you earn. There are some smart, organized people out there that can do that, but that’s not me. I like to see every dollar that’s going in and out plus keeping record of it all in our Canadian Budget Binder spreadsheet.

Not for you

Budgeting is not just for low-income earners either which we talked about here the other day. I even have people who don’t think they can budget because they don’t make enough money to pay the bills. These negative mindsets are what set you apart from trying something and not doing anything at all.

Budgets are for everyone but not everyone is cut out to use a budget. Really, is there a point to setting up a budget if you have absolutely no drive to use it? Probably not. Often we will hear of people on the brink of losing their house, going bankrupt or flat-out broke and in debt sometimes over $100,000 in debt like Tony was and then they decide to give budgeting a try as a last resort before the inevitable happens.

I have friends now that earn good money and take good care of their finances but they don’t budget. They don’t have that urge to know where they spend every dollar each month unlike us who want to know how we are spending our money so we can base or financial decisions from the data we collect. We learned from budgeting that we were spending way too much money on grocery shopping and that’s why I started the grocery game challenge.

I think if someone is hesitant about starting to budget what I would recommend is to start with a mock budget, or a trial budget including only one category. Once you get the hang of it I bet you will want to start tracking more than the grocery budget. Now you know my hidden agenda behind the grocery game and I hope I can inspire others to do just that, take the first step.

Ideally taking the grocery budget would be optimal because everyone has to eat, food is love and most people enjoy being in the kitchen. It’s easier to start with something where the end result is satisfying and fulfilling unlike, say, your utility bills. So when should you say, budgeting might not be for you? Bellow are a few reasons why a budget sucks for some people that I’ve come up with since starting this blog and getting feedback from the fans.

3 Reasons why a budget might suck for you

You tried It

Sometimes people give a budget a try and numerous attempts at it fail so they get discouraged. If you start something with the wrong attitude, you will likely fail. Some people feel a budget is too much work but hard work is what gets people to the top. Nothing in life is easy and besides over time a budget becomes easy.

Some people give up and never want to budget again. If I might add a suggestion it would be to never give up. If you don’t find a budget that works for you, keep looking or create an excel budget spreadsheet like we did which has worked great for us the past 2 years. Sure we have had to make modifications and time to input data but it suits our needs well.

Don’t want it

Then there are the people who flat-out refuse to budget for one reason or another. The most common thread I hear is that budgeting is for people who are in debt or have no money. You know as well as me that it’s bull but that makes them feel better about where they are financially. I know in a subtle way I might have thought that when I was younger. Looking back all I needed was some education and maybe that would have sparked some interest. If we just share our knowledge and experiences with each other it may just inspire others to try.

It reminds me of someone who has no desire to try anything new in life. They are comfortable where they are at and don’t feel they need any change in their life. If you don’t try something how do you know if you will like it? Even if you know the premise behind a budget it doesn’t mean it won’t work wonders for you. Look what it did for Jen and Ken, it changed their lives as it has ours.

No need for it

Some people have a handle on their finances and simply have no need for a budget. If you pay your bills on time, know where your money is going and are happy with that then a budget might not work for you. There are also people who simply have too much money and don’t need to budget from their perspective since they feel they will never run the well dry.

Doesn’t that sound like a rotten place to be in? Sad part, look at all the Hollywood stars who likely have that mindset who are broke, can’t pay taxes on their homes and go bankrupt. Just because you have lots of money doesn’t mean you know how to manage it well. If you plan to go this route you still need to be smart with your cash.

There will always be people out there that think a budget sucks and it’s not for them. That’s fine though because if you have someone who is dead set against something it will never work. You have to want something bad enough that you can taste it. If your goal is to reach financial independence and you want to budget your way down that path, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Dream big, dream loud and bring your dreams to life.

Do you think budgets suck? Why or why not?  


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