Our Family Budget

How To Make Fast Money In Canada Using The 3 Z’s Of Finance : Our February 2017 Budget Update

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What would happen if your pay cheque was short $100 and you needed fast money to pay the bills?

For many Canadians a small financial loss such as $100 is a huge hit to their monthly income. I know what it’s like to have an almost empty bank account in Canada. I’m the type of guy who likes to rely on myself so after Mrs. CBB and I got married I got down to business trying to figure out my earning potential.

Starting from scratch in a new country is difficult just as it is for those who are already living here and have been for some time. It’s not about just who you know it’s also about the art of negotiating, communicating and networking.

Living pay cheque to pay cheque is reality for many Canadians as prices soar in just about every budget category imaginable. Lately I’ve had some inquiries from readers who are either new to Canada, been here for some time or born here wanting to know how they can earn fast money.

My first response would typically include me asking why they want to make fast money. The other is , how fast is fast? Fast as in Zoom, Zoom Zoom or Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Related: 6 Simple Ideas To Generate Cash Money When You’re Broke

If the bank or any  other financial institution won’t give you a loan or you don’t want to go that route there are other options to earn fast money in Canada. Who knows your small entrepreneurial ideas might turn your empty bank account into a monster fortune.

Today I’m going to briefly talk about the 3 Z-levels of fast money to be made and how one can go about starting the process. The idea is to earn money as fast as possible to put towards needs


Fast Money Needed Yesterday…Zoom Zoom Zoom


This is always a tough category to tackle because if you needed the money yesterday that means it’s already come due. When bills are pas the due date the collectors will come calling. If you don’t have the money ready you may be able to swindle some time but often they want their money or else you pay the consequences.

Most often after the first non-payment you will incur interest, credit history ding and possibly the ability to negotiate an easier payment plan. They want their money so if you offer to pay it back a little at a time that will buy you some time to earn some fast cash, zoom zoom style.

How? Good question. It really depends on what you’re good at.

Buying low and selling high is a great way to make fast money provided what you buy is in great shape. Visiting a second-hand shop looking for goods to sell is a big business for many people with time to spare. A simple scrub, painting or repair can make something new again. Once this happens you can sell the product for money.

Alternatively keep an eye out for people giving away free stuff that you can pick up and do the same as above. It works out even better this way as you aren’t forking out the cash for the first investment. Sell the stuff on Kijiji, Facebook or on a community board with your employer (if permitted).

Go through your closet

Almost everyone has more clothes and accessories than they know what to do with. If you’ve got stuff in your closet that you haven’t worn for months or years, sell it. Make fast money from selling stuff you no longer use. Recently I had two books that I had already read so I sold them for $10 each. I paid $1.00 each at a garage sale last summer.

Related: 5 Garage Sale Staging Secrets To Sell Your Stuff Fast

I was also able to sell a hockey jersey that Mrs. CBB bought me from Value Village when I first came to visit her in Canada. As much as I appreciated the jersey it was collecting some serious dust in the closet so I sold it for $75 the first day I listed it. She paid $5.99 at Value Village for it back in 2006. That’s some great profit even if I pay her back the $5.99 she invested in the shirt for me. (It was a gift so it’s all mine, ha)

During the summer months grab your lawn mower and start knocking on doors to offer your services. If you don’t have a lawn mower watch Kijiji or free curb alerts. I picked up a free lawn mower a few years back that my neighbour pitched out to the curb. All it needed was a new filter that I picked up at Sears since it was a Craftsman model for $5. Now I have a practically free lawn mower that I’ve had no issues with ever since.

Related: How I Earn Extra Money Using My Skills and Passion

Homeowners sell their old stuff for cheap especially if they’ve already purchased something new or upgraded to a better model. They want it gone fast so make an offer they can’t refuse and be on your way to earning some fast money this summer.

Ideally I would suggest sitting down and thinking about all the ways you can make money in your home country and apply it in Canada. Also try to source and fill needs that you may find in your new community. If you have any ideas you can bounce them off friends you have for feedback.


Fast Money Now…Zoom Zoom


Since moving to Canada there have been times that I tried my hand at earning some extra cash to help pay for my education costs using my skills. There were times I would help Mrs. CBB’s friends with home renovations such as a kitchen installation or roofing jobs that earned me some fast money.

I never wanted the money but they insisted so I took it out of respect for them and applied it to my new life in Canada. Although it wasn’t much money it was something that I didn’t want to take for granted as I was appreciative of the gesture.

In a weekend or even a day we could finish a roof, install a new deck, tiling, lawn maintenance etc. to earn zoom, zoom fast money. If I didn’t need the cash I could have easily saved it up as emergency cash but instead of using our savings I decided to earn money in Canada to spend in Canada. At that time my money was all tied up in the UK so making fast money was important to me. It also gave me a sense of belonging and contributing to our family income.

Once I started my full-time job I was unable to help friends out like I used to so instead of money I got free beer, pizza and lots of laughs. It was nice to meet friends who were willing to hire a friend to help him gain some Canadian experience. Apparently I was lacking such experience according to one job interview I went to.

Related: How to make money fast without going crazy

If you’re new to Canada or simply looking for some fast cash look to your friends and family who are willing to pay for your skilled services. You help them and they help you get ahead or on top of your monthly finances. Maybe you don’t have many or any friends in Canada yet so look to networking, going to church or other community functions and mingle your way into some new long-lasting friendships. You may even score yourself a job too like I did! It never hurts.


Fast Money For Tomorrow…Zoom


Side-hustles are always a good thing especially if you are earning passive income without having to do much. Apart from investing your money and watching it earn yearly dividends there are other ways you can earn emergency fast money for tomorrow.

These types of earning potentials may take a bit of time to get off the ground but with some elbow grease you may have yourself a practical earning system. Starting a money-making blog is a great way to earn fast money once you get over the first hump of learning the ropes.

My mate Pauline who blogs over at Make Money Your Way has some great ideas for making money online through,

  • Freelancing
  • Blogging
  • Photography
  • Selling stuff

If you’ve got a camera and a great eye for photos you can sell your stock photos or start a photography business. If the money you make is past your emergency savings fund limit you can invest it to earn even more money. Money makes money as long as you handle it properly but not without risk.

Perhaps you have other ideas to earn fast money for your emergency savings fund or retirement fund and the best way to do that is to see what others need. If you find a gap or need in your community you may be able to step in and earn extra money.

A friend of ours makes regular trips to the dump with her truck and charges $20-$75 a trip depending on the haul. She noticed a need while searching online for sale ads and wanted ads. There was always a struggle to pick items up, move items out or bring junk to the dump. It’s a nice little side-business for her.

The truck is loaded and unloaded by the homeowner. All she does is provide the transportation. Not everyone owns a truck so this is a simple way for her to make fast cash which she invests in real estate and retirement savings. Smart.


Getting started is half the battle


You aren’t going to earn money for nothing unless you’ve mastered the art of investing like Mark over at My Own Advisor. This year Mark is on pace to earning $14,200 in dividend income as stated in his February 2017 Dividend income report. Even then there’s lots of initiative involved with his investments and future retirement savings through personal management.

As long as your fast money-making skills are legal you can be well on your way to a stress free yesterday, today and tomorrow. You know, Zoom, Zoom Zoom and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. Canada is a wonderful place to live with plenty of opportunity to make money as long as you don’t expect it to fall from the sky.

Discussion Question: What would happen if your pay was short $150 this month? What would be the fastest way for you to earn some money?


Where our money went in February


February 2017 Month Income and Expenses

After our January earnings it was nice to see an increase in our net income for February at just under $9500. The most obvious in February was the “Spent Too Much” category which means we blew over the budget.

In February the budget categories that took the biggest hit were miscellaneous, holiday and Kijiji.

  • Misc $798
  • Holiday $2500
  • Kijiji $160

You probably do not know we’ve booked our holiday to the UK for the three of us which totalled just over $2500 unless of course you’re an avid reader of this blog. We also purchased some bits from Kijiji for the little guy such as a new Melissa and Doug kitchen and 6 piece drum kit to encourage him to explore. So far he loves them.

We’ve also invested in some top of the line Melissa and Doug wooden kitchen food to help him with his food prep skills. The best money we’ve spent on educational toys so far and easily recouped when we resell. Over the past couple of months we’ve sold lots of the toys we’ve purchased and so far we’ve earned more money back then we initially invested.

Our miscellaneous category was higher as Mrs. CBB purchased a brand new unlocked 32gb Samsung 7 phone for $550. The accessories were purchased on Amazon Canada for far less than what the shops at the mall were charging.


Pick a Free 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.


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 few months and see how it goes. Trial and error, remember that.


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 “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 February 2017


February 2017 Household Percentages

Our savings of 13.58% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month. If you include the projected expenses savings, we actually saved 13.58% of our income. That’s $1967.68 going into savings or investments of some description or another. We basically saved only our projected expenses this month.

The monthly totals comes to 105.11% which shows that we over spent this month due to our flights/holiday booking

The other categories were well within the defined percentage limits. Our projected expenses this month is at 21.52%.


Budget percentages month by month


February 2017 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.

Just 10 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: $5163.64
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$9145.13
  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 = $1967.68
  8. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out$7644.33
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $9145.13 (total net monthly income) – $1,967.68 (projected expenses) – (-$467.28) (emergency savings) = $7644.33
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $9145.13 (total monthly net income) – $7644.33 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1967.68 (projected expenses) = –$466.88


How to save for future expenses


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 2017.

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 $1967.68 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.


Example 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 essentially becoming 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 when I find some time I can incorporate that into our budget 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.


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 2017. This budget represents 2 adults and a toddler plus our investments.

Budget colours

If highlighted in blue that means it is a projected expense. You will also see our budget does not include the emergency savings as it is factored in at the end.


Budget for February 2017


February 2017 Monthly Budgeted Amounts

There will be a few changes to the March budget such as my allowance bumped to $50/month Groceries $265/month, Car Insurance/House Insurance $168.79/month, Investments $1241.66/month, Rogers Telecommunications we’re waiting on a new billing amount.


Actual budget expenses for February 2017


February 2017 Actual Monthly Budget


March 2017 Goals


Here are our March 2017 goals along with whether we completed tasks from February 2017.

For the months of March and April I am going to keep chores and goals minimal as we really just want to move out stuff that we no longer need, sell what we can make money from and start Spring cleaning. Renovations will take a back seat until I’m home more during the summer months.

  • Call around to lawyers to talk about getting a Will written up- Waiting on lawyer.
  • Start revamping old blog posts: I completed 2 in February.
    Finish the master bathroom shower- This is on hold until further notice.
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- Fail It’s just not a huge priority but it’s hanging on. I’ll get there.
  • Finish the walls in the baby room- We have his room almost complete apart from the walls and removing baby decor.
  • Start researching vacation spots for 2017- Booked but still looking for a 3 day mini-trip.
  • Hang paintings and wrought iron decor on the walls- Waiting for renovations;
  • Purge our clothes little by little– We will be working on our sons clothes in March/April so we can start selling them.
  • Start preparing for our holiday- Currently we’re looking for suitcases and making sure we are prepared for taking a toddler on board a plane.
  • Find some nice friendly personal finance bloggers to guest post while I’m gone- Message me if you want in!!
  • Start thinking about Spring Cleaning chores.


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 2017 Year I will also keep track of each month below and update the monthly budgets page.

January 2017

That’s all for this month check back at the beginning of April 2017 to see how we made out with our March 2017 budget

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!

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  1. About a month ago I stumbled onto your blog.

    I love it and find it inspiring. My dh (dear husband) and I have been doing our monthly budget together for 2 years now. it makes us both accountable to our commitments and savings. We have 3 years left on the mortgage which I’m sure will fly by as I find time passes so quickly as we get older (haha).

    I gone through all 65+ pages on your blogs.

    I was thinking that perhaps it would be great if you had the times and thought it would be useful to tackle 2 subject matters.

    1. The moochers (the freeloaders) in our lives, we all have atleast 1.
    2. Taking pride in ownership whether it’s a home or furniture as not everyone owns a home. What I mean is taking the time to address the issues that need to be fixed before they are beyond saving. Example that chair that needs some glue, if not fixed you need to buy a new chair. Addressing the small drywall repair before it turns into a much larger problem.


    1. Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for stopping by CBB to read. I appreciate when the fans leave me comments like this. I will certainly look into both of these topics. Tomorrow as you know we will talk about the moochers over on Facebook during What’s For Dinner. The other topic is excellent as well. You’re so right. Many people leave stuff to deteriorate and wait until it’s too late to save it. That’s a big no-no in our house.

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