There’s one budget tool that can save your finances, and if you’re not applying it properly, it won’t work for you.
If another month has come and gone and you have failed to balance your budget, that doesn’t mean your efforts failed you.
It simply means you need to focus on budget categories that need attention, bringing in more money and spending less.
One tool is more important than all of the above, especially for people who give up on budgeting because it’s not working for them.
If you’re not already doing this, you should be.
Let me explain.
Make Money, Save It, Spend It And Start All Over Again
For starters please don’t forget that there will never be a perfect budget as it will always have flaws.
Even we have good months and bad months and we’re debt free which wasn’t an easy journey.
What you have saved in the bank or with investments has nothing to do with meeting your monthly budget goals.
Find This Budget Tool
I’m afraid the one budget tool to start using a budget is not just an actual budget; that comes after and, to be honest, doesn’t take that much effort.
With all the free budget spreadsheets available on Canadian Budget Binder, it’s easy.
What you do need, and I’m not saying this to try and trick you or come up with any silly secrets to financial success, but it’s, Time.
TIME is the one budget tool needed along with a budget that suits your lifestyle.
Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc…without invested time you may never reach your goals.
So many people resort to searching out the easiest way to make money but forget making it is not the hardest part. Keeping it is.
Get rich quick schemes may work for the short-term but they are never sustainable, so take what you can get but don’t count on it to fund your budget month after month- It won’t.
Budget Tool (Time) + Budget Spreadsheet
Your budget will become its own money-making machine because it forces you to spend less than you earn and to save any extra money to pay off debts or stash into savings or investments.
If you are saying to yourself right now that you don’t have any extra money to spare, you will.
Money isn’t going to land in your bank account the minute you start to use a budget. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.
You want the hard truth well, I’ve given it to you, and if no other personal finance expert reminds you about time management, then you’re missing out on your main tool of successful budgeting.
If you can balance your agenda to include an hour a week of budget reviews and a clear mindset to where you want to see yourself financially, your budget pipeline should not break.
Work Your Way Up The Budget Tool
Start slow and begin to incorporate time into your budget and you’ll find the need to want more data.
When I graduated university I wish I was earning mega bucks right from the start with no debt.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
I had to work my way up the ladder with lots of roadblocks along the way, but I did it. Why?
Since I invested time and energy into achieving my financial goals, I wasn’t solely focused on the debt.
I was working on the solution to the debt which is far more productive than doing nothing.
Wasting time gets you nowhere, so instead of crying over your financial situation, which won’t change unless you get rich or someone pays your debt like John Oliver, who bought and forgave 15 million dollars worth of debt for unsuspecting people, find alternate ways to creep back into debt freedom even if it takes you years.
Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc.
Time is the tool you need to carry you through to debt freedom.
How you utilize that time and where you focus your efforts will determine how successful you will be.
It’s your choice!
Discussion: Do you set time aside every month to work on your budget?
Share in the comment section below tips that have worked to keep you on schedule.
Where Our Money Went In May
Another astounding month in terms of income due to me working lots of hours.
We may never earn this much again, but it’s a good income while it is coming in.
However, that doesn’t mean that I have to go out and spend it.
Nothing lasts forever so take advantage of the good times to support the bad.
We had minimal bills to pay in terms of expenses, therefore leaving us with plenty of emergency savings.
Pick Your Budget
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 to make all the changes you like to the budget to reflect your lifestyle, which you asked me for in your emails. (See, I do listen and read your comments and emails)
Although I would love to help every fan with their budget, I cannot 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 who wants to use it, 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.
Free CBB 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.
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.
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 to not go into debt. That my friends are called “living below your means.”
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 of 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.
- 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 May 2016
Our savings of 66.01% include savings and investments and emergency savings for this month.
If you include the projected expenses savings, we actually saved 80.31% of our income.
That’s $10771.35 going into savings or investments of some description or another.
The monthly totals come to 100%, which shows that we spent our income this month and used the rest as emergency savings.
Our projected expenses this month is at 14.30%.
Budget percentages 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. Still, I hope you view this as an educational tool rather than comparing your own financial numbers, as our situations are 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.
However, we do plan to enjoy the money we’ve saved now since we haven’t over the years with our son.
We do with our “extra cash” is our business, and although we 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.
- 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: $5093.64
- Monthly Net Income Total: $13412.21
- (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 = $1917.68
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: $3894.36
- Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $13412.21 (total net monthly income) – $1,917.68 (projected expenses) – $7600.17 (emergency savings) = $3894.36
- Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $13412.21 (total monthly net income) – $3894.36 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1917.68 (projected expenses) = $7600.17
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, so it’s essential 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 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.
We will have to track, which means month after month manually, 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 it’s revolving. 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 using 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
As an example, if our clothing category were 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, we need to pull $30 from the projected expenses account to pay for this expense or 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 plan to create a projected expenses spreadsheet to track the expenses all year long; otherwise, you need to manually do it 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)
Time for the juicy category numbers and to see how we made out with our monthly budget.
Below you will see two tables: our monthly budget and our actual budget for May 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 May 2016
Actual budget expenses for May 2016
June 2016 Goals
Here are my June 2016 goals along with whether I completed tasks from May 2016.
- 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 I’m hoping to set up an appointment when I’m finished work this month.
- Finish sanding and stain our sons kitchen table and chairs – Fail
- Start revamping old blog posts (2 a month)- Pass I finished 2 this month
- Finish the master bathroom shower- Fail Once I’m sorted out with my job I’ll have a better idea for a renovation timeline.
- Pick out new tiles for bathroom and accessories (mirror, towel bar holder etc.)- Not yet
- Buy a new blind for the garage- Fail but we’re looking mostly at second-hand shops. We’d rather not buy a new one if we don’t have to since it’s just going to get mucky.
- Finish the walls in the baby room- We talked about this and we may just take the crib apart and bring his toddler bed upstairs. This is going to be some long training sessions to get him to sleep in his room. We may end up taking down the jungle theme and replacing it with a car theme.
- Write down what we want in our new kitchen- We discussed whether we wanted to put in an IKEA kitchen or a high-end kitchen. We’re still pondering our options although most houses in our neighborhood up for sale are selling in less than a week with the original kitchen.
- Start looking at pricing for a new insulated garage door- Fail
- Buy a pressure washer- Fail but I’m looking and waiting for the one I want to go on sale.
- Sort through our sons clothes and sell some- We didn’t sell any clothes this month however we did sell a basketball net that we got for free for $15. Our neighbour told us to do what we wanted with the kids stuff he gave us.
- Research Kitchen designers in our area- Not really
- Start researching vacation spots for 2016- We are not going away this year unfortunately. We were planning a big trip however something important has popped up for me in the middle of my vacation time which I can’t change.
- Hang paintings and wrought iron decor on the walls- Fail however I did sit one up against the wall. Does that count? ha~
- Swap over winter tires and get a vehicle shampoo and cleaning- I did not clean the inside of the vehicle yet. We’re thinking about selling our 2 vehicles and just buying one big truck
- Take out all the patio/deck and sunroom furniture- The deck stuff is out but the sunroom stuff is not. The plan is to get this completed when I am home on vacation. Right now our son is using the sunroom as a giant playroom.
- Start thinking about planting our basil seedlings- Pass
- Sand and protect the deck for the year-
- Start planning a sand pit for our son out back-
- Possibly making a rock pit for our son out back-
- Purge our clothes little by little and get rid of them-
- Clean out the entire garage- Half of the garage is cleaned. The other half has our second vehicle which I need to move out at some point.
- Get the hanging baskets ready to go- Well, they are hanging but they are empty. We also have to pick up some flowers to put in them this month.
- Hang the outside iron decor- Not yet but that’s in the June plans
- Buy mulch and tidy up the front and back gardens- The back garden looks great however I need to get mulch. Our rhubarb is so big it’s unreal. I hope to give it away for free to someone who can use it.
- Wash the windows inside and out around the entire house- The downstairs windows have been done but not the upstairs as of yet. On the to-do list.
- Kill the ants- I can’t seem to get rid of them so I’ll have to buy something more powerful than what I have-
- Fix a million broken toys from my son. My wife has a collection for me on the fireplace.-
- Tidy up the office (or else)-
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.
That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of July 2016 to see how we made out with our June 2016 budget.
Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!
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