Our Family Budget

3 Ways A Budget Can Help Ease Your Money Stress : July 2015 Budget Update

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Canadian Budget Binder Monthly Budget Update Logo 2 compressed- money stressFINANCIAL HARDSHIP CAN WEIGH YOU DOWN


Money stress is no stranger to most people simply because they’re not made of money and everyday bills can cause people to juggle money to make ends meet.

When someone is deep in debt and the money stress is building up it can get overwhelming trying to find a way out.

I’m not a financial advisor nor a doctor two people you may want to meet with if you feel you just can’t handle your money situation.

If you’re up for the challenge I can assure you a budget will get you back on track. It may not happen right away BUT you will slowly feel the release of stress once you know where your money is going and how much you have left every pay to spend.

While searching Kijiji this month for some used items for our son we noticed good friends of ours selling stuff. If you sign up for Kijiji and use the mobile app it shoes you people in your neighbourhood who are also selling items. This is great because if your neighbour has something you want to buy you don’t have far to go.

It was a nice afternoon today so we decided to put our son in his new 4 in 1 Smart-Trike and go for a walk around the block. We ran into our friends and neighbour who has their house for sale. They are also the neighbours who are selling practically everything they own on Kijiji.

They told us that they have had some success selling stuff on Kijiji. I assumed they were selling most of the stuff because they were moving but that’s not what they told us.

The reason they are selling is because they have so much debt that the money stress is just tearing them apart. This is where I got the idea for this post. I realized that when the going gets tough that’s when people pull out all the stops and find ways to generate extra income to pay off debt.

It shouldn’t be that way. We create more stress for ourselves when we WAIT until something happens. Try to be proactive about your finances and it will lessen how much you think about money. Instead you will ease through your day knowing you have everything under control.

The idea is if they can sell as much as they can before the bill collectors come knocking then they can at least start paying back their debt. That, or they need to sell their house fast to use some of the equity to pay their bills.

They are not alone because many Canadians are suffering from money stress because they feel they have no where left to turn. There are options such as talking to a financial advisor or financial coach like I mentioned above.

You don’t always have to hire a professional if all you need to do is get your basic finances under control. I mean if you have some debt that you know you can pay back but only need to make lifestyle changes then you can do the work yourself.

If you are so far in debt that there is no hope of getting out without financial support then talk to professionals. Going bankrupt and debt consolidation is not to be taken lightly but many have had to walk that road. Having a family budget is by far the easiest way to relieve money stress, IF you believe you can do it.

I know it sounds odd BUT the minute I look at someone’s debt and help them to get their budget up and running they tell me they feel so much relief. If you are skeptical whether a budget will work for you at least give it a fair shake. You can’t say you don’t like to eat something unless you’ve tried it so don’t give up before you begin.

Too often people think that the budget will work itself out every month but that’s not the way it works. You must take control of your finances before money stress eats away at you where you stop caring altogether. I know people who let the money stress get to them and then they toss in the towel.

When someone stops caring the debt continues to mount because they may just find every possible way to get more credit to stay afloat. In the end you will lose if you can’t step up with the cash.

If you can’t afford it, you don’t get it. Stop buying crap you don’t need especially when you have debt to pay back.

The best feeling in the world is knowing you don’t owe anyone any money. When we started to budget it changed our life and perspective on money. We knew we didn’t want to go through life with money stress in our back pocket so we did something about it.

So how can you use a budget to help with money stress? Easy, let me share some tips with you below about how you can make the budget help take your mind off the pain of debt you owe.

Debt won’t go away overnight unless you win the lottery (I wish) or find a suitcase filled with cash (not likely to happen). I can assume since you have money stress that neither of the two have happened to you. It hasn’t happened to us either so we went the route of using a budget and so can you.

Keep in mind that many millionaires live their lives with money stress constantly on the brain. It takes lots of money to run a big house  especially if you have hired help around the grounds to help get the daily chores done. Ultimately though they have the option to sell but that doesn’t mean they have equity in their estate to pay off their debts.


How to reduce stress


The effects of stress on your life can really keep you down but don’t let stress WIN, fight it! Reducing stress means that you have to take control of the situation.

You can reduce stress by

  • Talking to a professional
  • Using a stress ball
  • Going for a walk
  • Deep breathes
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Eating well
  • Thinking positive
  • Find a support system(Family, Friends, Spouse/Partner)
  • A hobby
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Building something/DIY

I’m sure there are many other ways to relieve stress so find out what works for you to keep you healthy. The fact remains that you need to solve the problem that causes your money stress.

There is no one or nothing that can solve any money stress you may have but you.

Financial stress and depression go hand in hand and when someone reaches that level there is always hope and help so don’t give up doing. Yes Doing not Trying! 

Instead of getting depressed over your money stress do something about it.


Combat your Money Stress


If you ask me about reducing stress I will tell you the truth and won’t sugar-coat it like some people do. Using coupons, finding deals and shopping less are only PART of the solution.

You need to look at the overall picture not a portion. That would like only putting a new roof on part of your house when the entire house needs a new roof.

Don’t do half a job.

Get into the fast lane if you want to succeed. Stop spending money like someone who doesn’t have a care in the world then blame everyone but yourself for your financial hardship.

If you money problems don’t stem from something you’ve done then find a way to get them under control rather than waiting for it to sort itself out, it won’t.

Take it or leave it the budget is up to you.

If you can’t give yourself an ounce of patience the budget will never work for you. It takes some getting used to but it’s the best way in my opinion to help those with money stress get back on track. In the least it’s a first great step as are 2 other positions I would recommend below.

  1. Start the budget– Money stress won’t just disappear so do something positive for your finances and your well-being and put a budget together. You’ll be happy you did!
  2. Set long and short-term goals– You need these and trust me when I say that you should visit them monthly like we do so we make sure we conquer them. It may be that you are looking for a job so a short-term goal may be to hand out 10 resumes every day. The goals are up to you and what suits your life.
  3. Motivate Yourself- Don’t rely on others for your happiness especially when it comes to money. You are the only person who want to rid of money issues so take charge of the money game. If you have a bad month, so be it but keep trying to be better month after month.

Eventually if you stick with your new budget you will see just how important it is to remove the cause of stress in your life. When you remove money stress it’s easier to focus on ways to earn extra money, pay your bills on time and live a happy stress-free lifestyle.

As for our neighbours I hope they can sell everything they need so they can earn a few extra bucks to help pay down their debt.

How do you relieve your money stress? Please leave a comment.


Where The Money Went


July 2015 Budget totals

Where did all our money go in July?

In July we didn’t spend that much because we’ve hung around the house playing out back with our son or taking him to the park or pool. I did a quick run to the next city which wasn’t too far away from us to pick up a water-table for our son for $10 with an umbrella. You can’t beat that price.

While at Shoppers Drug Mart we noticed they had a reduced rack of all their summer items. We picked up a large pool and a water mat plus a safety water kit with a life jacket etc. This was pretty awesome since we’ve been talking about replacing his pool that has a slow leak in it.

We did manage to find our way back on Kijiji which is where we find lots of household items for much less than we would if we had to buy them new.

We spent about $100 on our son this month and bought him a 4-1 Trike which was in mint condition for $25 used. Some of the accessories were still in the bags and we go the original box that it came in. If we keep the Trike in good shape we could resell it for more than we paid for it.

We also found a wagon for $80. It’s a good wagon with pneumatic chunky wheels and is all wood. I did sand down the wood and give it a new coat of red spray paint and it looks brand new. We couldn’t pass up a Little Tikes Step 2 slide for $20 and a cozy coupe car for free.

I’d like to make him a sand box but that will have to wait until next summer. I have lots of surprises for him when his first birthday rolls around that I think he will be a super happy boy.

Now that he’s getting older we’ve been on the look-out for new shoes online as well. There are so many things you can buy online that are brand new which is a great way to save money when you have a child.

Other than that you will see that we spent a bit more on our son because we stocked up on diapers and formula in July. We did score some great deals using coupons and coupon apps to bring down the already sale price. The formula we bought was the Enfamil A+2 and we had $15 off coupons that we picked up free from Facebook.

A mother was passing them along for free so we picked them up. This made the formula a bit cheaper for us. Every dollar counts because formula costs a fortune.

Lastly, our renovations are causing an increase in the budget but that’s ok since we planned the master en-suite bathroom renovation so we know where the money is going.

How was your budget month? Please leave a comment.


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


cbb budget screen shot compressed

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.


Learn How To Budget: Our budgeting series


Do you want to learn to budget like we do?

We explain everything we do and more in this mini-series below 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 July


July 2015 Monthly breakdown percentages


Our savings of 47.20% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month.

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

The other categories were well within the defined percentage limits. Our projected expenses this month is at 20.75%.


Budget percentages month by month


July 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.

Although I encourage your comments and love to hear what you have to say about our budget categories and expenses please don’t tell us to donate our money to charities because we have too much or are fortunate.

We are hardly out of the clear with finances for the rest of our lives and have worked and sacrificed to get where we are. We do plan to enjoy the money we’ve saved now since we haven’t over the years with our son.

What we do with our “extra cash” is our business and although we do donate to a charity we won’t be putting it on display for the world to see as it defeats the purpose in my eyes. It is part of the budget as you see it. I hope that clears that up for those of you who had concerns about our extra money.

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$8,513.90
  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$3,870.63
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $8,513.90 (total net monthly income) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) – $2876.92 (emergency savings) = $3,870.63
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $8,513.90 (total monthly net income) – $3,870.63 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) = $2876.92


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 the extra hours with my second job)


Budget for July 2015


June 2015 Budgeted amount for the month

Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of July 2015.

This budget represents 2 adults and a baby 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.


Actual budget expenses for July 2015


July 2015 Actual Spent for the month


July 2015 Goals Reviewed


  • Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs- Fail still working on it.
  • Finish our sons free rocking horse (handle missing so I’m making one)- Fail
  • Reach  4500 Twitter Followers- FAIL almost though.
  • Reach  6560 Facebook Followers- PASS
  • Reach  2200 Pinterest Followers- PASS
  • Reach  3100 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook- FAIL (I need to work harder on the page)
  • Reach 173 Followers Bloglovin- PASS
  • Finish the budget projected expenses- FAIL
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question- PASS
  • Connect with a new blogger- PASS Yes 3
  • Finish the master bathroom shower- FAIL (still working away)
  • Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc.)- FAIL
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- FAIL
  • Finish the walls in the baby room- FAIL
  • Research and get quotes for a new fence and gulp… talk to the neighbours about pitching in some cash- FAIL
  • Buy a climbing plant for the trellis in the back garden-PASS and it’s in the ground
  • Start looking at kitchen designs- FAIL
  • Start looking at pricing for a new insulated garage door- FAIL
  • Hang 2 outdoor wall hangings- FAIL
  • Box old baby clothes for storage- PASS
  • Sell baby stuff we don’t need- FAIL but we’re working on it slowly
  • Buy a pressure washer- FAIL (almost did but waiting for a sale)
  • Buy a new indoor fan used- PASS (thanks Kijiji $20 Holmes Turbo Fan)
  • Buy a used wagon for our son- PASS and we got a 4 in 1 Trike too!!
  • Plan a couple weeks holidays for August- FAIL We are doing this for the last 2 weeks in August right now. Not sure where we will go though. Any suggestions in Ontario?
  • Start planning our sons first birthday party- FAIL we need to start doing this now.


 August 2015 Goals


  • Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs- Fail still working on it.
  • Finish our sons free rocking horse (handle missing so I’m making one)- Fail
  • Reach  4500 Twitter Followers-
  • Reach  6650 Facebook Followers-
  • Reach  2225 Pinterest Followers-
  • Reach  3100 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook-
  • Reach 175 Followers Bloglovin-
  • Finish the budget projected expenses-
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question-
  • Connect with a new blogger-
  • Finish the master bathroom shower-
  • Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc.)-
  • Buy a new blind for the garage-
  • Buy a used mirror for our master bathroom-
  • Finish the walls in the baby room-
  • Research and get quotes for a new fence and gulp… talk to the neighbours about pitching in some cash-
  • Start looking at kitchen designs-
  • Start looking at pricing for a new insulated garage door-
  • Hang 2 outdoor wall hangings-
  • Box old baby clothes for storage-
  • Sell baby stuff we don’t need-
  • Buy a pressure washer-
  • Buy an art easel for our son-
  • Plan a couple weeks holidays for August-
  • Start planning our sons first birthday party-
  • Start a new monthly writing job-
  • Do an oil change on the vehicle-


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.

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 August 2015 to see how we made out with our July 2015 budget!

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!

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