Our Family Budget

Time to get serious with numbers: Our budget Feb 2014

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bust-our-budget-budget-updateCRACKDOWN HAPPENS NOW


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Where the money went


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Get your free budget


  I’m currently offering 2 versions of our budget and the reason behind it is simple. Firstly, read the disclaimer because what you do with it is your own business so if you mess it up you need to sort that out. I have not closed off any cells so you can make all the changes you like to the budget to reflect your lifestyle which is what the fans wanted.

Although I would love to help every single fan with their budget I am unable to do so but I am always willing to answer any emails you send me so don’t be shy. This was after all meant to be our personal budget and although I would love to customize it for every fan that wants to use it but, I’m afraid I cannot.

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


Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet


  Canadian Budget Binder Spreadsheet Screen shot

You can download the free budget spreadsheets here.

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

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

What type of budget do you use?


Our budget plan


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

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

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

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

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

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


Budget changes


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

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

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


Budget percentages February


February 2014 Budget Percentages

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


Budget percentages month by month


Year to date budget percentages


Expenses breakdown


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

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

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


Saving money


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

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

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

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

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


Projected expense example


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

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

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

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


Our numbers


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


Budget for February 2014


Budgeted numbers February

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


Actual budget expenses for February 2014


Actual budget numbers February 2014

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


February 2014 goals


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


March 2014 goals


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

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

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

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


Budget updates month by month


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

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




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  1. Nice work on paying off your mortgage (in April). I have a ways to go with ours but slowly making progress. We pay our taxes monthly and they come out automatically through the city. They’re actually lumped in with our rental property taxes as well so at first glance it always seems more than it actually is

    1. Thanks mate. We thought about getting a bigger house but we have just under 3000 sq feet top to bottom and it’s more than enough. Sure there are things we would love to have like a pool and a bigger property but not at the prices they charge today. If we were to sell and move to a smaller city that might change as prices of properties are cheaper. For now we will plan accordingly. For most it’s easier to pay taxes with the mortgage, I don’t blame you. How many rentals do you have? We’ve been thinking about it. Did you start off with something small?

  2. We all have months like that where the money goes out as fast as it comes in…..
    We pay out house taxes every month. We get a bill every 6 months from the town for what we will pay for the next 6 months(6 months interim and 6 months final) so we know what will come out of the account. We were having trouble having that much money available in one chunk so this is easier for us.
    Yes parking in the GTA can be nasty expensive. On those occasions where we had appointments in Toronto at the hospitals there parking maxes out at $20.00 for one day. Using public transit for getting to work will be cheaper than paying for parking but it also takes a big chunk out time wise. If you can handle reading in a moving vehicle this might be your chance to catch up on your reading. I can’t, it puts me to sleep so I end up groggy, usually with a bit of a head ache to boot….
    All in all things are still looking pretty good your way….

    1. Most people pay taxes with their mortgage because of the ease which makes sense. The bus ride is not too long so it won’t be that bad. I’ll likely just collect my thoughts and chill out since I don’t have a fancy phone I’ll be unplugged just for a little bit. Time to relax.

      1. We had paid the taxes with the mortgage too before but for what ever reason the bank decided they didn’t want to do that for us last time we re-did the mortgage….. Can’t remember the reason they gave us but I wasn’t impressed with the whole process last time….

  3. I have to admit, you keep a more detailed budget than I do, so I think I’m going to have to work with one of your downloads! The freezing winter really busted our February budget, as we ended up spending more on heating costs than typical, and I think contributed to an overall laziness which resulted in a couple extra meals out than we normally have. All I know is I’m ready for spring. Bring on March, right?

    1. Go for it mate. The details keep us on track and help us to see where we need to make changes. What are you currently using?

  4. Due to the 5 year rule, the bank pays the property taxes for me. I’m not sure if I will take that over after the 5 years or not. I have a little bit of time to think about that. I’ll be so glad when my daughter is finished school so that my budget can get back to what it should be. Great month Mr. CBB.

    1. It’s been challenging over the years but the mortgage will be paid in full as of April 2014 which will free up money for more investing.

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