New Years Resolutions 2014: My Health, My Money

stop-smoking-New-Years-ResolutionsNEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS TO STAY


With the arrival of 2014, New Years Resolutions are on the minds of many people right now.

Whether you are striving to meet a new fitness goal, quit smoking or better your finances, staying on track throughout the year to meet these goals can be a challenge.

While many people give up on their New Years Resolutions pretty quick, writing down your resolutions and the reasons why you chose these goals can be helpful in motivating you throughout the year.

Whatever your resolutions have a plan and you will find the confidence that you will need to achieve them. I have a couple of New Year Resolutions for the year of 2014 to improve my quality of life.


My health


As a single mom of two very busy, active children it isn’t hard to overlook taking care of myself adequately.

As the kids get older so do I. I may only be 31 now but I want grandchildren one day and if I am not taking care of myself properly now I may not be around as long as I hope.

Being on the go all the time and not always making the best meal choices for myself I often find myself tired so as part of my New Years Resolutions I am working towards making some lifestyle changes to improve my overall health and build some energy.


Eating better


Diabetes is very common in my family with multiple family members in both my mom and dads’ side of the family having been diagnosed.

Reducing the amount of sugar I consume in a day is on my priority list this year and another one of my New Years Resolutions. Having an extensive family history of diabetes I am only speeding up the process by ingesting the amount of sugar that I currently do.

After watching an episode of The Fifth Estate all about sugar, I was terrified and it really opened my eyes to just how much sugar is in some of the food that we eat and drink.

Cutting all pop out of my diet and replacing my daily French Vanilla from Tim Horton’s with tea will give me a good start at reducing my sugar intake while discovering other food and drinks to remove from not only my diet but the kids as well.


Quitting smoking


I am not one to watch a lot of television though in the last 24 hours being New Year’s day and with everyone making their New Year Resolutions, I have seen at least 5 commercials advertising quit smoking aids and promoting a nicotine free life.

I am not proud of the fact that I have smoked for many years and these last few years it has been something that hasn’t been common knowledge to many people. Not only for my health but also to open up more money in my budget I need to quit once and for all.

Mr. CBB shared in a previous post how him and his wife beat the addiction to nicotine coming up for 2 years at the end of January. Not only did they quit, save their health they also saved money on their life insurance premiums which went down after one year of being smoke-free.

While having someone to quit with and support each other along the way can make the whole experience easier to get through, I am doing it alone and after many attempts over the years this will be my last.

Although I have more than enough reasons to quit along with wanting to be in better shape, as something to work towards I have registered for Tough Mudder 2014 and I am determined to bring home that orange headband!

What is Tough Mudder?

For those who are unfamiliar with Tough Mudder, it is a 10-12 mile military-style obstacle and each participant who completes the challenges receives an orange Tough Mudder headband along with bragging rights.

I will not be able to complete this 10-12 mile obstacle course if I am still smoking. With 8 months until the big day I am saying goodbye to cigarettes, this relationship is over!!! The best way to quit is to not pick one up and put it in my hand.

I will not be spending anymore of my hard-earned money to shorten my life expectancy. I started cutting back significantly during November and December of 2013, and 2014 (I know it’s only been a day) to this point has been cigarette free!!!


More coupons


I have to admit that the last few months of 2013 my coupon use slowed down quite a bit. I also missed many opportunities throughout the year to obtain coupon inserts in local newspapers.

Though I did manage to get my hands on a few of them, I will get a lot more this year having printed the insert schedule from Coupon Christine so I will now have a heads up when they are coming out and can plan accordingly to get my hands on them.

As I grow up I appreciate practical gifts a lot more and so for my birthday this year my parents asked what I wanted and I responded with a new printer.

Previously having an inkjet printer, the amount of printing that I am required to do for my job was becoming more expensive than what I was being reimbursed for so printing coupons was definitely out of the question.

Now having a laser printer that will print around 3000 pages per toner cartridge, compared to approximately 200 copies for ink cartridge, a lot more printable coupons will be finding a home in my coupon binder.


Smart goals


Being realistic and setting achievable goals will give you a better chance at meeting them. If getting out of debt is a New Years Resolution for you depending how much money you owe becoming debt free in one year may not be possible.

Set a goal to pay down a certain amount of debt for that year that is doable and then re-evaluate that goal the next year. Our lives will not change and improve overnight but by setting attainable goals you will start out on a better path.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? How do you plan to stick to them?




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The Grocery Game Challenge Dec 23-29, 2013 #4- Final grocery budget yearly analysis

grocery-game-challenge-year-in-review-2013GROCERY BUDGET YEAR-END REVIEW


Where has the 2013 year gone because it certainly seems like it’s flown by since we posted the first Grocery Game Challenge post in January.

This year has certainly proven that we can get over any hurdles we create with our grocery budget but not without turbulence.

There were a few months that we spent more than the grocery budget of $235.00 per month and it took a while to get back on track.

Some of the items either purchased on the stockpile budget or just included in the main shop were bought to accumulate so it will become cheaper for certain items throughout this coming year.

A prime example of this is the “Clear Shampoo” which was at an unbelievable bargain of $0.99, which has led to acquiring approximately a year’s supply.

To be honest it didn’t feel so good having to spend less and less each month so we hope that next year we can try our hardest to stay out of the stores when we don’t need to be in them and to stick to the grocery budget.

In 2014 we will likely start using the Checkout 51 program so we can start saving more money on groceries every month. Now that we have the IPOD we have loaded the free Checkout 51 app and are ready to go.

I’m not sure what our grocery budget will be starting in January 2014 but from the numbers below I don’t imagine in will change too much. However, we are always open to new opportunities to save money in the grocery budget which will stretch the budget further.

The grand total spent on grocery shopping this year was $2626.03 which was $193.35 under budget but if you include the stockpile budget of $195.88 we were actually $2.53 over budget. That’s a pretty astonishing figure considering we set the budget for groceries way back in December last year.

You can see how budgeting your money for each month and then maintaining your spending habits can give results down the line.

We spent less than the amount we projected and budgeted for groceries in 2013 although we did introduce the stockpile budget which was a new category in our budget.

The stockpile budget allowed us to spend up to $20 per month on food that went on sale for an amazing deal that we wanted to stockpile. This has helped us out quite a bit and will likely continue to be part of our budget.

The rendezvous account is something we think we will not continue with rather we will budget more in our entertainment budget each month to make sure we are saving enough for holidays and any day trips we want to go on.

  • Did you stick to your grocery budget all year?
  • How did your year-end numbers look like and what changes will you make in 2014 to your grocery budget?


Final grocery budget numbers 2013


  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Discounts Used 2013: $99.70
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used 2013: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used 2013: $50.00
  • Stockpile Budget Used 2013: $195.88
  • Total Coupons in 2013:$402.52
  • Total Spent To Date 2013:$2626.03 Under budget by $193.35
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38+$17.24 =$82.62<> This is money saved if there is any leftover at the end of a month of grocery shopping for a date night for the wife and I.

December grocery game challenge posts


If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you. I will announce the December grocery game winner in the first Grocery Game Challenge 2014 for January.


Grocery saving tips


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the saving process in your grocery budget today.

Get organized with a freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

NEW!! You can now download the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!


Ultimate grocery shopping guide


download symbol

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly. If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below. If you know a topic that should be discussed, speak up. I want to know. Happy reading.


Food food and more food




  • 1 x Egg Nog $2.49
  • Nabob coffee Sake $4.50
  • Sardo Olives Sale $1.79
  • Selection Olives Sale $1.49
  • Bicks Pickles $2.99
  • 7x Clear Shampoo Sale $3.99-$3.00 peelie coupons
  • Pedigree Marrow Bone dog treats $4.99

Total out-of-pocket $33.92

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2819.38


  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget For December $235.00-$10.28 overspend= $224.72
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $18.00
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used $20.00 chicken
  • Total Spent This Week: $33.92
  • Total Spent So Far for December $59.14+$3.97+$33.92=$203.47
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: Under $21.25
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $21.25
  • Total Coupons Used This Month: $50.00
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $0 New year starting 2014
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April) $397.74+(May) $155.68 + (June) $216.01+ (July) $235.83 + (August) $182.35 + (September) $255.69 + (October) $196.64 + $245.28 (November)+ (December) $203.47=  $2626.03 (does not include stockpile budget) Year to date -193.35 under budget
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38+$17.24 =$82.62<> This is money saved if there is any leftover at the end of a month of grocery shopping for a date night for the wife and I.
  • Weekly Overview: We are home at the relatives for the Christmas and New Years festivities so we didn’t need to spend too much this month.


Canadian Coupons Found


No coupons found this week as we did not go grocery shopping. Check back next week to see what we find. Post your finds as well in the comment section if you like.


Frequently Asked Questions



Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.


  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?


No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.


  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?


The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month. You can post your shops all month-long.


  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?


Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.



Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week and your weekly Checkout 51 offers from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.


  • What is an FPC?


An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.



You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.



I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices. Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.

You may also substitute items in order to stick to your budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this t of our budget like many people do and this is why the grocery game challenge was created.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.

You’ve made a wise decision.

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada!




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The Saturday Weekend Review #51: Extreme couponing 16 yr old and the holidays



After Sunday I’m officially on holidays which means we’re going home to see our friends and family to celebrate Christmas and New Years for the next 2 weeks.

Christmas is one of those times of years that our families can actually all get together in one room and celebrate with the drinks flowing and the chestnuts roasting in the fireplace.

Yes, we love roasted chestnuts. In fact it’s hard to stop eating them once you start as long as you have a cold beer in your hand.

What I love to hear about most of all is how giving people are over the holidays. I am a firm believer that we should all give to others in any way we can be it time or even donations like 16 Jordan from the UK.

It’s not everyday we read about extreme couponing in the UK let alone it being a teenager.

Heck, I’ve tried to get my sister on the coupon bandwagon with no success although she has always been surprised at how well we have done using coupons over the years in Canada.

Jordan started clipping and saving coupons all year while helping his single mother to shave money from the grocery budget. At the end of the year now he went to Tescos with his coupons in hand and his master plan.

With almost $1000 worth of groceries that he paid for with just 7 cents the cashier who has worked there for 19 years said she’d never seen anything like it. To be honest I’ve never heard of anything like that back home but it was nice to read about. Jordan went on to donate all of the groceries to a local charity.

It’s true that you can save hundreds if not thousands using coupons on every day items as long as you are willing to do the work putting it together. In time it gets so easy you do it without thinking.

When I hear about a teen who is money smart like this it makes me happy to see young people of today understand or begin to understand the value of money. His mother seems very proud of him that he understands money so well and is able to save.

I’m sure she won’t have to worry so much about him and finances down the road because he’s getting it now.

I don’t reckon Jordan will stop couponing but what I do know is that he surely has inspired others around the world to take some time to think about others in need and what you can do for them not only at Christmas but all year-long.

Do you know someone who donates using coupons?


Canadian Budget Binder this week


If you missed any of my posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!


CBB at home and the blog


Well, Christmas is around the corner so home-bound we are going starting on Monday. I presume the week will be filled with love, laughter and tears of joy. So much is happening in our lives right now that it’s going to be a great time to sit around and chat with our loved ones about where we are at and what the future might hold.

The dog isn’t doing so well at the moment and it’s hitting us pretty hard, so much it’s difficult to talk about right now. The gifts are all wrapped and I started making my traditional Christmas balls for friends and family last night.

I started with my Mr.CBB’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls which is a tedious job but someone has to do it. It’s worth the effort.

Today I’ll be working on my Festive Coconut Balls and a small batch of Snowballs to finish off the holiday baking. I’m afraid I didn’t have time to venture into different types of holiday recipes this year due to going away for a few days and falling ill this past week.

I trust 2014 will be an even better year and I look forward to what is down the road.


Fan deals and inspirations



Submit your Brag or Inspiration

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

Hey Mr.CBB

I have a brag for you and the fans that I’m excited to share today.

Back in September/October Leon’s launched a giveaway where if you were one of the first 60000 fans to like their Facebook page you were eligible to request a voucher for 2 free pillows valued at $39.99.

I received my voucher via email and walked into Leons on December 6pm (redemption dates were December 6-8) and with no hassle whatsoever walked with two very comfy pillows. Cost:Free…. A good night’s sleep: Priceless :)

-Katrina B


Making a difference


michelle fitnpoor

Making a difference is a part of this post where I share a personal finance blog that I interact with daily and has made a difference in my life.

I have asked the blogger to introduce themselves, their blog and how they want to make a difference with their blog for the fans and for themselves.

Today, I bring you my good friend Michelle from FitnPoor who shares a little about what keeps her blogging at FitnPoor and how she was able to help a friend in financial need. If you want to read more of what Michelle has to offer head over to her blog an check it out where she blogs about her unemployment, journey out of debt and buying all the shoes she can handle.

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans!

My name is Michelle and I run the blog FitnPoor. I hope I am making a difference in my readers lives but below is what I’ve done for a friend that needed some help.

A friend of mine happened upon my post about wanting to be honest about my debt. She sent me an email the next day asking if we could sit down and talk about her money issues. She felt that no one out there was in the same position as her, and she was excited to see she wasn’t alone. Frankly, so was I!

Without our talks and my ability to research plans for her, she most likely wouldn’t have decided upon a debt repayment plan that worked for her or decided to find a side hustle to pay her student loan bills. In turn, she inspired me to keep going with my freelancing and to continue writing our stories.

Come by and check out the blog!


Blog post sharing


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

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


What is a blog carnival?


Some fans have asked me just what is a blog carnival 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.


Carnival Glory


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



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 favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  •  If I ain’t got a pregnancy test can I use an ovulation test?- I can’t even believe I read this
  • Can Starbucks run out of product and give raincheck? -hmmm what??
  • Something worth $85.60 for girls- That just seems odd to me…
  • CBB potato- Are you calling me a potato? lol



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How to get your life back after a divorce involving kids

new -life-old-life divorceYOU CAN FALL IN LOVE AND BE HAPPY AGAIN


If you are or have ever been divorced you will likely agree with me that going through a divorce is not fun. 

The rollercoaster of emotions that you may feel; anger, depression, frustration, helplessness and fear to name a few can drain the life right out of you.

Picking yourself up and regaining control of your life may be difficult to even think about but it can be done. I am a firm believer that no one can make YOU happy but YOU.

I am not perfect and I do not claim to have it all figured out when it comes to life, but you are in control of your life and the choices you make are up to you.

You may not be able to control another persons actions but you can control how you react to them and how you let them bother you. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and observations I have noticed over the last 3 years of being a single parent.


Breaking the ties and refusing to fight


Unless you are someone who likes misery, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you?

Staying attached to feelings that are not reciprocated will only continue to make you feel unhappy and hinder your chances of being truly happy again. You can’t force someone to love you or want to be with you.

Is being unhappy so enjoyable that it is worth fighting about things that are really irrelevant?

Your relationship has ended and the sooner you realize that fighting and arguing only causes unnecessary stress the sooner you will be able to find your happiness again.

Giving in and getting walked all over is NOT the way to compromise either nor should it be tolerated. You are adults, act like adults. Even when you don’t think your kids see or hear what’s going on they can feel what’s going on.

After a few weeks of mixed emotions expressed back and forth between my ex-husband and I, I let him know that I was not going to continue that way. With two kids under the age of 2 at the time I did not have the desire or energy to fight with him and our kids did not need to be exposed to that kind of stress.


Divorce with kids involved


I understand that there are scenarios in which it is not in the kids’ best interest to see both parents.

If children are involved in a divorce and it is safe to do so, the parents need to find a way to parent them separately while keeping their best interests in mind. There is no sense making it seem like you are getting back together if you are not and it’s not fair to the children.

Money is not something that should be fought over as not only does it add stress in the lives of yourselves and your kids but as parents you both have a responsibility to provide for your kids.

There is no reason (other than safety issues) that a mom and dad have to live under the same roof to be able to fulfill their role as parents.

Avoid teaching your kids to dislike their other parent. I was just speaking today with a single dad who hasn’t seen his kids in a few months because their mother has coached their kids and been a poor example by being disrespectful to him.

His children act out when in his care and now she will not let him see them, even for Christmas because he can’t handle them in her opinion. Well, when you are feeding them negative thoughts and showing them that it is okay to treat him that way what do you expect? After all kid’s behaviour is learned and if mommy/daddy acts this way it’s okay for them too in their mind.

As long as my kids are safe and provided for in their dad’s care he will continue to see them and the kids can form their own opinion of him as they grow up.


Child support


I am not a person who desires conflict in my life so I have a hard time wrapping head around some of the horror stories I have heard of the fights over child support. How often have you heard of scenarios where the kids don’t get to see their dad because he doesn’t pay enough to their mom?

My advice to women, and men in some instances….taking your ex to the cleaners for child support is not likely in the best interest of your kids. While child support is necessary and I feel both parents have a financial obligation to the children, keep in mind that the other parent also needs to be able to rebuild a life of their own.

This includes being able to provide a healthy stable environment for the kids, including having a roof over their heads and being able to feed and provide for their child when in their care.

I’ve heard from too many single dads out there about their ex-wives who are constantly asking for money above and beyond what has been set out for them to pay or what they agree on. Some use money as a means to take advantage of each other emotionally and or threaten to keep the child away and this is wrong.

A common concern I have heard from single dads’ is…”I pay X amount of child support but she always asks for more.”

I have no problem paying for my kids but I need to live too.

Money is the root of all evil and in many cases the cause of most divorces. The way some people think I admit I will never understand. Why do so many people fight about money when it should be what is in the best interest of the kids?

One parent may not be in a position to provide as much financially but does that mean that they should lose the right to see their kids? I think not. Rebuilding your life and finances after a divorce is imperative but there has to be limits but it’s not always the way we want them to be.

It seems in many cases that the courts are out to get the dads and at times setting them up for failure. If a man wants to be in his kids life why is the amount of money that he has or doesn’t have the deciding factor for some in how often or whether or not the kids can see their dad?

 Your kids need to see both parents happy.


Time can be as valuable as money


If your former spouse has a genuine interest in being a part of your children’s life then why hold them back? After all the kids having the presence of their father/mother in their life is more important to them then the amount of stuff he/she was able to provide.

Kids should not have to lose out on having a parent in their life because of money. If they are unable to provide financially working out a reasonable custody and access agreement can benefit everyone but should not be used against each other.

As much as you may despise your ex, as long as they provide a safe environment for your children why would you not welcome the help or the break? It sure beats paying for extra child care or a babysitter.

This should not be used as a way to manipulate each other  either rather be compromised by both parties so you work together. There may be times where you both need time away or longer or shorter days with the kids but don’t use it as a fighting platform when something goes wrong. You can’t always be at their beckon call.

Taking a break from single parenthood is necessary for your own sanity as well.




I am very grateful to have stumbled upon Canadian Budget Binder when I did. Creating a budget has been a key tool in making sure that no matter what I am able to provide for my kids I can because I know how much money I have coming in and going out.

In this day and age the only person you can really rely on is yourself and having a budget allows me to go to sleep at night not stressing out about how I am going to buy groceries that week or put gas in my car.

Mr. CBB has many free money-saving and budgeting tools available on the blog many of which I use in my personal life including his budget.

Keeping track of where your money is going and learning what you can live without will make being a single parent more manageable.


When convenience becomes a problem


While many divorced couples are unable to even be in the same room with each other, sometimes maintaining a relationship that is too civil or accommodating to your former spouse can be detrimental as well.

I am not at all saying do not try to be civil with your ex but know where and when to draw the line to prevent further problems in your life.

If one spouse is or was controlling in the relationship realize that you are no longer together and they cannot continue to control you. You have the right to say no without feelings of losing the ability to see your child or emotional abuse.

You can’t move on with your life, fall in love again or expect someone you fall in love with to be put through the ringer emotionally because you allow yourself to be manipulated as a parent or if the ex still loves you and tries to put roadblocks in your path of happiness to stop you from you moving on even if they have themselves.

Sure it was convenient to ask my ex-husband to help me move my new treadmill to my basement when he dropped my daughter off the other day but calling him to come over and cut my grass and be my on-call handyman isn’t appropriate.

Taking care of my day-to-day needs myself and asking a neighbour, friend or family member for help when needed gets me through my days.

How could I successfully have another relationship with my ex-husband hanging around all the time?

The answer is I likely couldn’t because I am not fully giving the attention I need to my new love interest and am exposing them to something they should not have to deal with, a controlling ex.

The sad part is you might just lose the one person you were meant to fall in love with or be with because you don’t take control of a situation with an ex. We hear this so many times where a new relationship falls apart because the parents can’t get along or one or the other is manipulative and won’t allow the other to move on in the love department because of jealousy or resentment.


Emotional abuse


In a relationship what some call love can sometimes be expressed as emotional abuse.

In most cases emotionally abusing a spouse is a form of trying to maintain the power in a relationship. If power and control was an issue during your marriage it is likely to continue to be an issue even after a divorce. Not being allowed to see your children because of rumors that you might be dating someone is a good example of this.

Stand up for yourself as you have the right to move on and be happy and what you do in your private life is none of their concern as long as your kids are safe and healthy.

Your ex needs to realize that you will move on and you will fall in love again and that person WILL be a part of your life and WILL be with you and they can’t stop you, control you or abuse you mentally because of it.

Divorce is something that we do not plan for when we get married but it is all too common these days.

It can go one of two ways…

1. With the best interests of everyone in mind 

2. Selfishly and vindicate.

Always remember that you cannot control the actions of others but can choose how you deal with and respond to them, after all it is YOUR life that YOU need to get back.

Don’t miss out on your life and moving forward because you can’t take back your life and be happy. You may live to regret that one day.

Have you been through a divorce? What other advice could you offer to someone recently separated or divorced?


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Photo credit: “New Life Or Old Life” by mrpuen

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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