3 Budget Negotiations That Saved Us Money : Our March 2016 Budget Review

budgetupdatepost2016- Budget NegotiationsYOUR MONEY WON’T WORK BY ITSELF SO GIVE IT A PUSH


Treat your finances like you own a company and you are the CEO. Budget negotiations should be part of everyone’s financial plan not just the government and business owners. You may be working for someone else making them rich but when it comes to your money there are ways to achieve the same successes but on a personal level. 

It’s amazing how many people take their budget for granted and accept the bills they are given instead of putting the green light on budget negotiations. You’ve worked hard for your money now make your money work for you.

Don’t let your cash float away without seeing how much you can save. You don’t have to be an outspoken customer to get a better deal. Before you attack (take that with a grain of salt) you must be armed with details and the outcome you’d like from your budget negotiations. If you need to balance your budget but you’re off by $50 try to see if you can get your bundled-telecommunications services lowered. Make a deal.

The top way to trim budget expenses is by negotiating the interest rates on your credit card if you have debt to pay off. I’m not a fan of holding a balance on a credit card but for some people this is what they’ve used because times are tough. If you’ve done this don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and make a phone call to customer service and ask them if they could reduce your interest rate. Anything is better than paying out more money than you need to.

Since the new year has begun we’ve sorted through our monthly budget making changes as they come in because like any type of financial transactions you can’t just set it and forget the way you spend and save. Below I’m going to share with you the way we saved some cash this year and how you can go about starting your own budget negotiations.




Just weeks ago we had to contact the Rogers customer retention department to either end or renew our services with them. The wife and I talked about getting rid of our home phone as we don’t use it often. If we couldn’t score a comparable deal with Rogers we were going to sink that expense fast.

Currently we have 1 cell phone, Digital Cable, High-Speed Internet and a Home Phone. Our total bill used to be $162.72 for the past 2 years. It was time for us to make the phone call to the customer retention department to start the budget negotiations.

Related: How to haggle with your telecommunications company

I was fortunate to score a great deal this year for our family through simple budget negotiations. The exact bill will be around $160 each month which is a few dollars cheaper than our current bill. Awesome for us even if it is only a few bucks a month. If we knocked the home phone on the head we wouldn’t have been any further ahead so it looks like we have it for another year.

The only downside is the time you have to spend making that phone-call but in the end it’s worth it especially if you can get a two-year plan at rock bottom prices at a large company like Rogers.




This past month I had a BIG problem with the bathroom I was renovating upstairs. While turning off the water I had a major water leak which resulted in us having to call a professional in, the brother-in-law. The water leaked through the ceiling, into the kitchen and created a nice mess. Thank-fully all the ceilings are coming down in the kitchen when we do renovations but it was still a job for the pros.

The repair that I needed done likely would have cost me a few hundred dollars if not more but I decided to offer him some of my services in exchange. He’s such a busy guy that he needed to get his taxes done so I offered to do his return for him. Easy, peasy. The savings there alone are huge.

What would have taken him a few hours to do his income tax return created more time for him to do side-jobs and make extra cash. Not only that but he said once I start the bathrooms he’ll gladly come over and do the plumbing for us. I guess I know who’s income tax return I’ll be doing yearly. Haha!

If you know you have a service or talent that you can provide to others budget negotiations may result in savings like it did for us otherwise we would have had to pay out-of-pocket big bucks.




Budget negotiations are not strictly meant for customers looking to grab a bargain as a preferred customer it’s about compromise. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard budget users tell me how their spouse told them what to do and they had no input into their monthly budget. Don’t be a budget hog and let your spouse in on the budget negotiations.

My wife and I talked about putting me on an allowance since I’m the only one working which actually works out best for our budget. Without the allowance it’s so easy to just freely spend money especially when you are debt free and know you have money in the bank.

Related: Why we budget an adult family allowance

This month the wife and I negotiated on a huge budget buster for many people, travel. We had a conversation over tea about how much money we would spend on our 2016 vacation and where we planned to go. Just because we budget for travel every month it can get enticing to pick out destinations that are over budget.

Related: 10 Ideas to Save Money on Travel

Together we agreed on a vacation spot that our family would enjoy which ended up costing us less than what we have budgeted over the years as projected expenses and not used. Instead of making excuses as to why we needed to spend more jut because we had the cash saved we set limits and worked with-in them.


Budget Negotiations


How to get started with budget negotiations.

You should start by pulling out the important fixed budget categories which means there isn’t much you can change unless you cancel the service. For most people this is not possible.

  1. Create a checklist so you know what types of budget negotiations you will be working on. This may be your cable, home phone, cell phone, mechanic, repair guy, renovations and so on.
  2. Ask yourself what you are willing to pay and how what you plan to say when you start your budget negotiations. You don’t have to make up a story about why you’d like a deal or to get something cheaper, tell the truth.
  3. What are you wiling to give up if you can’t get a lower price? What are you willing to offer to complete the transaction? example: If you’re an accountant and he’s a mechanic offer your services to each other at a reduced rate or for free to save each other money.

By negotiating with companies and among ourselves we can lower our budget and keep money in our savings account working for us. This my friends is how we become richer than we think we can become. Try it!!

What budget negotiations have you made to lower your monthly expenses?


Where our money went in March


March 2016 Month Income and Expenses

Do you know where your money goes every month?

This month nothing too exciting happened with our budget as you can see apart from a few home maintenance expenses. These are the months where we are able to save even more because there isn’t quite anything going on around the house as the Spring tries to make its way into the world.
I suspect the upcoming months I’ll be faced with more budget negotiations as I continue to hire people to help get stuff done around the house.


Pick a budget that’s right for you


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.


Sneak peek at 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.

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 have 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 2016, 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. 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 budget money tracker feel free to email me.

  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 March 2016


March 2016 Household Percentages

Our savings of 41.43% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month. If you include the projected expenses savings, we actually saved 68.03% of our income. That’s $4903.59 going into savings or investments of some description or another.

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 26.60%.


Budget percentages month by month


March 2016 Month by Month


Breaking down expenses


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 8 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: $5093.64
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$7207.98
  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 = $1917.68
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$3657.64
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $7207.98 (total net monthly income) – $1,917.68 (projected expenses) – $1632.66 (emergency savings) = $3657.64
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $7207.64 (total monthly net income) – $3657.64 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1917.68 (projected expenses) = $1632.66


Saving for stuff you haven’t yet paid for but need to!


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 2016.

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 $1917.68 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.

Sample Projected Expense

If our clothing category was a projected expense we would 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. My plan is to create a projected expenses spreadsheet to track the expenses all year-long otherwise you need to do it manually which we currently do in order to make sure we don’t overspend what we 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)


The Budget Results


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 February 2016. 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 March 2016


January 2016 Monthly Budgeted Amounts


Actual budget expenses for March 2016


March 2016 Actual Monthly Budget


April 2016 Goals


Here are my April goals along with whether I completed tasks from March 2016. April is going to be a busy month for us as you can see and I’m sure I’ve only just scratched the surface. Swapping over seasons always requires lots of effort especially after winter.

  • Find a used dresser for our sons clothes on the main level of the house- Fail
  • Call around to lawyers to talk about getting a Will written up- Pass
  • Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs Fail
  • Start revamping old blog posts (2 a month)- Pass
  • Finish the master bathroom shower- Big Fail
  • 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- We sold $40 worth
  • Research Kitchen designers in our area-
  • Start researching vacation spots for 2016- I have started this a week ago
  • Hang paintings and wrought iron decor on the walls-
  • Take down Christmas decor outside if weather permits- Pass
  • Stop shovelling in April-
  • Swap over winter tires and get a vehicle shampoo and cleaning-
  • Put screens back in the windows and clean them-
  • Take out all of the patio/deck and sunroom furniture-
  • Start thinking about planting our basil seedlings-


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 2016 Year I will also keep track of each month below and update the monthly budgets page.

I will start the list off with our end of year budget update from 2015 just in case you missed it.

That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of May 2016 to see how we made out with our April 2016 budget.

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!

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