Keeping busy helped us spend less: August 2014 Budget Update

bust-our-budget-budget- August-2014-Spend-lessNO TIME FOR SHOPPING


It’s true that if you keep busy you may spend less in your budget because you have no time for shopping.

Of course that is only true as long as keeping busy doesn’t entail going to the shopping mall. I know some of you were thinking that.


Spend less and save money


It’s not that we spend lots of money in the first place but when we are just browsing it does open the mind to ideas of spending money.

We’ve been caught on many occasions buying things that we didn’t need at the time which is still waiting to get installed. This is what our budget is trying to avoid doing but it takes more than having a budget to spend less money. To spend less it takes persistence and a desire to want to stick to that budget.

I can’t tell you how many times my wife has wanted me to run out in the middle of the night to buy her food to kill her baby cravings. I’ve said no and many of you might think that’s mean but she has thanked me the next day for not listening to her. She didn’t need it nor did we need to spend the money on a craving when there is plenty to eat in the house.

The past month the wife and I haven’t had time to do anything together besides buying renovation materials and groceries. I’ve worked so hard to get this bathroom done and she hasn’t been in any mood to do anything more than grocery shopping and a short walk around the block just to get out of the house when we have some downtime outside of work.

Other than working around the house and trips to the hospital all of our time has been accounted for where we had no time to do anything more than sleep, eat, work and renovate. It’s not the best balance that we opt for because we wanted to do more this summer together but we just didn’t have that opportunity.

Don’t confuse us not doing anything to being so frugal that we stay home all the time either, that’s not the case. Sure we could have dropped everything but I’d still have to work on the bathroom and remodel the baby room.

I’m planning a day out for the two of us to enjoy a romantic dinner and a movie if she is up to it as I have a coupon for buy one movie ticket get one free that needs using up. (shocked aren’t you, lol) It’s been a long time since we’ve went out for dinner so we both deserve it.

There are pros and cons to keeping busy and spending less in your budget but you still need to balance your life so you don’t miss opportunities to chill out and smell the roses.

Have you ever found when you are super busy you spend less money?


Where the money went


If you scroll down you can see the actual numbers for each budget category. Below I will chat about the budget categories that might have to be explained.

  • Allowance- I’ve bought the odd coffee while I’ve been out but have hardly been going as I’m too busy. I also bring my lunch and beverages with me to work but sometimes if I’m out with the wife we use my allowance for a beverage if I have any leftover room in the budget.
  • Electricity/Water- Our Hydro and water bill this month was a bit higher than normal but not unusual as it
  • Gas (vehicle)- We spent more in the gas budget this month having to drive back and forth to the hospital which is out-of-the-way for us. I also try to stock up on gas in my gas bins while it’s cheap so sometimes I may have a large can of gas in the garage waiting to be used up. Is that a gas stockpile then… eesh! I don’t keep any more than 2 at a time plus I use it for the lawn mower.
  • Gas (home)- This bill came in lower as it’s summer time but I’m sure now that we run into the fall and winter we will slowly see this bill rise.
  • Grocery- Our grocery budget is staying pretty steady for the 2014 year although we may look at an increase in 2015… just a little one. In August we didn’t buy lots mostly cereal, breads and soups as we don’t have too much time to cook and with the wife pregnant and me so busy quick is best for now. I’m sure once things settle down I’ll be in the kitchen more. I did manage to make a few batches of muffins and a lovely spiced rum oatmeal raisin cookie which I can’t wait to share with all of you. I do need to go to the LCBO to get a bottle of the spiced rum as I used a sample bottle I had in the liquor cabinet.
  • Misc- This category always seems to fill up with bits and bobs that we don’t know how to classify.
  • Parking- I had to pay for another parking pass at the hospital which costs a fortune but what can you do.
  • Renovations- The number speaks for itself especially since you already know I’m renovating the bathroom. To be honest this is a pricey reno but if I had to pay someone to do it I could only imagine how much more this budget category would have jumped. So far it looks amazing and I’m happy with the results even if I am taking my time and making it as perfect as I can. I did score some deals with materials on no-tax days or discount days from the big box stores.
  • Stockpiling- We actually came in under budget for our stockpiling this month which was great. We did want to load up on cheese that went on sale but just didn’t have the time to make it out to the grocery store across town.


Unexpected expenses


Most of our unexpected expenses in August are because of the bathroom renovation. It’s true what they say about over-budgeting for a renovation.

There was always something I had to run back to the store for not to mention the price of the custom work such as the shower door which will be in the September budget. It was a bit of a shocker for us but we are paying to get it done right.

I also had to buy a second tile cutter which wasn’t too pricey at under $100 plus tax but I needed it to cut the large tiles I bought.


Budget changes August


There were no budget changes in August as most of them were completed in July to reflect us paying off the mortgage and baby on the way.

Other than that the only other change we will be making is removing the blog category from our budget. We are going to be tracking those expenses aside from our family budget to keep organized throughout the year. You will see the change in the budget for September.

I’m also back to working my second job so we will start to see an increase in our net income for the month.


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 Budget Spreadsheet

(Click to see a larger version of the budget spreadsheet or download it for FREE)

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, which 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. There is no one money manager in our household as we are both responsible for tracking expenses.

It doesn’t matter if you are using a cash only budget or you use your debit and credit cards throughout the month if your budget doesn’t balance then you likely have budget issues you need to review. You need to learn how to be your own money manager because no one else will care about your money more than you ever will.

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. In fact we are currently debt-free including the mortgage which means all we pay for is monthly bills and expenses we create or that are fixed expenses such as the hydro and water bill etc.

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. We didn’t always earn the income we do today but what made do with what we were earning year after year so we didn’t go into debt.

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.


Our budgeting series


Please take the time to read through the budgeting series and I hope you take something away from the information. If you have any questions about what we do with our money tracker ie: The Budget than feel free to email me. I may expand more on the topics as we go along and add some mini-series on how we budget to break it down even further for you.

  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 percentages August


August 2014 household percentages

Our savings of 25.97% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month. Our projected expenses this month is at 26.39% which now includes some increases due to overspend explained in the 2013 year in review.


Budget percentages month by month


August 2014 Year to Date


Expenses breakdown


August 2014 income

This is simply a breakdown of our expenses which has helped us to understand where all of our money goes. As of May 2014 we are mortgage free so much of our money will be directed at savings, investments and renovations. We still need to sort out how much we are putting into our investments with our advisor but will have that sorted out soon as there is another account we need to start with him.

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 our situations are all unique.

Almost 7 years ago I started working in Canada making a bit over minimum wage and have since moved up the ladder. I’m now working very hard to secure my dream job with a foot in the door. We aren’t all lucky but if you do the best you can at least you can look back and say you gave it a shot.

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: $4545.68
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$7114.86
  6. Total Coupons Used to date: $57.69 (Check out our Ultimate Grocery Guide to see where our grocery money goes)
  7. Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1877.35
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$4198.20
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $7114.86 (total net monthly income) – $1877.35 (projected expenses) + $1039.31 (emergency savings) = $4198.20
  10. Actual Cash Savings Going Into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $7114.86 (total monthly net income) – $4198.20 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1877.35 (projected expenses) = $1039.31


Saving money


What are Projected Expenses? – We project expenses throughout the year so we have the money saved. PE= A projected expense is money 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. So this means the numbers go up and down in the projected expenses account based on what we need to pay for that we saved for in the account over time.

The only thing you need to do is track your projected expenses each month manually as I can’t customize that for you in the excel budget spreadsheet as I don’t know what you will use for projected expenses.

For now we will have to manually track which means month after month we add up what we save in each projected expense category and minus what we spend so we know how much we have and what is left in each category. I’ll be updating our personal excel budget spreadsheet for 2015.

We pay money into the projected expenses account continually throughout the year even when bills come due as its revolving so as one bill gets paid the money continues to come in from the other categories all year-long. This ensures that money is always available. It may not always be enough but having something ready is better than having nothing at all and having to use credit.

So the $1877.35 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 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 August 2014


Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of August 2014. This budget represents 2 adults and baby on the way plus all of our investments although we are not paying into the RESP yet we have that structured in our budget so we get used to it ahead of time.

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.

(Click photo to see larger image)

Budgeted August 2014


Actual budget expenses for August 2014


Actual August 2014

There is one error on the actual chart and that is the stockpile where we actually used only $8.00 in August but I realized after I finished the chart of the $20 mistake…. errors can happen so watch for them.

Another thing I need to do is change my lottery to $24.00 as we are not splitting any longer with a family member which I will do for September.


August 2014 Goals


Find out if we accomplished our goals for August. I’ll leave a note by each bullet point.


  • Finish adding lighting to the front yard landscaping- FAIL
  • Hide the wires for the flat screen TV in the baby room-FAIL
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget- (ongoing)
  • Reach 3200 Twitter Followers- PASS
  • Reach 6500 Facebook Followers- So Close… 6494
  • Reach 1840 Pinterest Followers- So close…1827
  • Reach 2610 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook -Fail 2953
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance blog- FAIL
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question– PASS (I’ve chatted to many new bloggers this past month)
  • Finish a page on the blog I’ve been working on- (ongoing)
  • Connect with a new blogger– I connected with many new bloggers this past month since I was looking for new personal finance bloggers to feature in my Making a Difference segment on Saturday’s. I enjoyed chatting to them and networking really does pay off.
  • Finish the bathroom renovation- I’m not done yet but plan to be done by the end of September.
  • Repair the fence in the back garden- I don’t know if I will get around to this but I’m going to try. I also have to go and fix a fence cap that looks like it’s ready to fall off. I don’t suspect my neighbours will do it so I better otherwise I’ll be paying to put a new one up.
  • Paint baseboard in the back room- I haven’t had time to tackle this yet but I’m hoping to at some point… soon!
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- Fail but it’s not high on my priority list. I’m hoping to find something that won’t get too disgusting in the garage. I find the white blind gets filled with muck and bugs and it’s gross. Any suggestions?


September 2014 Goals


  • Finish adding lighting to the front yard landscaping
  • Hide the wires for the flat screen TV in the spare bedroom
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget (ongoing)
  • Reach 3350 Twitter Followers
  • Reach 6505 Facebook Followers
  • Reach  1840 Pinterest Followers
  • Reach Followers Facebook for The Free Recipe Depot
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance blog
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question
  • Finish a page on the blog I’ve been working on
  • Connect with a new blogger
  • Finish the bathroom renovation
  • Repair the fence in the back garden
  • Paint baseboard in the back room
  • Buy a new blind for the garage
  • Finish the walls in the baby room
  • Start cleaning up the yard for Fall


Budget updates month by month


In case you missed our budget updates from the start of the 2014 year… here they are.


That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of October 2014 to check our September 2014 budget to see how we made out with our numbers and if any changes were made. Hopefully I’ll have lots more done with the budget numbers.

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!


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  1. I had a very busy week too, my daughter had their school activity for a whole week! I only spent for our groceries and we had a lunch out with some of my friends. Planning a romantic dinner and a movie would totally be a perfect idea!

  2. I have been working a lot of hours at work, plus the odd Saturday. I find that when I get home, I’m pretty tired, however I do the things that need to be done around the house such as laundry and cooking. Afterwards, all I want to do is veg. The last thing I want to do is go out to the stores and shop. Mind you though, I’m not even much of a shopper to begin with. I do have a few things on my wish list that I would like to purchase, but there is no immediate need for them.

    The only things I have been purchasing so far have been groceries, toiletries and gas, which are all basic necessities.

  3. We’re about to start our bathroom renovation and I’m already a bit worried about the numbers! We’re not going for anything fancy and yet everything is beginning to add up. It does need doing and it’ll look lovely when it’s all finished, but boy, houses are expensive!

  4. I sometimes find it difficult to track my expenses down to the little details. I budget my expenses before I go out and try to not spend more than I have. If have some notes left I keep them so that maybe I can treat myself with a fancy beverage/food later in the month. If I have coins that don’t add up to $1 I put them in a coin jar. Then at the end of the month I will either save the money left over from the budget in my bank account or treat myself for something that I’ve been wanting to do/get but don’t have the money to pay for it before.

  5. Ditto on the renovations! We just did our laundry room, out of necessity, and yep, we were about 10% over our projected budget. From now on I think we’ll just add in that 10% projected overage column from the get go. Hope all is well with Mrs. and baby CBB!

  6. I am really impressed with your strategies in monitoring your expenses. It’s like all expenses are coded in spreadsheets. I wish I were like a detailed-oriented person and adept in Excel like you. Hope every will turn out well so that you can save more and get lesser stress. Goodluck!

  7. Wow, most websites don’t contain as much information as this post does. You certainly can write. It has been a while I involved in a project like renovating a bathroom. I actually can do with one now to take my mind away from the work. I seem to be hitting the fridge too often these days because of stress or boredom. I agree that keeping busy is good for your body, mind and wallet. Thanks for this great post.

  8. I wanna metion before I forget because I will that you guys should look into long term parking at the hospital.
    When our little miss was in the nicu it was $15 for 8 hours or $40 for a whole week!!! Too bad we didnt know till a few days later but at least we had planned for it and had the cash onhand. We are lucky to live close to the hostipal but with coming and going sometimes multiple times a day it sure paid off to have that week pass. Then when she was released earlier than planned we just gave the ticket to someone in the parking lot. Hopefully your has some kind of long term rate as well.

  9. Congratulations on being mortgage free. We were mortgage free at 28 and that enabled us to retire at an early age. Though we never itemized our spending as you do , being busy is one key. When I went to university in my 30’s we always swore our stash of money was making babies, lol. Though we now could afford it, we still watch Ota tv and netflix. Meets our needs. I have an extreme dislike for anything that commits me to monthly payments, therefore I use magicjack, and prepaid cell phones. As we go away for months at a time we use sympatico as it allows you to suspend your account for 6 months. And I make sure to negotiate my rate every year. As some people say, watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

  10. I am so glad you are planning a romantic night out….trust me in my 9th month of pregnancy with our first daughter my husband took me to a very nice restaurant we can’t afford (I know don’t follow my advice LOL) but it still meant so much to me…I felt so tired, frumpy and just ickkkk…your a good guy Mr. CBB…so where ya’ll gonna’ go or is it a surprise?

  11. It amazes me how much renovations can cost!!!! For those that will quote ‘Murphy’s Law’…. I say Murphy was a blinking optimist!!!! We’ve been there and spent that over the years.
    I feel your pain about the parking at the hospital. One of the benefits of not having to go to the hospital all the time with hubby lately has been the break in parking fees. The joy of going to the local hospital is that they don’t charge for parking!! Stratford is flat rate at $5.00 and London maxes out at $12.00 a day per hospital. When we had to go to Toronto I know it was $20.00 a pop. Brutal….I know we can get passes at the various hospitals and if you are going to be there a lot the pass is the way to go. My Dad got one when Mom was sick and we passed it back and forth with both of us using it to be with Mom during her last days.
    The budget is looking good with you and with the Little CBB coming. Hope things there go well for all ……

    1. I know isn’t it crazy! The parking fees are crazy especially with all the back and forth all the time. We got the monthly pass it was a bit cheaper.. not much but I’ll take what I can get. The budget needs a bit of tweaking which I will work on for next month. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Christine!

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