Sometimes you just have to spend money : September 2014 Budget Update

bust-our-budget-budget-update-spend-moneyDIG INTO YOUR WALLETS


I’m probably the last person you thought who would tell you that sometimes you simply have to spend money.

Spend money… that’s right. You can’t go to the grave with it so why not spend the money you worked hard to save?

It’s true that it’s great to make money and watch your net worth grow but you can’t hang on to every penny without spending some of it.


Spend money using a plan


It’s fine and dandy saving money but there will come a time when you have expenses that you might not want to pay for but you’ll have to. There will also be times where you want to splurge on yourself because you’ve reached your financial milestones or any goals that you’ve set for yourself. The key to remember is that you shouldn’t spend money that you don’t have.

What that means is if you haven’t saved the money yet you shouldn’t be rewarding yourself. This only contributes to debt and even though your intentions to pay back debt are important remember that anything could happen.

As you will see below in the charts our budget for September was way out of whack. We spent far more than we earned but we didn’t just blow money, we planned the expense.

This past month we finally gave up and decided to buy a well deserved new mattress set. We’ve been using king size mattresses that were well past the comfort date. My wife was struggling to get out of bed when she was pregnant and the mattress was so soft and worn out (mind out of the gutter) that it was horrible to sleep on.

There were times I simply could not sleep or I just didn’t sleep as well as I should have. Even though I tend to work odd hours and lots of them I’d have to resort to sleeping pills just to knock me out. While walking by Sleep Country Canada we decided to take the next step and go inside.

We have never shopped for a mattress before because they were passed down to us. Immediately we were overwhelmed not only by the selection but the prices. They certainly don’t sell low-quality products at Sleep Country so you can be sure that whatever your body fancies you’ll not only pay for it but you’ll get what you pay for.

We spent a good hour laying on bed after bed when we finally found the mattress we wanted to take home with us. Keep in mind we have a newborn so we were shopping sleep-deprived and exhausted. That is probably just as bad as shopping for food when you are hungry. Laying in any of those beds felt good but we did end up with one that ticked off all the boxes for us.


Spend money you won’t regret spending


The mattress price tag was decent as it was on sale but we wanted to add the remote control with an adjustable base. So my wife and I could raise our own side up and down as we please.

It’s great for us both to feed the baby and to watch tv. It’s also great just to hang out with my wife and chat as you don’t always want to be laying flat on your back.

If you’re someone who loves to read this kind of bed is for you. Some people don’t watch any TV in the bedroom and might not find this bed as something that appeals to them but for us it was what we wanted.

We didn’t need to buy it but we wanted it because we knew that it was something that would last us a long time. When we get older and can’t get out of bed this will be great so we aren’t forcing the aches and pains getting in and out of bed.

My wife managed to negotiate a great deal with the amazing salesperson which was around $3500 for the complete set down over a $1000 just on the base alone. We did manage to get 50% off our sheets and waterproof mattress pad which put us closer to $3700.

They also removed the old mattress and bases for $10 which is cheaper than what I can get rid of them for at the dump because I would have had to make 3 trips each at a minimum dumping fee of $25 each time.

So this is our splurge but one that we saved for and will last us a long time. There is nothing more important than a good night’s sleep and we both agreed it’s hard to put a price tag on that happiness.

In August you might recall we spent quite a bit for our bathroom renovation which is now on hold. I will be spending more money as the weeks progress as I’ll be jumping back into that scene so I can finish it up.

This year will be a big year for us in terms of expenses as you will notice in our upcoming Net Worth post next week. Although we did sleep on the decision to buy the new mattresses I’m happy to report that sleeping at night is better than what we were having to endure.

Do you spend money you saved to make your life better?


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 spent more than my allowance this month on coffee and muffins while on the road and in hospital. Most of the meals and food went under entertainment.
  • Gas (vehicle)- This was under for the month since I had 3 weeks off from work which meant no travelling to work.
  • Entertainment– This took a big hike because of us having to stay in the hospital for a week with our son. I wasn’t fed so I had to spend money to eat even though we packed lots of snacks. It’s just not possible to bring a weeks worth of meals so I had to buy food although my wife gave me anything she didn’t eat. Hospital food in Canada is rubbish although I’m pretty sure it’s not the best at most hospitals unless you are someone special.
  • Grocery- We went over budget this month but we will make that up in October. Most of what we bought was stocking up on snacks for the hospital and quick meals such as soup.
  • Parking-  Our parking allowance went through the roof because of paying for 10 passes at the hospital where our son was born. It made more sense to get a pass rather than pay a daily fee.
  • Baby– This was more than we anticipated in terms of formula which I will explain more soon in a blog post.
  • Misc- We bought a mattress set that cost us a fortune but a good fortune, I sleep better at night now.
  • Taxes- What can I say, the city wants their money although this was a projected expense and saved.


Unexpected expenses


We didn’t have anything unexpected pop up apart from buying the new mattress set. Other than that I bought some bits and bobs for the bathroom renovation.

Our parking pass for the hospital ran out so that set us back close to $100 and we still have about 7 more visits on the card which is fine. My wife also ordered the Internet when she was in the hospital but she used $30 she earned completing a food study to pay for it apart from about $6.00 which came out of our budget.

September was also tax time which meant the city wanted their tax money from us.


Budget changes September


Since our son made his worldly appearance this September I took 3 weeks off from work where one week was unpaid. This is the reason our net income wasn’t as much as it normally is. I did manage to have a holiday paid out which covered one days pay so I didn’t lose as much money.

It was more important to me spending time with my wife and son than to be at work earning money that we would be able to survive without. I will always put my family first.

Other budget changes you will see is our pet category has been removed and I’ve increased the lottery has been increased to $24 a month although we haven’t bought tickets for two weeks in a row as we’ve been so busy.

Our baby is costing us a bit right now but we’re expecting that to change. I’ll be writing a blog post about why the expense for the baby jumped and why it will go down in the upcoming months.

We applied for the Child tax credit and Universal tax credit which we were going to use towards his RESP. We decided that we would open a PC bank account for him and save the monthly child tax credit for him and we will pay in full for the RESP from our budget. This means the budgeted amount for the baby category will change once we have accurate figures in the next month or so.


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.


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 September


September 2014 budget percentages

Our savings of 12.35% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month. Of course this month there was no emergency savings so the percentage only denotes Investments. The total spend this month comes to a whopping 143.43% which shows that we spent all our income this month and used almost half a months income on top.

You can also see that the splurge on buying a new bed also had a catastrophic effect on our Life Ratio which for this month was 80.50%. Our projected expenses this month is at  28.68% which now includes some increases due to overspend explained in the 2013 year in review.


Budget percentages month by month


Month by month September 2014


Expenses breakdown


September 2014 figures

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.

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: $4425.18
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$6544.86
  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 = $1744.85
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$7509.84
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $6544.86 (total net monthly income) – $1744.85 (projected expenses) + $2709.83 (money taken from emergency savings) = $7509.84
  10. Actual Cash Savings coming out of Emergency Savings: Calculated is $6544.86 (total monthly net income) – $7509.84 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1744.85 (projected expenses) = -$2709.83


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 $1744.85 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 September 2014


Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of September 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)

September 2014 budgeted amount


Actual budget expenses for September 2014


Actual September 2014 Budget


September 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-This may have to be put on hold until Spring 2015.
  • Hide the wires for the flat screen TV in the spare bedroom- This has not been completed.
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget (ongoing)-Nope, not done yet.
  • Reach 3350 Twitter Followers- PASS 3527 WOW! A great month for Twitter.
  • Reach 6505 Facebook Followers- PASS 6519 I’m happy with the progress since Facebook has been difficult to reach people these days.
  • Reach  1840 Pinterest Followers- PASS 1848
  • Reach 2624 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook- PASS
  • Reach 138 Followers Bloglovin- This is NEW!>>> Follow me HERE!
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance book- Book is getting dusty
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question- I did, I did. 😉
  • Finish a page on the blog I’ve been working on- Nope, not completed.
  • Connect with a new blogger- I’ve connected with a few as I want to start networking out more plus I’m looking for personal finance bloggers to showcase in my Saturday Weekend Review.
  • Finish the bathroom renovation- Not even close!! With baby arriving this has been put on hold for now.
  • Repair the fence in the back garden- I repaired part of the fence but will have to finish the rest in the Spring 2015.
  • Paint baseboard in the back room- This will be completed in the Spring 2015
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- This is on a if I remember when I shop basis right now.
  • Finish the walls in the baby room- A few bits left to do mainly just fill in some holes from old hanging photos.
  • Start cleaning up the yard for Fall- I’ve done one major clean-up so far and likely will do another in October.


October 2014 Goals


Check back next month to see how well I complete the following tasks for the month of October.

  • Finish adding lighting to the front yard landscaping-This may have to be put on hold until Spring 2015.
  • Hide the wires for the flat screen TV in the spare bedroom-
  • Complete projected expenses tracking sheet for budget (ongoing)-
  • Reach 3600 Twitter Followers-
  • Reach 6525 Facebook Followers-
  • Reach  1855 Pinterest Followers-
  • Reach 2630 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook-
  • Reach 140 Followers Bloglovin- This is NEW!>>> Follow me HERE!
  • 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- I repaired part of the fence but will have to finish the rest in the Spring 2015.
  • Trim the trees in our back-yard and compost leaves-
  • Paint baseboard in the back room- This will be completed in the Spring 2015
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- This is on an ‘if I remember’ when I shop basis right now.
  • Finish the walls in the baby room-
  • Finish cleaning up the yard for Fall-
  • Send baby photos to the UK-
  • Get baby set up for RESP-
  • Get Child Tax Credit set up-
  • Open a bank account for our son-


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 November 2014 to review our October 2014 budget to see how we made out following our own budgeting rules.

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!


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  1. I just rewarded myself with a baseball glove, the quality one. It cost much higher than the typical one but I consider it’s worth buying it. It can also be used by my son. Sometimes, it’s really good to reward ourselves with something that can make us positive even getting small things.

  2. I believe that you get what you pay for. It’s not always worth it to skimp on everything, sometimes you have to spend more so you can get better quality. The mattress sounds like money well spent, especially because you were able to get great deals before you came up with the final price!

  3. My grandmother always said buy quality, you can never go wrong. Another thing she always said “you get what you pay for” Pay for quality and have no regrets in the long run. When Zellers went to join Eatons in the retail graveyard we bought 3 sets of Sealy Posturepedic, box spring and mattresses. They are awesome. Well done on your purchase!

  4. Money spent on a bed is well spent. We had to buy a new mattress and bed this year. Total cost was £1,000 and that was with a discount. That said, it is ‘omg’ comfortable and shouldn’t need replacing for another 10 years.

    1. That’s just it Victoria. We could have bought a cheaper mattress but then we’d likely have to replace it sooner so we might as well buy what we want even if the price tag is a bit steep.

  5. I am dying to get a new bed and think it would be money WELL spent. Good for you. Good sleep affects your productivity, so it makes sense to me. Your budget will change over the months I’m sure, but sometimes you do need things. You are right, don’t spend money you don’t have!

    1. Thanks Melanie,
      We did talk about the expense and the credit card bill came in tonight and it’s massive but money well spent. The mattress will last us a long time and it’s a good one we both like. The base and remotes will last hopefully forever!

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