Our Family Budget

New Budget 2016 and 2015 Surprises and Fails : December 2015 Budget Update

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Our updated budget 2016 has some changes which was expected because 2015 proved that prices are steadily going up so we’ve had to adjust our numbers to reflect this change.

Unless you aren’t big on reading or watching the news maybe you’ve noticed that prices are skyrocketing, especially at the grocery store. In 2016 you can expect to add an additional $345 to your grocery budget for the year because of these increases.

It’s not just food either.

In 2015 it seemed like every time we turned around something was more expensive. If prices go up a dollar here or a couple bucks there that still accumulates as extra expenses in our budget especially since we budget accordingly. The reality is that you are never going to have a perfect budget so always leaving some room for price increases is critical.


Our free gift to you


Every year I wonder how we can change our budget plan to reflect something new and honestly there isn’t much to change. I’ve got a simple budget that I created years ago and that has been downloaded free by thousands of people around the world.

All we wanted was a budget that was going to tell us what we needed to know without having to jump through hoops or by using budget apps. That was our personal choice but if you are into the apps certainly use what works for you.

When you are trying to save money the last thing you want to do is spend money buying a budget. Unless of course you want all the bells and whistles and a budget that talks back to you or dings you when you spend too much.

I’m afraid that’s not the budget I have for you BUT our budget is FREE and it has helped us to become debt free. If anything becoming debt free using our budget should speak volumes to everyone. Don’t make other people rich, keep your money.

Our free budget relies on work on your part and not automation which we have come to introduce as the norm in our lives. I’ve also realized that automation can be wrong so no matter what you choose always check the numbers carefully and rely on your accuracy first.

Budgeting is not hard and we’ve proved that by helping CBB fans who have come to us deep in debt but later found the path to paying down debt with hope in sight. You can be that next person but you have to take that first step like we did when we took control of where our money was going.

You don’t have to have a family to budget either. If you’re looking for a student budget planner or just a budget our free excel budget spreadsheet is all you need. Stop giving fancy names to budgets because they practically all do the same thing, offer you financial data.

Budgeting is not as easy as playing with numbers in your head, this is serious business. Our finances pave the way to our present lifestyle and future retirement goals. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married with kids, no kids or have enough money to fill ten banks, you need a budget.

Over the years at CBB we’ve given you more than just a sample budget we’ve shared with you our actual family budget numbers. After sitting with my wife like we do at the end of every year in our office with a huge cup of tea in hand we reviewed our 2015 budget numbers. We also created our budget 2016 which we are going to share with you today.


Our Budget Plan 2016 changes


Actual Spending Breakdown for 2015 (corrected)

Overall we had a great budget 2015 year as we projected to spend $45,157.92 but came in just under at a cool $37,215.17. Based on the averages of what we actually spent for 2015 we can get a rough idea of what we should be spending for 2016.

However, based on some of the figures or what happens throughout the year even though the average was less than what we budgeted for we have still updated the budget for 2016. I took the average that we spent in each category from our 2015 budget year and either increased or decreased as needed for 2016.

You can see in the column labelled “New Budgeted Amount for 2016” it is actually lower than our current monthly budgeted amount. The figures are just an average figure of each category based on what we spent in 2015. I have not taken these figures as the new budget 2016. I simply used the information to see where large differences occur. This way I can trim certain sections and add room to others.


As you can see my allowance is staying the same for 2016. At $35 a month or $420 a year it seemed reasonable at the time and I still believe it is. I also participate at work buying my team coffee once in a while just because they do it for me. With a yearly average of $39.60 I’ve kept my allowance at $35 a month.

Electricity and Water

A huge budget 2015 fail and slight surprise came with our electricity and water usage where we spent $1150.71 more than we budgeted for. I know you all know that electricity prices are slated to go through the roof this year and we all better be prepared. I’ve made an increase of about $100 to this category to offset any increases but we won’t know how bad it will be until the next few bills come rolling in. I’m not going to sugar-coat this category by any means as it’s the talk of 2016 for all businesses and homeowners.

We now get a monthly bill which is reflecting what we used to spend in 2 months over the past few years. The price is outrageous and certainly comparable to a mortgage payment. Keep in mind our house is only 2500 sq feet including the basement. With 2 adults and a toddler I can only imagine what some families are going to be paying. It’s time to get down and dirty with hydro time of use and get back to basics as I think we’ve gotten away from it since our son was born.

Domestic Gas and Water Heater

Our domestic gas and water heater rental both cost us just over $130 more than we budgeted for in 2015. There were a couple of price increases throughout the year so this came as no surprise. At some point if we plan to replace our furnace we will look at just buying a water heater and getting rid of the rental cost.

Health and Beauty

Our healthcare and beauty also went up but keep in mind we recently removed all cleaning and health and beauty from our grocery budget so we could see just how much we were spending on food. We’ve also got a boatload of Shoppers Optimum Points that we need to use up to the tune of over 700,000 points which easily could have offset this increase. We will do a slight increase for our budget 2016 and review it in 2017.


Parking fees went up in 2015 by $197.00 because we were at the hospital more than anticipated with our son and relatives who took ill. The parking fees vary from city to city where some charge $20 to park and others $5. At the children’s hospital we were paying high prices but we purchased a 10 pack parking bundle for less which means we have some parking credit for 2016 leaving a slight increase for our budget 2016 of $1.42.

I also have to now pay for parking at my part-time job which is very expensive but there is nothing I can do about it. I just pay it and suck it up. Taking the bus is not an option as I have too many work materials to bring along with me.


We spent $1245.91 in our miscellaneous category more than we budgeted for which was a huge surprise. Although we put a big focus on groceries in 2016 we are going to be watching this category carefully. This is the place where random stuff gets placed so that means either we are buying too much or we are buying stuff that doesn’t have a home on our budget. Although we’ve increased this category to $400 a month it is not there to just spend freely rather we will keep a close eye on it every month.

Some other changes to our budget 2016 were in the following categories.

  • Christmas
  • Clothing
  • Kids/Baby
  • Lottery

We hardly buy lottery these days unless it’s a big draw which is why we’ve eliminated the budget for this category. If we do buy a ticket we will document it and but no specific number is budgeted.

Over Christmas the family decided that we would just buy for the kids which is what we did. There was no set amount but we kept is under $100 each child. We also purchased some food and beverages to bring to the in-laws house. This meant we spent less than we budgeted but we are still saving $40 a month as a projected expense in 2016.

Our son didn’t require as much as we thought he would in 2015 mainly because we were kindly given plenty of free items and we scored great deals at the Goodwill, Value Village and the Salvation Army. Let’s not forget the garage sales and Kijiji deals either.

Our son now drinks milk although we still have free samples of formula we are using up and if we see cans of  Enfamil A+ 3 toddler drink cheap we will buy it. Since we went the second-hand route we noticed a bit of an increase in this budget category so this was increased for 2016.

Using sales, coupons and coupon apps will continue to be part of our budget 2016 along with the same grocery budget and stockpile budget. We are “somewhat” confident that we can stick to our monthly food budget of $235 with a $25 monthly stockpile budget playing 4th season of  The Grocery Game Challenge but we will evaluate after 6 months.


Proposed Budget 2016


Proposed Budget for 2016 (corrected)

This is our proposed monthly budget 2016 where we have made some changes where many categories have been left the same from 2015. Once we get accurate updated figures for some categories I will make the changes necessary. So for our budget 2016 plan we are seeing a yearly increase of $1,165.80 or $97.15 a month. This figure is subject to change at any time and is only an estimate.


Where our money went in December


December 2015 Budget totals

December was a busy month with Christmas shopping which meant we spent more money even though we have it saved as a projected expenses. Some of the money went to paying for winter maintenance for our vehicle, paying for a membership yearly update, boxing day shopping and hydro expenses which kind of shocked us a bit.

Other than that anything else we spent was on odds and ends that we needed to get that we hadn’t budgeted for especially while we were on holidays. Gasoline was a bit higher because we did travelling over the holidays which was expected even though the cost of gas has dropped significantly.

Where did your money go in December?


Check out 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.


This is what our free budget spreadsheet looks like


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.

Test the budget for a month and see how it goes.


Our family 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 check 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 with Mr.CBB


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 2016 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 2Budget 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 December


December 2015 Monthly breakdown percentages (corrected)

Our savings of 52.72% 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 15.11%.


Budget percentages month by month


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. Since 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.

  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: $4,996.49
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$11,689.79
  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$4,993.91
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $11,689.79 (total net monthly income) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) – $4,929.53 (emergency savings) = $4,993.91
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $11,689.79 (total monthly net income) – $4,993.91 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1,766.35 (projected expenses) = $4,929.53


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 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 December 2015. This budget represents 2 adults and a toddler 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 December 2015


Budgeted amount for the month


Actual budget expenses for December 2015


December 2015 Actual Spent for the month


 December 2015 Goals Reviewed


  • Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs- FAIL I believe my sister-in-law offered to take on this project since she refinishes and sells free furniture as a side-hustle.
  • Finish our sons free rocking horse (handle missing so I’m making one)- FAIL It is now buried in the garage for the winter. I will have to revisit this in the spring.
  • Reach  4710 Twitter Followers- PASS I had a good month on Twitter with over 100 new followers which made me happy. Thanks.
  • Reach  6690 Facebook Followers-  PASS we had a surge near the end of the year which was uplifting to me.
  • Reach  2400 Pinterest Followers- Not quite but almost there. I hope to pay a bit more attention to Pinterest this year.
  • Reach  3105 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook- FAIL but I need to put more energy into the page. Maybe I will see if I can ask a fan to help me out as an admin.
  • Reach 181 Followers Bloglovin- PASS!
  • Finish the budget projected expenses- FAIL I wish I had more time to sit down and do this. I really do hope at some point this year I can get this done. It will greatly help the success of our budget moving forward.
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question- PASS
  • Connect with a new blogger- PASS
  • Finish the master bathroom shower- BIG FAIL This is a project I must finish this year along with the other full bathroom. The rest of the house can wait as it’s no emergency even though I have quite a bit of the materials already.
  • Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc.)- FAIL
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- FAIL I promise I will get this done
  • Finish the walls in the baby room- FAIL He doesn’t sleep in his room yet but we have straightened up. That counts for something in my world.
  • Start looking at kitchen designs- PASS We talked about this a bit more but mainly colours. I’m not sure how much we plan to spend on the kitchen. We were going to install an IKEA kitchen but we will see if will make a significant improvement on the overall price of the house.
  • Start looking at pricing for a new insulated garage door- FAIL This is just another job we need to get done.
  • Buy a pressure washer- NO, but my birthday is coming up soon!!
  • Sort through our sons clothes and sell some- PASS Yes, we did this and although it was tough to sell the clothes we did in the end for a reduced price. We sold 4 large boxes for $20 total and a box of toys for $10
  • Research Kitchen designers in our area- FAIL We are still talking about our options
  • Create a new recipe- PASS It never ends we are always whipping up something new in our kitchen. Stay tuned as they will all make the blog this year along with all the great recipes from the Nicola Don kitchen.
  • Put up the Christmas tree- PASS I actually did this about 2 weeks before Christmas which was great as our son just loved it. He loved putting the angel at the top of the tree with me.
  • Start wrapping Christmas gifts- PASS with flying colours
  • Take a vacation from life- FAIL Not unless you count hiding in the bathroom for extended washroom breaks to just enjoy the ceiling lol. We had a lovely Christmas holiday.
  • Buy a sleigh for our son- PASS- We did and I refinished it back to brand new. I even spray painted it cherry red. It was a second-hand sleigh that we picked up for $30.
  • Get undercoating done for winter– PASS Done, Done, Done
  • Work on 2016 Budget with the wife- PASS We did do this but I still have to work on those on-going projected expenses.


January 2016 Goals


  • Minor repair to our vehicle which I will do myself-
  • Wash the vehicle at least once to get the salt off-
  • Take down the Christmas Tree and outdoor decor-
  • Find a used dresser for our sons clothes on the main level of the house-
  • Call around to lawyers to talk about getting a Will written up-
  • Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs-
  • Finish our sons free rocking horse (handle missing so I’m making one)-
  • Reach  4850 Twitter Followers-
  • Reach  6730 Facebook Followers-
  • Reach  2400 Pinterest Followers-
  • Reach  3105 Followers The Free Recipe Depot Facebook-
  • Reach 185 Followers Bloglovin-
  • Finish the budget projected expenses-
  • Help a new blogger with a task or question-
  • Connect with new bloggers for the Making A Difference series-
  • 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-
  • Write down what we want in our new kitchen-
  • 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-
  • Start researching vacation spots for 2016


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 February 2016 to see how we made out with our January 2016 budget.

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!

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  1. Mr. CBB, you have lots of followers in those social media. I hope you could reach your target followers or more followers to come this new year! Thank you for sharing your budget as I am learning and using your pre-existing categories. It does help me a lot.

  2. Year end always means so much work to finalize the budget. The older boy needs to install me some kind of office program so I can download your budget again. I had it on the old laptop but he hasn’t got that far on this one yet….
    We own the furnace here but rent the water heater. Both are gas. We have talked about buying the water heater outright a number of times over the years but keep renting it. The nice part is that if the unit fails, one phone call and we have a new one installed. How long one lasts tends to be a crap shoot. We have hard water here and a water softener but it still wears on the heater. We have had one lasts a few years and ones that died after a year or two….Our furnace is new as of January 2015 but the water heater is 4-5 years old.
    The thought of how much electricity and water go up every year is enough to make me cry but I have to deal with it. We did apply for that credit for low incomes and just heard back that we qualified for $34.00 a month off the hydro bill.
    Our gas for the truck and parking costs are on the way up as hubby is back going to London 4 weeks out of five right now for chemo and there will be other appointments for things like ultrasounds and echoes of his heart and what ever tests and such the doctor in London wants. Thankfully we get the drug for his chemo on compassionate grounds from the drug company. I don’t know how this year will shape up but I’m trying to stay positive and taking days one at a time.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Yes you will need office on your computer with excel to use the budget which is an easy install as long as you have the program disk. How much did you pay for your new furnace? Hey any savings is better than no savings at all with the Hydro. You will make it through the year Christine and we will all be right here to support you.

  3. Hi Mr. CBB, What a great way to track your expenses! If it were my budget I would want to know what was falling into the Miscellaneous category. I would probably track it for a while to see if I needed a new category.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing so much – very personal! – information with us! I really appreciate being able to see someone else’s budget and how it can be done!
    Spreadsheets are saved and I am just waiting for my first pay cheque this year to see exactly how much will come in net since I just upped RSSP, RPP and GSOP contributions.

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