Mortgage Freedom Means You Still Need To Run : Our May 2017 Budget Update




Teach me how to get rich my sister-in-law asks me surprisingly a few weeks back since finding out we’ve been mortgage free 4 years as of May 2017. I don’t know about the “Rich” part but I can certainly talk for hours about budgets, frugal living and the importance of it all.


Mortgage Freedom is just the beginning


Since burning our mortgage papers Mrs. CBB and I have done one thing that some people might stop doing.

Do you want to know what it is?

Of course you do.

Related: How we became mortgage free in 5 years

We never stopped with the financial discipline we’ve ingrained into our routine over the past 10 years. Sometimes it’s hard to look back and think it has been that long but not really when you consider the life of a typical mortgage is 20-25 years.

I don’t have all the answers but I do know that if you aren’t prepared to invest in your finances then you must deal with what you have. I don’t care if you’re already rich, collecting welfare, earn minimum wage, live on disability or other pensions you MUST know where your money is going. Most importantly, you must know where it’s coming from.


Free yourself from past money mistakes


I know my money savvy fans will agree with me here. You just can’t work your financial house without managing your money properly.  It’s important to let go of any anger about money over your financial situation because if there is no way to change that there’s no point wasting time thinking about it. Use that time to think of ways that you can earn extra income, degree or diploma and take charge of the money you DO have coming in.


Tell me about your money


We/I earn it and We/I spend it is not the answer I want to hear but I have on many occasions.

It can get frustrating when people tell me that they know where their money is going but with an angry undertone blaming the world. I understand living on less is not ideal as I’ve been there before but what I didn’t do is complain about it. You know why? No one gives a hoot! You know I’m a blunt kind of guy but if you don’t care about it why would anyone else?

Goal-oriented people are likely to follow successful people because they want to find out how they achieved it rather than listen to some miserable person moaning about their money. Do I feel sorry for people like that? In a way yes because I wish I could be there to hold their hand and say, you CAN do this. I listen, because I’m passionate about helping others see their potential.

Related: Budgeting with Mr.CBB got us back on track


Just keep running


The problem today is that people who are struggling with a limited income, price increase, low interest rates, consumer debt or other financial obligations forget that if you want out you have to do two things; Run and Jump.

Is mortgage freedom in the cards for you? Sure, if you want it bad enough. If not you follow the payment schedule and go on with your life. Nothing wrong with that either.

Remember though that you might Fall and Bounce Back but never give up. Don’t ever do that. Bounce forward as many times as you fall until you JUMP and then run and keep running without looking back. You’ll always remember what the start felt and looked like and even the path that led you to achieve your goals.

Best of all, you’ll want to share your win.

  • Jump
  • Bounce forward
  • Bounce Back
  • Run
  • Jump
  • Fall
  • Bounce
  • Jump
  • Run


Entrepreneurs start small


If your financial situation seems typical of the above then you know you have to either get creative with your lifestyle in ways that will help you save money or make more money.

There are people I know who struggle to make ends meet but they find ways to earn a side-income that will help supplement the money coming in each month. It is these people who will rise above especially with an entrepreneurial  mindset.

Entrepreneurial… “taking of financial risks in the hope of profit; enterprising.”

The key word in the above is “risk” and that’s because we all need to take a bit of it to Jump. How the rest plays out is up to you. That’s where time and discipline come in.

If you have not 1 entrepreneurial bone in your body then create new ways for you to wake up in the morning. Chopping the cable bill to save $100 a month might be mind-blowing to someone who is home all day. Do you really need to watch TV all day? Not really. What else could you be doing with your time to increase income and overall happiness with your financial picture.


Give up to get ahead


If you tell me you can’t shave even$5 off your monthly budget you know I’ll tell you that’s a load of crap. You can! In fact you can probably make $5 every two weeks selling something you bought that’s collecting dust or buying and selling for profit.

My wife’s aunt and uncle don’t need money but they still earn a nice profit growing and selling tomatoes and eggs to the locals. Not only do they get to meet people in their community they keep active and fit. They are in their 80’s by the way.

If you can find one small task that can save you money such as mowing lawns, washing windows for a neighbour, delivering newspapers and so on you’ll get ahead. It may be slower than you’d like but we all have to start somewhere. If you don’t have savings split the money you earn and put half towards emergencies and the other half towards debt.


Determination find that because you’ll need it


I moved to Canada with a university degree and my only prospects for work being minimum wage jobs. If I had settled I’d probably still be doing that.  Now just 10 years later I’m earning 6 figures a year but I gave up lots to get ahead. Everyone does. Hard to believe, sometimes I need to shake my head but I did it.

The buck doesn’t stop there though as they say.

If you’re computer savvy there are tonnes of businesses looking for help online with their websites or simply proof-reading blog posts, commenting on blog posts, freelancing. The money is out there but if you’re not disciplined to find it then you get what you put in.

Finance blogger Barry Choi and his wife saved 50% of their mortgage down-payment AND was able to travel all because of a tight budget that included purchasing a used vehicle. Pretty incredible if you think about it.




What about Toronto musician The Weeknd who this week made the Forbes Top List. Abel Tefaye went from homeless to earning 92 million dollars last year. He earns over a million dollars per show and is topping the charts world-wide.

The Weeknd (born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye; February 16, 1990) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer.[1] The Weeknd initially gained recognition after anonymously uploading several songs to YouTube in late 2010. This allowed him to release his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, in early 2011. He released two further independent projects later that year, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, before signing to Republic Records in September 2012.- Wikipedia

Another Toronto native Aubrey Drake Graham earned 97 million dollars in the past year and his structure for getting rich, simple. Free and Cheap then Blast everyone!

After his character ended from the popular Degrassi Junior High kids program and with no high school diploma he needed to do something to make ends meet.

“I was coming to terms with the fact that … I might have to work at a restaurant or something just to keep things going,”- Drake biography

Justin Bieber cashed in at just over 85 million dollars and he’s from a small town in Ontario called Stratford. Playing and offering free music for people got these Ontario guys where they needed to be, at the top of the music charts. What Drake, Justin and Abel realized was that CD’s weren’t going to make them rich, concerts and advertising would.

Drake embodies the new business model for the streaming world: Spread your music as widely and cheaply as possible, then cash in on touring and endorsements. He’s not alone.- Forbes

I’m certainly not saying that if you want mortgage freedom that you have to cut a multi-million dollar record deal and tour the world. Let’s be real for a moment but if you’ve got what it takes go for it. The examples above are artists who marketed themselves for free without even knowing what the impact would be. You Tube, streaming music and hanging out in clubs or on the steps of the Avon theatre like the Biebs is where music is at.

When the world changes you must change with them. The same goes for regular folks like you and I. What used to be fruitful might need to be tweaked or re-arranged completely. Finding a new job because your old job was too boring and you weren’t progressing is a good example.


Only the best work spreads


If you’re talented or you simply want to earn more money to save for retirement or to balance your budget find something that you’re good at and offer it for free or a discounted rate and watch how word of mouth spreads. Before you know it you’ll be cashing in if the deal is too hot to pass up.

Related: How I earn extra income with my skills

I know someone who started out cutting his neighbours lawn who was a senior which blossomed into a small business. Whenever a senior in their community group needed yard work done, who do you think was recommended? Word of mouth can make you rich, richer or richest. If you had $100 yesterday and today you earned $200 you’re now richer by $200.

All politics aside remember that bitching about what’s out of your control is wasted energy. No one cares, besides wouldn’t you rather listen to someone’s success plan rather than their bankruptcy plan.

Related: Stop blaming the government that you’re broke

Four years after achieving mortgage freedom one thing we continue to strive for new accomplishments. Just because you think you’ve run and jumped doesn’t mean you’ve reached the finish line.

Sometimes there’s a brick wall waiting and you don’t want to hit it.



Where our money went in May


May 2017 Month Income and Expenses

May was a busy month since I’m still working two jobs hence the larger net-income. This won’t be forever though and I’ll explain more very shortly.

With our vehicle breaking down and with the added purchases to replace parts we spent more than normal. I’m still waiting to get the vehicle towed so I can have a better look at it before I make any final decisions on it. We will be purchasing a second-hand newer vehicle if we can’t get it running again.

We also spent thousands on our upcoming trip which we’ve budgeted for over the past 8 years. You will start to see these expenses in our May and June budget update. It may seem like we’re spending lots of money on our travels but it’s our splurge. Although we are saving by seeking out deals we are also enjoying 5 star when we can.

That’s our month!!

See you all when I get back from holidays! I’m more than excited as you can imagine to see my family.



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.


Get 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 May 2017


May 2017 Household Percentages

Our savings of 54.40% includes savings and investments and emergency savings for this month. If you include the projected expenses savings, we actually saved 69.74% of our income. That’s $8944.52 going into savings or investments of some description or another.

The monthly total comes to 100% which shows that we accounted for all of our income.

The other categories were well within the defined percentage limits. Our projected expenses this month is at 15.34%.


Budget percentages month by month


May 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: $5187.39
  5. Monthly Net Income Total$12825.52
  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$5122.28
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $12825.52 (total net monthly income) – $1,967.68 (projected expenses) – $5735.56 (emergency savings) = $5122.28
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $12825.52 (total monthly net income) – $5122.28 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $1967.68 (projected expenses) = $5735.56


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 colour chart

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’s factored in at the end.


Budget for May 2017


May 2017 Monthly Budgeted AmountsUgh… I forgot to change my allowance to $50 again. I better put this on my to-do list below.


Actual budget expenses for May 2017


May 2017 Actual Monthly Budget


July 2017 Goals


Here are our June 2017 goals along with whether we completed tasks from May 2017.

For the months of June and July I will keep my goals small as we’ll be away during this time. Once we are home for the summer we can tackle a bit more possibly hiring people to come in and get some of the renovations started.

  • Start revamping old blog posts: I completed 1 in May.
    Finish the master bathroom shower- As soon as we are back from holiday in July I’m starting renovations.
  • Buy a new blind for the garage- YES finally I know!! We got 2 FREE white blinds from Kijiji.
  • Finish revamping our sons room- Still need to finish the walls but everything else is done. Sticker peeling time starts in August.
  • Start researching vacation spots for 2017- Booked… leaving this weekend!
  • Hang paintings and wrought iron decor on the walls- Waiting for renovations;
  • Purge our sons clothes and sell- Done but struggling to sell them.
  • Find some nice friendly personal finance bloggers to guest post while I’m gone- A big thanks and I hope everyone enjoys their posts while we’re away.
  • I’ve been working on the property as much as I can. The back is coming along but needs mulch still. The front is complete and looks great.
  • Take the winter tires off the vehicle and put the all-season back on– Um, yes so this vehicle is in the process of being towed back home from out of town where it died.
  • May- Change allowance on the budget sheet and remember it’s 2017 not 2016- FAIL … will do for August.
  • Start thinking about new deck designs for July- Likely won’t happen until next summer now with all that has been going on in our lives.
  • Find the wasp nest or hire someone to do it – So far nothing seems to be around. We are going to be installing a new wood fence. It seems the wood is rotting underneath which could be a place they are hiding. CHA-CHING!! Never a shortage of things to pay for when you own a house.
  • Clear out the garage– I did but then we filled it up with Baby stuff to sell.
  • Repair all window cranks in the house– It cost me $300 US to get 8 handle cranks for our windows in the house. I know it is costly but compare that to installing new windows when you don’t need to.


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.

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

Happy Budgeting CBB’ers!

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  1. Learning from successful people is a trick that I often use to improve myself. There is no shame in emulating the best. I may not even be half as good as the successful people that I emulated , but the information and skills that I learned is more than enough to apply to my own situation and improve my own finance.

    The key to become successful is to follow in the footsteps of people who had done it. What’s a better way to better mortgage free? Learn from the people that paid off their mortgage. How to become a millionaire? Learn the money saving habits of a millionaire or how they make their money.

  2. Having projected expenses is something I notice a lot of people miss in their budgets. We do something similar, we call them “funds”, we put aside a certain amount each month into each fund. For example $200 a month goes into a new car fund or $200 a month goes into a home maintenance fund. We also set aside money for car repair, gifts, clothes, bike repair, property taxes and vacations each month.

    This way we always have money set aside for those infrequent expenses and our emergency fund can truly be for emergencies.

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