When we have to curb spending in our budget there are ways that have effectively helped us conquer the money demons over the years.
Essentially a budget is a tool that we use to track our cash flow. We want to know what’s coming in, what’s going out and how much money is staying.
These financial numbers were crucial to our debt freedom success over the years. Budgeting may get negative connotations from those who don’t believe in it but for many people a budget is a financial life-saver.
What I believe is that if we hadn’t used our budget we’d still have a mortgage and other debts to pay off. Sure, there are other ways to track your finances but for us working with numbers in our head or guesstimating wasn’t getting us to our end goal fast enough.
Now that 2015 is drawing to a close we will have a full year of budget results to evaluate for the upcoming new year. Waiting until the end of the year to curb spending is not ideal but if you are budget ninjas like we are a yearly visit should be all you need. Even then spending issues still pop up that have to be dealt with during the year.
Although we review our budget every month this is the time that we jot down categories that we may need to sort out quickly. This means we’ve been spending too much and besides just re-arranging numbers we need to find out why we are overspending.
This is the problem with most people who find their budget is not working for them. They are not digging deeper into the problem because they only skim the surface and see what they want to see.
If you don’t document the reasons why you need to curb spending with fast-acting solutions then you will continue to spend more money. This is what I call the revolving door of budgeting.
We’ve had our fair share of extreme spending over the years particularly our grocery budget and on the run expenses. Although I make my coffee at home these days with the occasional hot beverage from my favourite java spots I now have a monthly allowance of $35. This may not seem like much but it works out fine for me.
Related post: Why we budget an adult family allowance
Many of my friends joke about my allowance but it has helped me curb spending and gives me the freedom to not worry about going over my monthly limit. Although you may think it’s childish I believe it’s a smart way for to get back on track. It also is a driving force behind me learning how to say No, I can’t we’re on a budget to my friends when they want to splash cash around for a boys night. Moderation is key.
When my wife was in her mid-late 20’s she would buy new clothes from the mall often because she worked in the nightclub/entertainment industry. It was nothing for her to spend $200 a weekend to sport new clothing and fancy accessories. She would convince herself that if she didn’t look good then she may be out of a job.
Having new clothes that patrons have never seen her wear before was a plus for my wife and helped keep her popular with the customers that came back. It was her boss that told her to always look good for the customers so she did just that. This is no different from anyone in the public eye because we hear and read how they are scrutinized for wearing an outfit twice which is absurd.
Spending upwards of $800-$1000 a month on clothes to earn thousands more was a win-win situation for her, but it wasn’t really. It was a waste of money that she will never get back. This is part of growing up and learning from our mistakes.
Back then she never once considered going to a second-hand shop as they weren’t widely noticed like they are today. Most people have just plugged into the used clothing scene where some people even buy and sell used clothing to earn an income.
She did not work in the adult industry (which is perfectly fine) rather she worked in large nightclubs where looking good was part of the facade of bringing in and keeping business hopping. She played a big role in the operation so it was critical that she looked good.
Sometimes it’s hard to be young when you want to earn money but can easily be influenced or directed down the wrong path. She’s not alone. The least he could have done was offer her a spending account, the nerve of him.
These days she’s a huge fan of second-hand clothing shops because she knows she can look just as stunning with new-to-her clothes for a fraction of the cost.
She’s still fighting her urges to spend money on new clothing but always asks herself if she really needs something before she purchases it. It’s never easy to say good-bye to a way of life you are used to.
Sometimes there will be an occasion where we must buy new clothes like this month where I needed new dress shoes and new dress pants for work and our son’s baptism. Our clothing category as you will see below took a huge hit although this was a one time expense.
I tend to struggle when it comes to finding used pants and we don’t buy used shoes as we both wear orthotics. If there are times where we splurge we curb spending by going the used route which tends to balance our budget by the end of the year.
If we find realize that there are re-occurring expenses in a certain budget category then we will re-adjust the budget for the following year. Some people may have to do a budget adjustment immediately though if they are working with a limited income and action is required. Not everyone has spare money kicking around but having that emergency savings and using a projected expenses approach to our budget sure does help.
Working together or finding support
Lastly, if we want to effectively curb spending in our family we rely on each other for support. One of the biggest pitfalls of budget failure is when couple’s don’t see eye to eye with money. When my wife and I find something we need we talk about it first, source the best price and wait to make that purchase.
In past years we would buy stuff on a whim but have since learned we shouldn’t do this. That’s not to say that we are perfect because we mess up all the time. I know that being a consumer is difficult because the minute we give into that temptation we are creating a barrier between our bank account and our ability to say no.
If we don’t have the strength to curb spending it’s best to surround yourself with people who understand and motivate you. My wife and I both provide this support for each other 365 days a year.
If you are single and struggle to curb spending habits a great way to motivate yourself is to surround yourself with like-minded people. You may opt to follow a favourite financial blog (Think CBB!!), use online forums or find people via social media or in your community that you can connect with.
How we curb spending
Let’s review what we just talked about above.
- Monthly and Yearly Budget Reviews to keep on track
- Shop and Save the Frugal way
- Communication with-in our relationship or finding other avenues of financial support
To effectively curb spending habits you must want to do this or face any financial consequences that will show up faster than you can say, “I should have listened to my inner voice”. Budgeting may not be the “cool” thing to do but it certainly is the “smart” thing to do in our world.
How do you curb spending habits when you notice your budget is getting out of control?
Where our money went in November
This month has been nothing but work, work, work or so it seemed. Other than a couple out-of-the-ordinary expenses that we didn’t budget for this year spending was limited as I’m so busy right now.
Our biggest budget expense this month was spending money on the baptism which included paying for a meal out for everyone to the tune of over $200. We also hired a photographer, donated money to the church and bought a small gift for his godparents. I will explain more in an upcoming blog post about our experience organizing a baptism for our son.
We have also started Christmas shopping but we budget for this as a projected expense. This year we won’t be participating in any gift exchanges apart from buying for the kids.
Our clothing budget has jumped up a bit as this is the time of year where we stock up on socks. Yes in November and December sock sales are in abundance so we load up. I also spent some money to replace my dress shoes and dress pants which added to the clothing increase this month.
Lastly, we spent $50 to buy our son a table and chairs second-hand which has 4 coloured buckets down below for storage and retails for almost $200. This has worked out great because it keeps him busy while we are in the kitchen cooking and we can keep an eye on him.
The free table and chairs we were given that I am refinishing (the set on my monthly goal list) will be used in his bedroom or down the basement. We also have a craft table that I refinished in the summer which he can use in the living-room.
Where did your money go in November?
All 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
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.
Test the budget for a month and see how it goes.
Our family budget plan
How we budget our monthly expenses?
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.
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 1– Gathering All the information
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 2– Budget Categories
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 3– Tracking Receipts
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 5– 5S Organization
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 6– Who Does What and When?
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 7– Balancing Our Budget
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 8– Knowing our Coupon Savings
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 9– Reading Our Bills
- How We Designed Our Budget Step 10– Projected Expenses
Budget percentages November
Our savings of 62.54% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month and tallies in at $7,174.55.
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 15.40%.
Budget percentages month by month
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 have been 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.
- Chequing– This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from.
- Emergency Savings Account– This is a high-interest savings account.
- Regular Savings Account– This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
- Monthly Budgeted Total: $4,996.49
- Monthly Net Income Total: $11,471.93
- (Check out our Ultimate Grocery Guide to see where our grocery money goes)
- Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $1,766.35
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: $3764.44
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $11,471.93 (total net monthly income) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) – $5941.14 (emergency savings) = $3,764.44
- Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $11,764.44 (total monthly net income) – $3,764.44 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) = $5941.14
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 expenses 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)
Our actual family budget
Time for the juicy category numbers and to see how we made out with our monthly budget. Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget for the month of October 2015.
This budget represents 2 adults and a baby plus our investments.
If it is highlighted in blue that means it is a projected expense. You will also see our budget does not include the emergency savings as this is factored in at the end.
Budget for November 2015
Actual budget expenses for November 2015
November 2015 Goals Reviewed
- Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs- Fail BUT we did buy him a new second-hand table for $50 which retails for just about $200.
- Finish our sons free rocking horse (handle missing so I’m making one)- Nope it’s packed away now for the winter.
- Reach 4700 Twitter Followers-PASS
- Reach 6665 Facebook Followers- PASS
- Reach 2400 Pinterest Followers- Fail. I have a little ways to go still.
- Reach 3105 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook- FAIL I’ll keep on working at it.
- Reach 179 Followers Bloglovin– PASS This is great news.
- Finish the budget projected expenses- FAIL- Nope and I’m not sure when I will find time to get it done even though I needs to be done.
- Help a new blogger with a task or question- PASS
- Connect with a new blogger- PASS Yes I connected with 4
- Finish the master bathroom shower- FAIL Again just another project on hold for the time being.
- Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc.)-
- Buy a new blind for the garage- FAIL. This is one of those chores that fall in the not a priority but needs to get done pile.
- Finish the walls in the baby room- FAIL. Since he’s still in our room I’m not in a rush to get up there.
- Start looking at kitchen designs- Sorta Pass- We’ve looked at a couple but nothing concrete yet.
- Start looking at pricing for a new insulated garage door- FAIL I haven’t had time for this one yet.
- Buy a pressure washer- I’m still looking for a used on or a great deal.
- Finish Fall Clean-up- PASS DONE!
- Sort through our sons clothes and sell some- PASS but have only sold a snow suit.
- Start thinking about our Christmas expenses- Almost done shopping.
- Research Kitchen designers in our area- We have an idea of what we want but just not the time to get it ordered.
- Create a new recipe- PASS We created the Chicken Lasagna
- Put out the outdoor Christmas Decorations after Remembrance Day- DONE!
- Put up the Christmas tree- FAIL but will be doing this on Friday or early next week.
- Start wrapping Christmas gifts- FAIL but I need to get a move on because my wife is horrible at it so I do it every year.
December 2015 Goals
- Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs-
- Finish our sons free rocking horse (handle missing so I’m making one)-
- Reach 4710 Twitter Followers-
- Reach 6690 Facebook Followers-
- Reach 2400 Pinterest Followers-
- Reach 3105 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook-
- Reach 181 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-
- Finish the walls in the baby room-
- Start looking at kitchen designs-
- Start looking at pricing for a new insulated garage door-
- Buy a pressure washer-
- Sort through our sons clothes and sell some-
- Research Kitchen designers in our area-
- Create a new recipe-
- Put up the Christmas tree-
- Start wrapping Christmas gifts-
- Take a vacation from life-
- Buy a sleigh for our son-
- Get undercoating done for winter–
- Work on 2016 Budget with the wife-
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.
- December 2014- Our Budget Year In Review
- January 2015
- February 2015
- March 2015
- April 2015
- May 2015
- June 2015
- July 2015
- August 2015
- September 2015
- October 2015
That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of January 2016 to see how we made out with our December 2015 budget and to see our new 2016 budget!
Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!
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