Our Family Budget

A Workforce shortage is not easy on staff : February 2015 Budget Update

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Canadian Budget Binder Monthly Budget Update Logo 2-workforceMONEY TALKS IF YOU HAVE TIME TO EARN IT


Have you ever worked somewhere and for whatever reason the organization has a workforce shortage?

Some people wish they could get more hours to earn some over-time pay because extra money is always nice in the bank account.

Others may cringe at the thought of working more than they have to, especially if they are paid salary with no-overtime pay. Not everyone lives to earn money because there’s more to life than just work.

Being tired all the time is tough and for some people working too much can bring on bouts of depression. Some people just don’t know how to say no they can’t work because they have other obligations. It may even break down a relationship.

In my line of work we have workforce shortages happen occasionally especially since you can’t just hire anyone to fill such a demanding role. There really is no shortage of work or unemployment in my field because of the options we have which makes it equally as frustrating.

This just means there are more vacancies than qualified people to fill the job.

I don’t talk about what I do to protect my privacy just in case you were waiting for me to tell you. I do however work with a team but have the luxury of working on my own. It took me many years of education and training to get where I am today and it continues to be an on-going pursuit to learn all I need to know.


Workforce Shortage hurts everyone


Our Human Resources department struggles to find qualified candidates on short notice which is near to impossible. In the past couple of weeks it just so happens that one staff member needed to move closer to family and another was promoted to another facility in a nearby city.

That left us with a workforce shortage of 2 fully qualified staff which meant the phone was always ringing for me to go in to work. I’m not the only staff member feeling the crunch either but we have all put in extra hours because we knew what to expect when we signed up for this type of career.

Sometimes I just want to hide especially since I’ve taken on an additional part-time role with another organization. Thankfully I’m only working about 13 hours a week compared to the 18 hours the past couple of months.

I’ve had to step back a bit, even writing at the blog because I need to spend some time with my family and time to get renovations done around the house. What’s funny is when I step back from one job the other is calling. I never win.

So although we net more money than normal the past 2 months we will see a drop in March now that I’ve scaled down some of the hours.

Some people tell me to suck it up and that I’m young so earn as much as I can while I can. It’s easier to say for some people but much harder to do especially with a baby at home.

Has your organization ever experienced a workforce shortage? Did you work extra hours to cover the company being short-staffed? How many hours do you typically work a week?


Where the money went


February 2015 Budget totals

Note: If you scroll down to the bottom of this blog post you can view the actual numbers for each budget 2015 category.

This was one of those months where just about every bill came due. Thankfully we have our projected expenses account where most of the big bills were paid from.  This month we received bills for Hydro/Water, City Taxes and our Water heater rental.

My wife also noticed that our Rogers Bill went up in price, AGAIN. I was on the phone talking to Rogers Customer Relations/Retentions department to find out why. Apparently our December bill stated the increase that would take place. I missed that since we’ve been so busy with our newborn son and it was Christmas time.

I never make excuses for our finances and although that might sound like one it’s not.

I will pay more attention to our Rogers bill when it is emailed to us in the future. What would be nice is when Rogers fires off our monthly e-bill that it might come with a bill increase Alert in the email.

That way we will know to read something of importance BUT they won’t do that because that means too many people will call and complain about an increase. Plus, if the customers don’t notice the increases they quietly can keep sucking money from our bank accounts until we notice, if we notice.

We would because we budget but others who don’t budget will just keep paying the money over. Then they blast us with the “It was on your bill, didn’t you see it?” blurb when we call to ask what’s up with the increase.

In the end of negotiating with Rogers Retentions I managed to get rid of the Rogers VIP cable that we were paying $89.99 a month for. Now we have Rogers Digital cable with the free PVR, Home Phone free long distance in Canada $19.99/month, Cell Phone (wife) all the bells and whistles but no data for $30/month, High Speed Internet with more usage for a grand total of about $158.xx.

Other than that we took a trip to my wife’s parents which cost us extra money out of pocket for bits and bobs that we purchased and more gas.

Our son is also now sitting up which is a huge milestone but he’s progressing as he should and he adores walking any chance he can (with help of course).

Have a great week!



Unexpected expenses


Nothing out of the ordinary popped up in February as we hardly had any time to ourselves since I was working so much.

I’m not complaining either because I’d rather see this space empty because that means we didn’t spend anything. I did all of the shopping while I was already out of the house and that’s about it. Boring, I know.


About our Free budget


I’m currently offering 2 versions of our budget and the reason behind it is simple. Firstly, read the CBB blog 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 you asked me for in your emails. (See I do listen and read your comments and emails)

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.


Our Free 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 :) Test it out for a month and see how it goes. There is never any harm in trying something new.


Our budget plan


How we budget our monthly expenses?

I often have fans ask me how to budget money on a low-income or they simply a high debt load and want to kill it like my friend Tony who got rid of over $100,000 worth of debt by using a budget.

CBB fans want to know what we do in order to save so much money and the reply I give is simple>> It’s not about the money it’s about the process involved.

We are both money managers of our finances and with our relationship compatibility we have been able to get to where we are in 2015, debt free.

It doesn’t matter if you are using a cash only budget or you use your debit and credit cards, if your budget doesn’t balance you have budget issues you should review it pronto.

Learning how to be your own money manager is important because no one else will care about your money more than YOU!.

We don’t always save as much money as we would like every month but most importantly we are not going into debt but only because we are budgeting our money. In fact we are currently debt-free including the mortgage which means all we pay for is our monthly bills and expenses.

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’ve made up for it or we learned from our mistakes just like we should. Budget failure only occurs when you give up on your budget which should not happen as long as you truly want to reach your goals.

We didn’t always earn the income we do today but made do with what we were earning so we didn’t go into debt. That my friends is called “living below your means”. The only science to becoming rich!

Sometimes fans email and ask me if living on a budget in Canada is any different from living and budgeting 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 spreadsheet to meet all of my needs however the budget needs to be reviewed monthly.

Below are links to the budgeting series which I wrote while designing our excel budget spreadsheet which will give you an idea just how we designed our budget.

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


Do you want to learn to budget like we do? We explain everything we do and more in this mini-series all about budgeting.

Please take the time to read through our budgeting series plus read Budgeting in the New Year. I hope the information will help stop you from making common budgeting mistakes that I hear of often and that you take something away from the information and apply it to your financial situation.

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 in 2015 detailing 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 February


ebruary 2015 Monthly breakdown percentages

Our savings of 56.09% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month.

The monthly total spend comes to 100% which shows that we spent our income this month and used the rest as emergency savings.

The only reason our housing ratio went up to 15.39% this month is because of the house/city taxes.

Our Life Ratio which for this month was 11.9% and way under the target percentage of 25%. Our projected expenses this month is at 15.09%.


Budget percentages month by month


February Budget 2015 Yearly Graph

Expenses breakdown


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 one 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 Budgeted Total: $4,916.82
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$11,703.78
  6. (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 = $1,766.35
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$4,513.96
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $11,703.78 (total net monthly income) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) – $5,423.47 (emergency savings) = $4,513.96
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $11,703.78 (total monthly net income) – $4,513.96 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) = $5,423.47


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 have updated 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 $1766.35 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 2015 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.

(Note: I am working on this but slowly as I wasn’t anticipating all of the extra hours with my second job)


Budget for February 2015


Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of February 2015. This budget represents 2 adults and baby on the way plus all of our investments.

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.


February 2015 Budgeted amount for the month


Actual budget expenses for February 2015


February 2015 Actual Spent for the month


February 2015 Goals Reviewed


  • Reach  4150 Twitter Followers- Not a chance but I did break 4000 fans. Maybe next time my Twitter dreams will come true.
  • Reach  6591 Facebook Followers-  PASS- I know I nearly passed out as well!!
  • Reach  1910 Pinterest Followers- Fail I did a huge overhaul of my Pinterest page and with that I lost some followers which was expected but at least now it’s easier to read.
  • Reach  2720 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook- Pass.. yay~
  • Reach 166 Followers Bloglovin- Same
  • Finish the budget projected expenses- Still working on it
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance book- Nope not even close but I did pick up some new free books today. One of them is Save with Jamie.
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question- Yes I did mostly dealing with how to write a blog post and SEO.
  • Connect with a new blogger- Yes I connected with about 2 new PF bloggers.
  • Finish the bathroom shower- Haven’t even touched it. I will starting in March.
  • Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc. )
  • Buy remainder of bathroom renovation materials- Not even close
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- Nope not done yet
  • Finish the walls in the baby room- Haven’t even looked in the room for while.
  • Hire a house cleaner/Babysitter- We hired a house cleaner however we haven’t had the nerve to actually have her come to the house and clean.
  • Purchase a new garage door opener- I might have to just bin the rain check for Sears because it doesn’t look like our store even got any for the flyer sale. #fail


March 2015 Goals


  • Reach  4150 Twitter Followers-
  • Reach  6610 Facebook Followers-
  • Reach  1910 Pinterest Followers-
  • Reach  2850 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook-
  • Reach 166 Followers Bloglovin-
  • Finish the budget projected expenses-
  • Read a chapter in my personal finance book- (I was given a new book called “Save with Jamie Oliver” which I can’t wait to read. I hope I can get through it since I still have the other to finish up. Food and grocery savings is fun to read about though.
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question-
  • Connect with a new blogger-
  • Finish the bathroom shower-
  • Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc. )
  • Buy remainder of bathroom renovation materials- Not even close
  • Buy a new blind for the garage-
  • Finish the walls in the baby room-
  • Hire a house cleaner/Babysitter-
  • Purchase a new garage door opener-
  • Bring the plants out if the weather is warm enough
  • Stain the deck
  • Research and get quotes for a new fence and gulp… talk to the neighbours about pitching in some cash-
  • Spring cleaning around the house-


Budget updates month by month


In case you missed our budget updates and want to do a quick search I’ve compiled them all on one handy page: monthly budgets.

For the 2015 Year I will also keep track of each month just below. Since it’s the first budget post for 2015 I will start the list off with our end of year budget update from 2014 just in case you missed it.

That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of April 2015 to see how we made out with our March 2015 budget!

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!


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  1. A couple of very busy months there…. Glad to hear things are scaling back somewhat. Every one makes the decision to work the overtime or not and it does have health issues to think about. Exhaustion is no fun. Hubby used to work a lot of OT back when, usually Sundays in Maintenance as things like overhead lights needed cleaning and that needed some one who was trained on things like the skyjack. Our daughter finds herself working a fair amount of OT at the daycare where she is program supervisor. There is a regular staff meeting every month, management meeting, and the various things she must keep updating the training in like first aid and other things. These are all OT. As is staying after her shift because they are short a staff for the numbers of children there. The government is very strict about the staff/children ratios by age. Such is the nature of being an ECE.
    Looks like the family is doing very well!!! Enjoy your time off…..you deserve it

  2. I do agree. Sometimes it’s really tiring when you have to render overtime everyday and you have no choice but to work further until your boss is satisfied. More than that, it’s like you feel the obligation not to take your leave benefits until everything is done.

  3. Hubby and I workes over night at Zellers back in the day and overtime and extra shifts were the norm especially around xmas! I think we worked six days a week for at least six months!! Forunately the oil fields were taking lots of people so the hourly wages were going up at a steady rate and we took advantage of that. But at the end of the day it is your own personal choice to work the extra shifts and if it isnt required then you simply dont have to. Since having little miss and going back to work I dont work extra days but will sometimes stay late to finish whatever I was working on or whatever they need a hand with. Everyone is different and so is their work ethic.

    1. Hi Juanita,
      Yes it is a personal choice. If I didn’t have any other responsibility I wouldn’t have a problem working 2 full-time jobs but it’s just too much at the minute so scaling back is better for me. I’m going to enjoy a couple of days off to catch up on things I need to get done.

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