If you haven’t read How we designed our Budget Step 1– Gathering the Information, it’s important to read before moving on to Step 2- Choosing Budget Categories.
Now that you have the important information in front of you it’s time to put it to work. We worked as a team on this as it’s crucial for both of us to know the finances. We designed the budget so we were spending less than we net.
- The first thing we did was put numbers to categories that we decided were “fixed” meaning “we have to pay”. Once we figured out the “fixed” costs we allocated the rest of the money to the other categories.
- I’ve highlighted in bold our “fixed” costs below.
- Your needs might be different than ours but it’s important to distinguish what’s right for your family. You can ask me why we chose what we did.
We decided to categorize everything we “needed” to pay or save for although these will change overtime as things change in our life.
It’s important to visit your budget often to make sure that your goals are still on track with what you set out in the budget. By the time you read this I’m betting our Monthly Budget Categories have changed but the concept still says the same.
In a nutshell, as many as you need to get the job done.
- Mortgage/Rent– Whatever the payment is per month, week, bi-weekly. We pay our mortgage accelerated weekly.
- Utilities– I did an average after the first month of bills in Jan for the entire year.
Example: Jan total Utilities $450.00 x12=$5400/12= $450.00 a month approximately.
This could go up and down each month depending on time of year. Monthly we pay Gas and Rogers, every two months Hydro, every 3 months Reliance. So although we are not using $450 every month we save that money for the other months as it averages out.
- Miscellaneous/Renovations-any items not in budget, we tie this in with renovations as we have a bit to do. These are saved in projected expenses until they come due.
Quitting Jan 30,2012NOW SMOKE FREE
- Entertainment-Fun stuff, Dates, Concerts etc.
- Transportation-What we use in fuel , parking and maintenance.
- House Taxes– We have monthly automated deductions from our bank account.
- Term Life Insurance– After 1 year of being smoke-free we will see this decrease. Cost is for the both of us.
- Car/House Insurance– We have both our home and car insurance with the same insurance provider for a cheaper rate.
- TFSA- Tax Free Savings Account-Total Contributions made monthly.
- RRSP- Registered Retirement Savings Plan-Total Contributions made monthly.
- RESP– This is where we save for our son’s education using the government of Canada Registered Education Savings Plan
- Emergency Savings– This is how much we are putting aside for an emergency.
- Allowance- This is what I get for my allowance ex: Tim Horton’s coffee, beer.
- Clothing- This is how much we have to spend on clothing per month.
- Grocery– This is what we spend on Groceries each month. We do not add in Cleaning Supplies, Health and Beauty as they fall under Health and Beauty.
- Work Tools– This includes travel, clothing, equipment etc saved in projected expenses.
- Pet– This is for our dog licence saved monthly in projected expenses until end of year. Update: Our dog passed away
- Dentist– Fees we pay to dentist after insurance which are minimal as we have 100% coverage of last years fee guide. We save these expenses in projected expenses until they come due.
- Vehicle Stickers/E-Test– Cost of vehicle stickers for 2 vehicles and e-test for one vehicle per year. We save this in projected expenses until they come due.
- Yearly Taxes- Income Tax Fees divided by 12 months. I will be looking at ways to cut this cost or even do our own taxes. We save this in projected expenses until due. Update: We now do our own income tax return using the free online Netfile software.
- Christmas- We pick names at Christmas so $50 per person x2 people and 5 nieces and nephews $30 each total $250/12=$25.00 a month goes into our “projected expenses” account.
How To Pay Off Debt Fast
- Write out who you owe money to so you know everyone that you need to pay.
- Find out the total balance owing on each debt so you know how much debt you have.
- Find out the interest rate (this might be shocking but you need to know) If you do not know call the provider but first read step 5.
- Once you have all your debts listed I would budget in to pay the highest interest off first but continue to pay the minimum balance off on the others. Once you pay the highest bill off move on to the next highest on the list and bang that off.
- Call the credit card companies and ask them to lower your interest rate. If they tell you they can’t ask to speak to someone higher up until you get that rate lowered. Sometimes you might have to suck it up because no one wants to hear what predicament you have gotten yourself into so that you can’t pay your debts.
- Check around and compare the best credit card offers and see if any offer a 0% balance transfer that you can take advantage of.
We personally like to have 1 year in our emergency savings but that is what helps us sleep better at night. If you have debt I still recommend you have an emergency savings fund even if it is $25.00 a month saved.
Once I’ve saved 3-6 months in emergency funds while completing the above I would aggressively pay off the debt one by one with the smallest debts first to get rid of them while paying the minimum amounts on the larger debts. As each debt is paid allocate the money to pay down the next debt and so on.
When your debt is clear you can then allocate that money to Savings, RRSP, TFSA, Mortgage wherever you like. Remember this is what we do and what you need to do is up to you and it’s always wise to contact your advisor for professional advice when dealing with your own finances.
- When we calculated our emergency savings we included everything in our budget except entertainment, allowance, clothing,Investments and lottery. These were items we knew we could put on hold in the case of loss of job or injury.
I will also be posting a Monthly Budget Update where you can view our actual budget so you can see our categories and where all of our money is going each month.
Discussion: What do you struggle with the most when trying to figure out what budget categories you need?
Now you can move on to Step 3 In How We Designed Our Budget-Tracking Receipts.