Unexpected expenses and savings: Our Budget March 2014

bust-our-budget-budget-updateSAVINGS ARE IMPORTANT

 

We’ve talked about having emergency savings and the budget over the years here at Canadian Budget Binder and for good reason. You need savings for unexpected expenses that pop up.

Savings whether a small amount or a larger amount are important not only to keep stress levels down but also so you aren’t creating debt.

Debt is created because one doesn’t have the cash to pay for a service or product that they need.

Just this month as you will read down a bit further we have purchased a product for our home and required emergency services which were paid from our projected expenses account.

The reality is that things happen whether it’s this year or the next and being prepared for expenses with some savings in the bank is much better than creating debt. Some people as I wrote about the other day don’t mind carrying debt as they see it as a number on a piece of paper and others like us despise it.

I don’t mean mortgages, student loans and car payments because the majority of people do carry debt to pay off some of the largest debts most people will ever have.

I’m talking about all the little things that we should be saving up for before putting them on credit, especially if it’s an emergency. You never know what will pop up so it’s better to be prepared by saving even a few dollars a week or month than nothing at all.

Have you had an emergency come up where you had to put the expense on credit?

 

Where the money went

 

We got out and about a bit this month with a trip to the Home Show at the Direct Energy Center in Toronto. The excursion was mainly to research some house upgrades and get some ideas for renovations and the kinds of new products out there. Tickets for the Home Show were free from a friend but we had to pay for parking although that’s nothing new in Toronto.

The wife splurged and it’s unusual for her to do so, on a brand new hair styling kit for half price but the results were phenomenal. I do have to mention that my wife doesn’t go to the hair salon and gets the odd trim a couple of times per year.

We also bought a much-needed Central Vacuum system of which I will install myself once we receive the shipment. The deposit has been paid but the full amount will probably come out next month. We negotiated a great deal on the system and I’ll likely write a review on the product including how the installation went.

I have started attacking projects around the house that need completing. This has increased our home maintenance category for this month although I haven’t managed to venture outside yet and see what projects there are in the yard as it’s far too soggy at the minute. I have set goals for the month of April to include all of my outdoor maintenance.

 

Unexpected expenses

 

The furnace decided to go wrong overnight during the month and we woke up to a rather cold house. Luckily enough for us the service call only lasted the one hour and the problem was fixed with no parts. There’s another reason that our projected expenses account works as we instantly had the money available to pay for these expenses.

Our clothing budget took a hit too, mainly due to our foot wear purchase because of leaking soles. I definitely got my investment out my last couple of pairs of shoes but now the weather is getting warmer and wetter I thought it would be best to invest in some new ones.

We both picked out 2 new pairs of shoes and managed to get a 30% discount on top which was great. I bought a new pair of casual shoes to wear when I go out or dress up and a pair of walking shoes. The wife bought a pair of walking shoes and dress shoes as well.

We have also been a little under the weather lately which is not like us at all, not sure if it’s a seasonal thing that everyone else has got? You will see our Healthcare/Prescriptions a little higher than normal because of it although a percentage is covered by our benefits company.

Other than that I’m still working my two jobs for the moment although the new job is seasonal and will resume in September.

How did you make out with your budget for the month of March?

 

Get your free budget

 

I’m currently offering 2 versions of our budget and the reason behind it is simple. Firstly, read the disclaimer because what you do with it is your own business so if you mess it up you need to sort that out.

I have not closed off any cells so you can make all the changes you like to the budget to reflect your lifestyle which is what the fans wanted.

Although I would love to help every single fan with their budget I am unable to do so but I am always willing to answer any emails you send me so don’t be shy.

This was after all meant to be our personal budget and although I would love to customize it for every fan that wants to use it but, I’m afraid I cannot.

I’m not selling this budget or hope to make any money from it so enjoy this free budget and I hope that it works for you as much as it does for us.

 

Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet

 

Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet Screen shot

You can download the free budget spreadsheets here.

  • Budget 1- You can use the pre-existing categories or you can use your own if you wish and you have the option to use projected expenses or not. Please read all notes left around the budget for tips.
  • Budget 2-Everything is pre-set so you have to use the pre-defined categories but this budget will generate year-end budget figures where the other one won’t but you must use the categories already in this budget. If you change anything you will mess up the formulas and year-end figures. Please read all notes left around the budget for tips.

I’m always open to feedback but be polite as you don’t want to hurt my feelings :) Get started and don’t procrastinate. Test it out for a month and see how it goes. There is never any harm in trying something new in life.

You either love it or hate it, that is a fact with anything.

What type of budget do you use?

 

Our budget plan

 

How we budget our monthly expenses I often have fans ask me how to budget money and what we do in order to save so much money but the reply is that it’s not about the money it’s about the process involved.

We don’t always save as much money as we would like every month but most importantly we are not going into debt because we are budgeting our money.

One of the most important things we did for our personal finances was that we never let the budget deter us from reaching our goals.

Sure we’ve had crap months but we made up for it or we learned from our mistakes just like anyone else would. Budget failure only occurs when you give up on the budget which should not happen as long as you give 100% into making sure you reach your goals. Sometimes fans email and ask me if living on a budget in Canada is any different from living in other countries.

To be honest I’m going to say, probably not. If I still lived in the UK I could use this exact budget to meet all of my needs. Below are links to the budgeting series which I wrote while designing our spreadsheet. I’m not a financial planner/advisor so I can’t tell you how you should budget but I can show you how we budget our numbers.

I’m just a regular guy just like everyone else; some might call me a budget or numbers nerd. Please take the time to read through the budgeting series and I hope you take something away from the information.

  1. How We Designed Our Budget Step 1- Gathering All the information
  2. How We Designed Our Budget Step 2Categories
  3. How We Designed Our Budget Step 3Tracking Receipts
  4. How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
  5. How We Designed Our Budget Step 55S Organization
  6. How We Designed Our Budget Step 6Who Does What and When?
  7. How We Designed Our Budget Step 7Balancing Our Budget
  8. How We Designed Our Budget Step 8Knowing our Coupon Savings
  9. How We Designed Our Budget Step 9Reading Our Bills
  10. How We Designed Our Budget Step 10- Projected Expenses

 

Budget changes

 

There were no budget changes for the month of March.

 

Budget percentages March

 

March 2014 Household Budget Percentages

 

Our savings of 12.29% includes savings and investments. Our projected expenses this month is at 26.57% which now includes some increases due to overspends explained in the 2013 year in review. The total March 2014 Household Budget Percentages comes to 100%.

 

Budget percentages month by month

 

Year to Date Percentages

 

Expenses breakdown

 

This is simply a breakdown of our expenses which has helped us to understand where all of our money goes. I appreciate that you enjoy this budget update each month but I do hope you view this as an educational tool rather than comparing your own financial numbers as we are all unique.

Sometimes we wish we had more money to budget with but understand that we only have what we earn and if we want more, we need to earn more. Spending less than we earn and budgeting our money has been the easiest way for us to pay down debt and save money.

  1. Chequing- This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from.
  2. Emergency Savings Account- This is a high-interest savings account.
  3. Regular Savings Account- This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
  4. Monthly Budget Total: $5352.51
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$7004.11
  6. Total Coupons Used: includes every discount attained during the month = $0
  7. Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1860.68
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$5091.05
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $7004.11 (total net monthly income) – ($52.38 (cash savings) + $1860.68 (projected expenses)) = $5091.05
  10. Actual Cash Savings Going Into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $7004.11 (total monthly net income) – $5091.05 (actual expenses paid out for the month) + $1860.68 (projected expenses) = $52.38

 

Saving money

 

What are Projected Expenses? - We project expenses throughout the year so we have the money saved. PE= A projected expense is money which is automatically saved each month so it is ready when the bill comes in or when you need it as in the example below.

We review our projected expenses at the beginning of the year to set up our yearly budget and adjust as we go along if a new projected expense arises and needs to be added to the budget. Sometimes we remove a projected expense as well so it’s very important to keep an eye on your expenses.

This has happened on many occasions but it’s bound to happen as we can’t predict everything we have to pay for over the course of the year. The important part for us is that we are saving for these expenses and we no longer have to stress about taking money from our savings to pay for them. To learn more about projected expenses read Step 10 in my budgeting series.

When we spend the money in a projected expense category we move that money to our chequing account in order to pay for that incoming expense.

We pay money into the projected expenses account continually throughout the year even when bills come due as it’s revolving so as one bill gets paid the money continues to come in from the other categories all year-long. So the $1860.68 gets paid into the projected expense account every month no matter what. It seems to be easier to track our money this way but you can do what works best for you.

 

Projected expense example

 

If for example our clothing category was a projected expense we have a budget of $50 per month for the two of us. If we spend $30 on clothes for the month that means we need to pull $30 from the projected expenses account to pay for this expense or we move only $20 to projected expenses for the month and leave the $30 in your chequing account.

It’s up to you how you do it as I mentioned above. I’m hoping to put together a projected expenses spreadsheet to track the expenses all year-long otherwise you need to do that to make sure you don’t overspend what you haven’t saved or will save over the course of the year.

It’s a fairly easy process and becomes a lifestyle change for your finances but the most important part is that the money is available and saved, which means potentially less stress.

This means we should have $600.00 per year for clothing to spend. We have to track that expense as we spend it manually but hopefully for our 2014 budget I can incorporate that into our spreadsheet so it tallies the numbers up as we go along. That way we will be able to know exactly what we’ve spent as an ongoing total.

 

Our numbers

 

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

 

Budget for March 2014

 

March 2014 Budgeted Expenses

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

 

Actual budget expenses for March 2014

 

March 2014 Actual Expenses

You will notice we didn’t put the amount going to emergency savings as we have in the past into the actual budget which was a total of $52.38.

 

March 2014 goals

 

Sometimes I think I am being too optimistic about by numbers but if I don’t reach them I try harder the next month. Stay positive and that’s all you can do apart from bringing the best you can for your readers.

  • Start garden seedlings- Pass
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget-Fail
  • Reach 2600 Twitter Followers-Pass
  • Reach 6260 Facebook Followers-Pass
  • Reach 1620 Pinterest Followers-Pass 1718
  • Reach 1225 Blog Followers- Pass
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance blog-Fail
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question-Fail
  • Get moving with renovations when I can find time-Pass
  • Start Spring cleaning-Pass
  • Update budget spreadsheets on blog-Pass
  • Connect with a new blogger-Pass
  • Reach 1500 Followers Facebook for The Free Recipe Depot-Pass

 

April 2014 Goals

 

  • Get the backyard cleaned up
  • Finish front yard reno with a few plants, rocks
  • Swap out winter tires
  • Hang two flat screens in spare bedrooms
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget
  • Reach 2700 Twitter Followers
  • Reach 6265 Facebook Followers
  • Reach 1750 Pinterest Followers
  • Reach 1230 Blog Followers
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance blog
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question
  • Get moving with renovations when I can find time
  • Continue Spring cleaning
  • Connect with a new blogger
  • Reach 1550 Followers Facebook for The Free Recipe Depot

 

Budget updates month by month

 

In case you missed our budget updates from the start of the year I will list them all here each month.

That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of May 2014 to review our April 2014 budget to see how we made out with our numbers and if any changes were made.

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Are you envious of others’ success in life?

Envious of successSTOP THE GREEN EYED MONSTER

 

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

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

Do you question why nothing good ever happens to you?

Are you feeling jealous of other people’s success?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Envious people

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Job envy

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Financial envy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Happiness envy

 

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

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

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

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

How not to be jealous of other people’s success

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici

Spending cuts and increases: Budget Update Jan 2014

bust-our-budget-budget-updateCOUNTING THE CHANGE

 

Staying on top of our end of 2013 budget spending cuts and increases are going to be critical for us in the 2014 year.

If you missed our December 2013 budget update you can go back and read about where all of our money went and how our budget has changed for 2014.

I’m pretty sure that 2014 will be full of surprises for us so we want to be prepared for the unexpected at least with money set aside for emergencies after the mortgage is paid.

With our mortgage coming due in April to the exchange rate rising we hope that we are off to a bit of a kick-start.

Hopefully in the next month or so we will meet with our financial advisor to go over our investments. We’d like to make some changes for the 2014 year and maybe even talk about if we can get a further discount for being 2 years smoke-free on our life insurance policies.

 

Spending cuts

 

Spending cuts came to us in the form of having to spend less in a particular budgeted category or having to move money in the budget to balance it out.

Either way you look at it the spending cuts from one category affected another category but that is what we needed to do to make the budget work for us in a positive way.

Have you ever been given change at the cash and just tossed it in your purse, pocket or in the cup holder of your vehicle?

Eventually that money grows the more you toss it in the bucket and just as fast as that will add up so will all the small expenses we make so we have to be diligent in keeping an eye out for those expenses.

I bet you never thought to look at it from that perspective but it’s true. It’s just that many people don’t have the patience to wait for the small change to add up to a large amount of money. The same goes with savings in the bank. I read all over Facebook how many people were going to do the 52 week savings challenge. I believe they save x amount of dollars each week starting with a small amount.

You see the small amount makes it seem like it’s a simple task and over time that small amount grows hence giving you a savings. If only people would see how simple it really is and over time you will naturally just start to save the money little by little. I often hear people say they don’t have $5.00 to save but I’m sure if you look real hard you can find it.

This is where spending cuts come in because you have to look at your finances from a realistic point of view and ask yourself what you can cut to make your life easier. It may not necessarily be what you want to do but it will help you sleep better at night. You can always fill your lack of TV with reading new books or visiting the library, going for walks or getting fit.

Sometimes spending cuts might also mean going to basic cable or no cable at all or trying to get your communications company to lower your monthly bill. Don’t give up trying to find areas to save and remember we are never entitled to anything and if you can’t afford it you can likely find someone offering it free or at a discounted price somewhere else ie: internet at the library for free.

The old saying, “you gotta do what you gotta do to survive” comes to mind and if we just did without some of the bells and whistles we’d likely get further ahead.

It’s just that many of us when we get these simple pleasures in life that do cost us a pretty penny it’s hard to let them ago until we are forced to because of lack of funds, bankruptcy or no other option because the company is cutting the service off.

I still don’t own a cell phone myself as I have no purpose for one since work provides me with one while I’m on duty but ultimately our budget numbers are up to us. If we really have to cut something out to balance the budget than we have to do it.

If you find you are bouncing money from category to category each month just to pay bills then you have to be realistic about your numbers.

If your budget is not balancing something is wrong and you must make changes or face the fact that you may never get ahead. As we all know paying the minimum balance on debt is going to take you years upon years (just read the fine print on your bill).

So, this year like everyone else we are going to say on top of our spending cuts so we can do our best to balance the budget. We had some rough months in 2013 and hope we can curb our spending and get back on track for 2014.

 

Where the money went

 

Well, January has been full of surprises for us.

We blew through lots of money in January for our dog as he’s been very ill as you already know. This is just another reason I beg all of you to think about how much a pet costs and the vet bills in case something were to happen before you take the step to purchase an animal.

We are working hard at keeping that grocery budget in check for 2014 with our Grocery Game Challenge.

If you are not involved with it join in, it’s FREE to post your shops and work with the team of players who want to stay on budget this year. We are starting our third successful year of the grocery game so don’t be shy. The rules are all posted on the blog and in every grocery game post you will find the link to the rules page.

We blew over our entertainment budget this month since it was our anniversary so we will make up for that in February by eating in. I didn’t add anything extra for these occasions in the entertainment budget since we don’t eat out often but we figured that if we did we’d just make up for it the next month if we spent over the $50 budget.

Since Valentines is around the corner we don’t normally go out for dinner as I like to cook a fancy meal for my wife so we should be well on track.

We’ve also spent a bit more on the vehicle insurance and home insurance however that is only because our premiums crossed paths during the winter vehicle swap. The actual monthly total is lower around $250 I believe and the refund should be in our account this month. I’ll have an accurate figure for February.

 

Get your free budget

 

I’m currently offering 2 versions of my budget and the reason behind it is simple. Firstly, read the disclaimer because what you do with it is your own business so if you mess it up you need to sort that out.

I have not closed off any cells so you can make all the changes you like to the budget to reflect your lifestyle which is what the fans wanted.

Although I would love to help every single fan with their budget I am unable to do so but I am always willing to answer any emails you send me so don’t be shy.

This was after all meant to be our personal budget and although I would love to customize it for every fan that wants to use it but, I’m afraid I cannot.

I’m not selling this budget or hope to make any money from it so enjoy this free budget and I hope that it works for you as much as it does for us.

 

Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet

 

Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet Screen shot

You can download the free budget spreadsheets here.

  • Budget 1- You can use the pre-existing categories or you can use your own if you wish and you have the option to use projected expenses or not. Please read all notes left around the budget for tips.
  • Budget 2-Everything is pre-set so you have to use the pre-defined categories but this budget will generate year-end budget figures where the other one won’t but you must use the categories already in this budget. If you change anything you will mess up the formulas and year-end figures. Please read all notes left around the budget for tips.

I’m always open to feedback but be polite as you don’t want to hurt my feelings :)

Get started and don’t procrastinate. Test it out for a month and see how it goes.

There is never any harm in trying something new in life. You either love it or hate it, that is a fact with anything.

What type of budget do you use?

 

Our  budget plan

 

How we budget our monthly expenses

I often have fans ask me how to budget money and what we do in order to save so much money but the reply is that it’s not about the money it’s about the process involved. We don’t always save as much money as we would like every month but most importantly we are not going into debt because we are budgeting our money.

One of the most important things we did for our personal finances was that we never let the budget deter us from reaching our goals. Sure we’ve had crap months but we made up for it or we learned from our mistakes just like anyone else would.

Budget failure only occurs when you give up on the budget which should not happen as long as you give 100% into making sure you reach your goals. Sometimes fans email and ask me if living on a budget in Canada is any different from living in other countries. To be honest I’m going to say, probably not. If I still lived in the UK I could use this exact budget to meet all of my needs. Below are links to the budgeting series which I wrote while designing our spreadsheet.

I’m not a financial planner/advisor so I can’t tell you how you should budget but I can show you how we budget. I’m just a regular guy just like everyone else; some might call me a budget nerd. Please take the time to read through the budgeting series and I hope you take something away from the information.

  1. How We Designed Our Budget Step 1- Gathering All the information
  2. How We Designed Our Budget Step 2Categories
  3. How We Designed Our Budget Step 3Tracking Receipts
  4. How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
  5. How We Designed Our Budget Step 55S Organization
  6. How We Designed Our Budget Step 6Who Does What and When?
  7. How We Designed Our Budget Step 7Balancing Our Budget
  8. How We Designed Our Budget Step 8Knowing our Coupon Savings
  9. How We Designed Our Budget Step 9Reading Our Bills
  10. How We Designed Our Budget Step 10- Projected Expenses

 

Budget changes

 

All the budget changes we made in December 2014 for the 2014 budget have been implemented. If we change anything along the way like removing the pet budget starting in February we will let you know right here.

 

Budget percentages January

 

January 2014 Household budget percentages

Our savings of 33.73% includes savings and investments. Our projected expenses this month is at 20.82% which now includes some increases due to overspends explained in the 2013 year in review. The total January 2014 Household Budget Percentages to 100.00%. This was a five-week month based on the amount of Fridays available that expenses go out and income is paid in to the bank.

 

Budget percentages month by month

 

year to date percentages 2014

Expenses breakdown

 

This is simply a breakdown of our expenses which has helped us to understand where all of our money goes. I appreciate that you enjoy this budget update each month but I do hope you view this as an educational tool rather than comparing your own financial numbers as we are all unique.

Sometimes we wish we had more money to budget with but understand that we only have what we earn and if we want more, we need to earn more. Spending less than we earn and budgeting our money has been the easiest way for us to pay down debt and save money.

  1. Chequing- This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from.
  2. Emergency Savings Account- This is a high-interest savings account.
  3. Regular Savings Account- This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
  4. Monthly Budget Total: $5325.51
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$8935.20
  6. Total Coupons Used: includes every discount attained during the month = $62.14
  7. Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1860.68
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$4869.35
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $8935.20 (total net monthly income) – ($2205.17 (cash savings) + $1860.68 (projected expenses)) = $7384.49
  10. Actual Cash Savings Going Into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $8935.20 (total monthly net income) – ($4869.35 (actual expenses paid out for the month) + $1860.68 (projected expenses)) = $2205.17

 

Saving money

 

What are Projected Expenses? - We project expenses throughout the year so we have the money saved.

PE= A projected expense is money which is automatically saved each month so it is ready when the bill comes in or when you need it as in the example below. We review our projected expenses at the beginning of the year to set up our yearly budget and adjust as we go along if a new projected expense arises and needs to be added to the budget. Sometimes we remove a projected expense as well so it’s very important to keep an eye on your expenses.

This has happened on many occasions but it’s bound to happen as we can’t predict everything we have to pay for over the course of the year. The important part for us is that we are saving for these expenses and we no longer have to stress about taking money from our savings to pay for them. To learn more about projected expenses read Step 10 in my budgeting series.

When we spend the money in a projected expense category we move that money to our chequing account in order to pay for that incoming expense. We pay money into the projected expenses account continually throughout the year even when bills come due as it’s revolving so as one bill gets paid the money continues to come in from the other categories all year-long. So the $1189.14 gets paid into the projected expense account every month no matter what. It seems to be easier to track our money this way but you can do what works best for you.

 

Projected expense example

 

If for example our clothing category was a projected expense we have a budget of $50 per month for the two of us. If we spend $30 on clothes for the month that means we need to pull $30 from the projected expenses account to pay for this expense or we move only $20 to projected expenses for the month and leave the $30 in your chequing account.

It’s up to you how you do it as I mentioned above. I’m hoping to put together a projected expenses spreadsheet to track the expenses all year-long otherwise you need to do that to make sure you don’t overspend what you haven’t saved or will save over the course of the year.

It’s a fairly easy process and becomes a lifestyle change for your finances but the most important part is that the money is available and saved, which means potentially less stress. This means we should have $600.00 per year for clothing to spend.

We have to track that expense as we spend it manually but hopefully for our 2014 budget I can incorporate that into our spreadsheet so it tallies the numbers up as we go along. That way we will be able to know exactly what we’ve spent as an ongoing total.

 

Budget for January 2014

 

Budgeted Jan 2014

 

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

 

Actual budget expenses for January 2014

 

actual budget Jan 2014

 You will notice we didn’t put the amount going to emergency savings as we have in the past into the actual budget which was a total of $2205.17.

 

January 2014 goals

 

  • NEW! Reach 1400 Pinterest Followers- PASS (1543)
  • Get organized with blog activities- Somewhat PASS (still working on it)
  • Learn more about affiliate marketing and blog advertising- Work in progress
  • Complete and search out more freelance work – FAIL
  • Read more in my personal finance book- Huge FAIL
  • Reach 6375 Facebook Fans- FAIL ( I don’t really hold contests etc and I find the numbers go up and down and more traffic is coming from Pinterest out of any social media by a long shot)
  • Reach 2400 Twitter Followers- PASS (2468)
  • Reach 1240 Blog Followers- FAIL almost there…. :)
  • NEW! Make a pin for my universal weight machine- PASS
  • Continue with bathroom renovations- PASS
  • Start laying flooring in living room and dining room- FAIL but soon

 

February 2014 goals

 

Sometimes I think I am being too optimistic about by numbers but if I don’t reach them I try harder the next month. Stay positive and that’s all you can do apart from bringing the best you can for your readers. Not much has changed in terms of my goals for February as I have some big tasks that I need to keep on tackling.

  • NEW! Reach 1600 Pinterest Followers
  • Get organized with blog activities
  • Learn more about affiliate marketing and blog advertising
  • Complete and search out more freelance work
  • Read more in my personal finance book
  • Reach 6375 Facebook Fans (2014 goal is to hit 10,000) Let’s do this!!
  • Reach 2500 Twitter Followers
  • Reach 1240 Blog Followers
  • Continue with bathroom renovations
  • Start laying flooring in living room and dining room

 

Budget updates month by month

 

In case you missed our budget updates from the start of the year I will list them all here each month.

That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of March 2014 to review our February 2014 budget to see how we made out with the new figures and if any changes were made.

 

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The Grocery Game Challenge #5 Sept 30-Oct 6, 2013: Is it really a reduced cost or blowout price?

is-it-a-blowout

The Price Blew Me Away Alright

 

Last night while I managed to get my wife out of the house after her surgery we decided to go do a bit of grocery shopping. It was a great time to stock up on a few items like eggs which were a great sale price and grab some milk. Ya, you will see we came out with more than we anticipated going in for and it’s so incredibly hard to stop doing.

It’s common to see the “It’s a BLOWOUT” black and yellow tags in No Frills and Zehrs but this one particular reduced price tag caught my attention.

How to reduce cost so we will buy it?

Do they really think that a $0.25 discount is going to jump-start the engine of consumers and have them clear the shelves? It seems like the word “Blowout” for a mere $0.25 savings might not have been the appropriate word to use for this sale.

I know I say that savings is savings and money is money but when I see a $0.25 with such a powerful word such as “Blowout” I just question the way they market the sales and the product they want to move.

The worst I’ve seen is for a “Blowout” special discount of $0.10.

I don’t know about how you feel but the wife had to hold me back, the thought of saving $0.25 on Apple Sauce was just too great. Of course we bought the grand total of zero and saved ourselves even more.

It almost feels like those bizarre markets you get in North Africa where every vendor says “for you sir, special price” when you already know you being taken advantage of.

A walk up a few feet and we see a block of Cracker Barrel cheese on sale, no fancy Blowout sign and it states on the tag Save $2.50 as if it were no big deal.

Of course, unless the regular price is inflated as it is and the sale price really isn’t a big deal on their end because they make us think we are getting a huge savings when in fact we may not be.

The apple sauce on the other hand may be very close to cost for them and the price reflects it so when they drop it even by $0.25 that is really a “blowout price” because of it being so close to cost for them.

I’m just speculating and throwing my opinions out there with no marketing and product pricing experience whatsoever but I would love understand how they think behind the pricing schemes in the grocery store.

If you know your prices as well as I do then you know that you can likely get the cheese cheaper somewhere else and if it goes on sale you can get an even lower price if you can just wait.

Not everyone can wait but I’d like to think that if a product is on sale and you are saving $2.50 it’s FAR MORE superior in savings as opposed to the “Blowout”  savings of $0.25 on the Motts Apple Sauce.

 

Pricing strategy

 

I’m wondering if the grocery store actually put the “Blowout” tags on sales throughout the store that were actually blowout prices whether or not they would sell more of that product as opposed to a boring ‘sale sign’ that they currently use.

Most if not all of us love to save money at the grocery store and if I was to walk by a product that told me I was going to save a whopping $0.25 I might not give it a second look UNLESS it was a product that I purchase every single week.

I thought to myself if I was marketing products to move them out of the store fast because of date codes that were coming up how would I want to market that product to get it moving off the shelves?

I can only tell you from a consumer’s point of view that seeing the higher savings price is much more attractive than $0.25 savings but you also need to consider what the product is and does it go on offer often?

I often see pricing strategy on new products because they want you to buy the product and taste it so they have some ridiculously high price and then offer a deep discounted price so you jump on it.

I wonder if that is what happened with our Simply Free Sausages that we bought this week? The regular price was over $9.xx and they advertised them on sale for $3.99 and the date codes were long but they also had the “blowout” sign in front of the product.

The hard part was trying to justify whether it was a great price or one that I should just pass up because of the pricing strategy they are using.

If you want to compare product pricing you need to know the prices of the same products at other stores. That is the only way you will know whether it’s worth it or not to you, even if it is only $0.25 savings.

In that even the $0.25 means lots to you so you don’t want to pass that savings up. The problem I am having is saying it’s a blowout price when in reality it’s not as much of a savings as you think.

Would you buy a product that boasted a “Blowout” savings tag if you were only saving $0.25 or even less in some shops? If you need the product how would you approach that blowout savings? Could you justify $0.25 if you know you can get it for cheaper at Food Basics at regular price?

 

September Grocery Game Challenge Posts

 

I will post the previous week’s grocery game here for ease of finding them each week if you need to go back and post your shops for the month.

 

Grocery saving tips

 

Free Money Saving Downloads is lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals. Get organized with a freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comison 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!

 

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

 

Food food and more food

 

Shopping-cartZehrs

  • Neilson Milk 4 L $4.29
  • Simply Free Sausages Reg $9.49 Sale $3.99
  • PC Dried Cranberries Reg $10.99 Sale $7.99
  • PC Thompson Raisins Reg $10.99 Sale $7.69
  • 4 dozen large eggs Sale $1.99 -$1.00 when you buy 2 dozen eggs coupon

Total Out Of Pocket: $30.95

grocery-game-challenge

 

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 September: $234.57 which is $235.00-$0.43 overspend in August
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $2.00
  • 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
  • Total Spent This Week: $30.95
  • Total Spent So Far for September $255.69
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $21.12 (over)
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of (September): $ 21.12
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $21.12 (overspend)
  • Total Coupons Used This Month: $4.25
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $21.12 (overage)
  • 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 = $1980.64 (does not include stockpile budget)
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38 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: Considering we had a 5 week month this month we didn’t do too bad going over budget although we will have to make up for the the overspend again now in October. The year is coming to a close and looking back over 2013 will certainly give us direction in terms of setting goals and our 2014 grocery budget.

 

Canadian Coupons

 

canadian-coupons

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 including Checkout 51 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.

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Buying my first property: Was I too young?

pay check

Minimum Pay For Maximum Workload

I bought my first property at the age of twenty-one even though some of my friends thought I was too young and crazy. I loved to work hard and equally play hard afterwards. It would have been comparable if I were to buy my first condo here in Canada or flat for those of a British background.

I wanted to buy vs rent because with my down-payment I knew that my mortgage would be less than rent. My parents already had a few homes on the go and were renting them out so the mortgage would pay for themselves. It was the best decision they ever made, investing in real estate. They are still enjoying the benefits today of those mortgage-free homes and rental income. Somehow I wanted in on the action early so off I went and I found my first home fresh out of University.

How much do you need to buy a home? More than I bargained for and many people suffer because they fail to plan. I was almost one of those people.

Living pay to pay

Contrary to popular belief, I know what waiting for the next chunk of hard-earned money is like so I can pay the bills. Living pay to pay is not a place anyone wants to be in but for many that is a reality. There are jobs out there but seeing jobs on the job bank is one thing, having the required skills and education is another. Then when you do you are competing for top spot with those fresh out of University, those already working in the field and those still looking for work so it’s a tough world out there.

So, I was a single homeowner, fresh out of school barely with wings and working a full-time job for just above minimum pay to start. It got to the point where I had to really make sacrifices to make ends meet and only because I didn’t plan for the unexpected like I should have. My parents warned me about it so I knew it was bound to creep up on me.

It was probably the first time in my life that I started to feel the congestion of living pay to pay and I didn’t like it very much. I don’t even remember what the minimum hourly rate was but back then and still today we can’t be picky, a job is a job.

Bachelor cooking

Although I loved to cook, grocery shopping wasn’t my top priority and eating consisted of the pretty much the same menu plan for the first year. I was so busy that eating the same, quick, frugal meals seemed like the way to go. Let’s just say the tortellini and I were good friends in the kitchen. I later learned how much I enjoyed cooking through my travels around the world which I carried back into my kitchen.

Less than rent

I put a nice down-payment on the one bedroom one bath property which left me paying less monthly mortgage than I was if I rented in that area of the UK. In a way sometimes I feel like I had tunnel vision yet I was mature enough to say, hey I want to own my own home.

My parents were my money guides growing up and it carried me through into University. I was very aware and watched everything they did and I listened. My parents like many had to struggle to get where they are today but they are living the good life, but it came with sweat and a vehemence to succeed.

After University

Like many other students I thought that after school I would find a high-paying job and life would be towering, especially since I had no school loans to pay back. As you can imagine those pipe dreams did not happen and after University I had to settle for any job that I could find. The market was saturated and competition was fierce for jobs.

I later learned that it wasn’t my calling so I went on to take various jobs, some of which I stayed in for many years and progressed through the company into management roles. You learn a lot about yourself as you move up in a company, especially how much harder it is when you have one foot on the ground and your hands reaching for the stars.

Asking for a raise

It was clear that I needed to cut back on some expenses to make sure that I was saving money and that surfaced shortly after moving into my flat. No, I didn’t have an actual budget like we do today, the thought never crossed my mind as odd as that may be.

Like many other first time home owners we don’t always think of all the “needs” of a home year after year. Home maintenance wasn’t given high enough supremacy in the mathematical process of purchasing the home and that’s why when my wife and I bought our home things were different.

The thought of inquiring for a raise entered my mind, alternatively I needed to make more money or get a second job. How do I ask for a pay raise though? Not everyone is comfortable saying that they feel they deserve a raise in income. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do just to make ends meet but when more money is needed the same applies.

I decided to ask for a raise by setting up a meeting with my boss and simply asking for more cash but professionally. I prepared a pay raise letter at home and then I pretended I was talking to my boss to impel myself to get in and get what I felt I had earned. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but if you don’t try then you are no better off than when you didn’t ask.

First I went over my accomplishments, my long and short-term goals for the company and why I deserve a raise. He must have liked my presentation because I received a raise and a promotion shortly after. I learned that having fear in our lives sets us back but remembering that we are only here once sometimes gives me the acceleration I need to move forward. I guess it’s just my way of being a positive guy, along with smiling and being friendly. Miserable is not me.

Living on one income

When you are living on one income as a single person everything matters and somehow you learn to make time to earn extra money. I gave high priority to making extra money on the side whether it was landscaping, cutting lawns, watching the kids for my siblings or working for my parents. I was always on the go but I also made time for myself to chill out and relax. When you know you have to rely on yourself you do what you can to keep the kingdom operative.  You also know that you have to take care of your health because there is only you, and no one else.

Emergency savings

It took some time but little by little I kept stashing away a few bucks here and there to build up what I like to think was a comfortable emergency savings. I had used all of my money to put a down-payment on my first home so I needed some sort of cushion just in case something were to happen. I had a credit card with a high limit but I was never one for paying by credit. If I couldn’t afford to pay cash I never purchased the item.

To be realistic I knew I needed some money in the bank though, just in case. Even though I may have only added in a fiver one week and more the next over time the bank account grew. That was the positive reinforcement I needed just like when I was a child with my paper route. I loved watching my savings grow and it transferred into an adulthood expedition towards my achieving my dreams.

Buying a house what to do- Investigate

Don’t be in such a surge when buying a home whether you are young like I was or if you are well into your career and ready to make the step into home ownership. Investigate all avenues related to home buying and talk to those that are living it.

Tips for buying a home when you are young

  • Save as much as you can for a healthy down-payment
  • Do your research
  • Plan for the unexpected
  • Save for the unexpected
  • Be open to making extra money
  • Don’t be shy to ask for a raise
  • Do maintain your home consistently
  • Be realistic and set goals

What did I learn from owning my first flat at such a young age? 

I learned that although we have these ideals about where we want to go, what we want and how fast we want to get there, we must plan. If we don’t do our legwork before we jump into big investments the joy it brings us when we make the purchase can be the demise of our happiness. If we aren’t properly educated on what we need to keep the motor running, we may lapse under money pressures if and when they arise.

When I sold my first property and bought my second home a few years later plus a few years wiser things were much different for me as a homeowner. Buying my first house so young may have come with challenges but I overcame them with pursuance.

Was I crazy to buy my first property at 21? Na, I’d do it again if I could because the best lessons in life are the one’s we create and learn from on our own. I’m still young, so if taking risk means I’m young and crazy I guess you can call me bonkers!

How old were you when you bought your first home?

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