2019 Final Home Budget Report and Review

Year-End Budget Report

An In-Depth Look At An Actual Family Budget Report

In our 2019 home budget report, I will share with you our budget fails and changes that we’ve made to our 2020 family monthly budget.

Your budget will never be perfect so always expect fluctuations in what you plan for and what happens.

For instance, you may plan to save money for a holiday but never go on it.

However, you may plan for healthcare expenses an incur far more bills than you had anticipated.

You’ll see that this happened to us and we are expected to have larger healthcare expenses in 2020.

If you’re embarking on budgeting for the first time I hope our final home budget report allows you a peek into the world of an actual family budget.

For those of you who do budget perhaps, you’ll learn something that you didn’t know before.

Please have a look at the very bottom of this post for the Budget Challenge 2019 Final Budget Report for each participant.

Here we go.

Final Home Budget Report December 2019

December Net Income

Christmas Budget Report

This month was expensive as we expected and of course, we went over budget for Christmas gifts.

Although we save for this in our projected expenses it wasn’t near enough that we anticipated.

Again, this is the reason we created the projected expenses so we can average how much to save.

One of the major costs was a Nintendo Switch that cost us close to $500 and far too much Lego.

This was the first year that we had a family Christmas at home alone and it hit us hard.

We didn’t know what to do with ourselves as this would typically be a huge family affair.

We’ve decided to look at our Christmas budget and adjust our projected expenses for 2020.

As for our Christmas Reserve Fund that was used in full and we’re thankful that we saved for that.

It allowed us to splurge at Costco at the end of the year buying food for Christmas.

We will continue saving for this in 2020.

Healthcare Expenses Budget Report

Our healthcare budget was up in December for Mrs. CBB’s crown at the dentist which cost us $500.

In 2020 we had far more healthcare expenses than anticipated with Mrs. CBB getting 4 crowns that cost us $2000.

We also both had our teeth whitened that ran us a bit over $300 and was an early anniversary gift.

Huge Budget Report Fail 2019

Another downfall for us was that we lost our main excel budget that was calculating our year-end totals.

Back it all up, I know.

Yes, I normally back everything up but this year I slacked mid-year and I’m the only one to blame.

I’ve since ordered a new hard-drive and everything is being backed up to it in 2020.

What this means is that we have nothing to share with you unless I manually add everything up.

I’m going to do our grocery budget for the past 12 months to have a look at that number to see how we did.

2020 Budget Changes

Our 2020 monthly budget will sustain many increases and few reduced budget categories which I will explain below.

Overall, there are some areas that we can’t predict cost outcomes such as healthcare but we are planning.


Travelling back and forth to see my mothers-in-law costing us gas and eating out at restaurants throughout the day.

I’m increasing our gas budget from $200 to $250 for 2020.


Miscellaneous expenses of items that don’t fit in a certain category that arise will stay at $400.

It’s best to have this buffer saved up so that we don’t have any surprises when we get bills we weren’t prepared for.

This might include a trip to the Dollar Store or second-hand shops for random items, expenses for the family that we cover, donations for the year which we don’t disclose on the blog.

We also had a large misc expense this month because I purchased a ticket to fly back to the UK.

This was unexpected due to a family death for us in the family that I must attend.

In 2020 our goal is to tighten up our second-hand shopping trips and only get what we need.

Buy and Selling Tracking Sheet

Keep in mind that we buy and sell from second-hand shops so some of that money does get returned in the form of income.

What we don’t do is track it which I’m going to create a buy and sell tracking printable for our budget binder so we can do that in 2020.

Extra Income Tracking Sheet

I’m also going to create an extra income tracking sheet for our budget binder.

This would include any extra income or money that we received through the year which might be gift cards, cash for selling stuff from our house.

By tracking these figures we will know exactly how much money we are earning on the side for this.

For example, we sold a home decor vase and flowers for $50 that cost us $40.

That earned us $10 but we also put $50 back into our savings account.

These are the numbers we want to see so we know where the money is coming from and how much.

Another example would be hosting a garage sale and adding the profit to the tracking sheet.

Investments Budget Report

Close to the middle of 2019, we increased our investment portfolio quite a bit as you may have noticed.

This also includes a life insurance policy for our son which we can invest in that we pay $500 a month for 10 years.

He will never need to buy life insurance in his life-time. I’ll explain more about this in an upcoming blog post.

We’ve also transitioned our term-life insurance which was coming due to a Par whole life insurance with a Term 20 rider.

I will also discuss this further at some point in the year.

Telecommunications Budget Report

Our telecommunications expense has gone up as well so that will change from $181.90 to $211.90.

We increased our internet to the highest speed available for better streaming of movies, music and overall efficiency with my blogging business.

I can write a portion of this expense off on my income taxes for my blogging business but still want to cut costs.

This cost also includes Mrs. CBB’s cell phone which is $40 a month with taxes.

We’re reviewing this category to remove the cable and home phone in 2020 as we no longer need it.

How much do you pay for high-speed unlimited internet and with who?

Grocery Budget Report

As for our grocery budget, this will also increase to $500 a month from $410 to loosen it up a bit for us.

That is $2oo for each adult and $100 for our son to spend at the grocery store plus our stockpile budget.

We found that we were struggling to keep our grocery budget at the $400 mark especially buying more meat, eggs, seafood, butter, cream, and cheese for our diet.

Since we’ve always had a slim budget where we bought very limited processed or junk food our diets have increased our budget.

Since the FlashFood App has come out we’ve been ordering near reduced products for 50% off which is great.

We also only buy meat when it is 50% off or at a low price so we can stock up as much as possible.

Also, our son is a picky eater so we buy what he will eat each week which means it might not be on sale.

For example, he will eat certain apples but the cost for 5 or 6 apples would be $6 to $8 off-season.

The same goes for strawberries which he loves and that cost is cringe-worthy over the winter months.

We still buy our milk at Shoppers Drug Mart when they have 20x the points and store it in the freezer.

With Mrs. CBB doing extended fasts and intermittent fasting in 2020 we may see a slight decline in her grocery expenses but will assess at the end of the year.

  • January  $400.00
  • February $389.20
  • March $420.93
  • April $415.15
  • May $410.00
  • June $415.21
  • July $422.53
  • August $415.25
  • September $255.69
  • October $411.17
  • November $505.75
  • December $501.66

Year Total $4962.54-$4920.00 Yearly Budgeted Amount = $42.54 over budget

The grocery budget increase for 2020 will allow us some room to grow.

Property Tax Increase

If you own a house then you know what it’s like to get your annual property tax bill to see an increase.

Property Taxes for 2020 have increased slightly for 2020 which will be reflected in our budget.

I will have an accurate number once we get our bill in the mail.

We pay this expense monthly as a direct debit from our bank account.

Entertainment Budget Report

Entertainment Budget increase for 2020 from $50 to $100 what we don’t use stays in savings.

We did quite a bit of travelling in 2019 which meant we ate out more since it was family-related.

While travelling we always fill a cooler with snacks and drinks but we do stop for coffee breaks often.

Since our son is getting older we like to treat him to a muffin, ice-cream or trip to McDonald’s.

Our son also struggles with eating which means if he will eat something we will buy it and pizza is his number one.

We’ve tried the homemade pizza route and frozen pizza and he won’t eat it so we get take-out pizza bi-weekly.

We are working with doctors and other health professionals so it’s not a case of letting him starve if he won’t eat what we cook.

The good part is that he likes to help me in the kitchen and doesn’t mind putting an apron on.

It’s so darn cute too.

He helps me to crack eggs, stir and pour ingredients into bowls when I bake or make meatballs or other easy recipes.

Grocery Stockpiling

Grocery Stockpiling Budget Increase to $50 (mostly Keto products when on sale)

In 2019 we found that any time we went grocery shopping and we found a Keto product on sale it was either get it or lose out.

You don’t always find great deals or coupons for that matter so it’s a case of just buy it which we did.

For example, at Costco when the almond flour goes on sale from $17.99 to $15.99 that’s a bargain.

Costco has the lowest price on almond flour anywhere as well as nuts, oils, spices and other essential keto products my wife uses.

I’ve changed my diet and only eat salads and protein so I don’t need to stock up on anything much for myself unless I find beans, corn or pickled beets on sale.

Memberships Budget Report

Membership, Clubs and Sports increase since our son plays soccer year-round, summer Baseball and Swimming.

Right now we will be holding off on swimming as our son was struggling with that due to his health issues.

Hopefully, in the future, we can get him back into swimming so he can be a strong swimmer as he gets older.

I’m not sure if he will want to participate in baseball this summer or another sport and will assess when the time comes.

Soccer is $80 a month which will be factored into this budget category for 12 months.

Total $1060/12= $88.33 a month in projected expenses

My membership is $70 a year so $5.83 a month added to that cost is $94.16 rounded to $95 total for projected expenses monthly.

This expense has gone up slightly due to removing the swimming and baseball for the time being.

Healthcare Expenses Budget Report

Healthcare Expenses increase as we are faced with increased personal health issues for our son that aren’t covered fully in 2020.

Right now we aren’t sure the extent of this increase but we may have a bill of $3500- $7500 later in 2020.

We will save for this each month as a projected expense $625 month plus our regular expenses bumped from $70 to $200.

We haven’t seen significant prescription increases however we have had med changes that have added expenses.

I’m covered up to 85% and then we pay the rest out-of-pocket.

This year Mrs. CBB is also in physio so that has added costs to our budget.

I also believe we will see an additional 2 crowns for Mrs. CBB for $1000.

The increase will also cover additional costs not covered by benefits for dental.

With the changes above we will be projecting $800 a month for Healthcare and Prescriptions in 2020.

That’s a whopper of a number but right now we have to wait and see what will happen with our son.

Any money that we save that doesn’t get used will go to savings.

Health and Beauty Budget Report

Health and Beauty expenses were up in 2019 and will increase from $60 to $80 a month in 2020.

Most of that was spent at Shoppers Drug Mart which we paired with sales, optimum rewards points and coupons.

Our Shoppers Optimum points increased in 2019 by one million points or $1000.

With our 5 million Optimum Points on Bonus Redemption days that would significantly increase the worth.

I’m going to figure that out the next redemption period and update all of you.

Budget Categories Removed

I’ve also taken out budget categories that are no longer necessary as Work Tools and A/C service.

We’ve also decided to combine Home Renovations and Home Maintenance as we feel in our situation that they fall under the same category.

Tracking Projected Expenses 2020

Now that I created the projected expenses tracking sheet we will use that so we know what we are spending.

As soon as I can find the time I will begin editing the monthly budget spreadsheet so it will automatically do this.

I just don’t have the time right now so paper and pencil will do just as well.

In 2019 we learned that we spend too much time shopping at second-hand shops and we put a stop to that.

That’s our big mission for 2020 so we don’t spend money that we don’t need to spend.

It’s so hard to say no sometimes especially when you find a deal that you know you can use.

So many people think that just because we have a budget blog that budgeting is easy, it’s challenging.

We’re human and face the exact challenges that everyone else faces.

For the most part, we are strict with our budget especially when it comes to paying ourselves first.

Since we’ve become debt-free I’ve noticed that we spend more money.

The good thing is that we do have the money and our future retirement goals are being met.

Another year to battle the budget but overall we were quite happy how our 2019 turned out.


Home Budget Percentages December 2019

December 2019 Household Percentages

Our savings of  33.08% include investments as well as any savings for this month based on the net income of $10,251.25.

We put money away in our projected expenses for things that need to be paid for in the coming months.

All of the categories took 100% of our income which shows that we accounted for all of the income in December.

Monthly Home Budget Expenses

Below is a breakdown of our expenses which helps us to understand where all of our money goes.

Since May 2014 we’ve 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 financial numbers as our situations are all unique.

Spending less than we earn and budgeting our money has been the easiest way for us to pay down debt and save money.

It may be different for you.

December Net Income

  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: $5902.63
  5. Monthly Net Income Total: $10,251.25
  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 = $324.98
  8. Total Expenses Paid Out: $9054.31
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $10,251.25 (total net monthly income) – $324.98 (projected expenses) –$871.96 (savings to emergency fund) = $9054.31
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $10,251.25 (total monthly net income) – $9054.31 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $324.98 (projected expenses) = $871.96

Monthly Home 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 December 2019.

Monthly Home Budget Amounts

This budget represents 2 adults and a young boy plus retirement investments.

Budget colour chart: If highlighted in blue that means it is a projected expense.

Family Budget Example   

Monthly Home Budget Actual Expenses

December 2019 Actual Monthly Budget

10 Step Mini Budgeting Series

Free Budget Education

Do you want to learn to budget as we do?

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.

Our Ultimate Budgeting Guide from A to Z has everything you need to know about budgeting in one blog post.

Over the years we’ve created a 10 Step Mini Budgeting Series that will help you understand how to start using a budget.

CBB Home Budget Updates Month By Month

Just 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.

2019 Home Budget Challenge

2019 Canadian Budget Binder Budget Challenge

When I was looking for people to join the CBB 2019 Budget Challenge in December I had over 20 people join.

Note: If you want to join the 2020 Budget Challenge email (canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.ca or contact me (see contact Mr.CBB tab) right away.

Here we are at the last month of our 2019 Budget Challenge and these 4 lovely ladies have completed all 12 months.

I’m SO PROUD of them as they have been by my side this past year and did what most people struggle with, budgeting.

Since we started with 20 participants in January 2019 and are now down to 4 I’ve decided to split the prize between all 4 of them.

Each of you will be getting a gift card for participating and I trust that you all learned ways to improve the way you tackle your finances.

If you can all just message me your addresses that would be amazing.

Congrats on a successful year.

Starting in February once I post our January Budget update we will see the next participants for our 2020 Budget Challenge.


December 2019 Budget Challenge Update:

And then there were 4!

We started the year with 20 participants and are down to 4.

I’m so proud of these budgeteers!

As our budget challengers ventures along you may see their budget reports increase in data which I expect especially because it’s a learning experience for everyone.

The more you do a task the better you get at it and the more you learn about what you are doing.

The budget reports below will remain anonymous unless the writer chooses to use their name and each one will be unique.

They get to choose how they report their budget back to us.

Here we GO!!!

Budget Challenger #1

Bye-bye 2019, hello 2020! 

Happy New Year everyone!

I have to say that 2019 was a successful year for us financially in that we met all of our goals not without a struggle and some pretty creative jostling but we met them nonetheless.

Hip Hip Hooray!

I can be a real taskmaster when it comes to us saving under all conditions and for that matter postponing our purchases for as long as we possibly can!

Ever since we eliminated our mortgage for the final time, an ABSOLUTE RULE in our house is that we do not carry debt of any kind from one year into the next.

Hubby sleeps a lot better knowing that we don’t owe anyone a thing.

I was more comfortable with using debt to fund the purchase of investments and real estate as long as we had the funds to pay the debt in full whenever we wanted to.

Debt is rather like investing though…everyone’s risk tolerance is different.

Having achieved our real estate goals, I agreed to eliminate debt from our financial equation.

Now at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve…all our debts must be $0.00.

It’s written in stone no matter how much wiggling and jiggling are required to make it happen!

On the plus side is that it makes calculating our net assets super duper easy, Total Assets – Zero Liabilities = Net Assets.

We had a rather horrible surprise in December … the timeshare fees and taxes for our 4 timeshares went WAY, WAY UP this year and compounding the increase was the fact the US dollar is relatively strong right now.

The conversion to Canadian dollars increased the already hefty bite out of our budget. 

The funds I had set aside to pay our fees were $1,600 short of what we needed. EEK! That’s a lotta scratch to try and come up within the final month of the year…keeping in mind our ABSOLUTE RULE!!  

On the plus side, I put the payments thru on my MARRIOTT BONVOY AMEX and will earn 50,000 points to use toward travel in 2020. It’s like having more FREE stays available to us.

Since I won’t carry debt from one year to another, here’s what I did to be able to pay off the credit card in full:

  1. I cancelled a $250 order of assorted party trays for New Year’s Eve. This made me sad, but you do what you have to do. In the last few years, since I got out of the hospital from a near-death experience, those party trays were what we did to celebrate the holiday season so I felt like a miserable old Grinch that just cancelled our entire holiday season. I am so lucky that my hubby is so “go with the flow”. As long as I don’t tell him to simply starve for the holiday week…he’s good with rolling with whatever I need to do. He has absolute faith that no matter what we have to eat over the holiday season…it will be tasty.  Last night he told me that simply sharing the holidays with me is the highlight for him. He’d happily have toast for supper if I was having toast with him.
  2. I also cancelled our traditional New Years Day Ham dinner with Black Eyed Peas since the price of a nice bone-in ham is just getting nasty these days! I asked hubby to guess what the price would be and I told him to double what he guessed. He was shocked! I was going to pay it but not when I need those funds to cover a 2019 bill. I had $100 set aside for our New Years’ dinner, so I now have gathered up $350 of the $1,600 I need to cover the fees.

This year we will make our holiday week all about shopping for the pantry for our meal possibilities.

My primary goal ever since 2015 is to make sure that hubby is as well-positioned financially EVERY SINGLE DAY as I possibly can…in case my heart problems rear their ugly head again.

There’s no guarantee that I would survive the 2nd round.

  1. I also cut the budget that I had set aside for our December vacation down to $200 by making our lunches in the room instead of dining out…that’s a $400 reduction.
  2. That brings my re-purposed funds to $750 of the $1,600 that I needed to find.

I can buy a lot of groceries for $200.00 for our month away plus we still have $180 in our grocery budget for December that I plan to use a portion of re-stocking my perishables when we get home.

Vacation Food Budget

Our vacation breakfasts and dinners were courtesy of the Club Floor Lounge at the hotel.

I allowed $10 a day for lunches & snacks for two people for 20 days.

To make that budget work, we brought;

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • strips of bacon
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • chocolate milk
  • Fuji apples
  • slices of assorted melons
  • bananas
  • cold sautéed asparagus
  • pimento-stuffed queen olives
  • soft drinks
  • coffee
  • hot chocolate packets
  • sugar/sweetener packets
  • cookies
  • brownies
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Diet Mountain Dew and copious bottles of water to our room from the club floor lounge.

I’m not much of a breakfast person, we can bring assorted breakfast materials to the room each day for me and I use those FREE goodies to construct our lunches.

We made;

  • Bacon and Tomato Sandwiches
  • Clubhouse Sandwiches
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
  • Cottage Cheese with raw fruit and vegetable plates
  • Instant Oatmeal loaded with diced fruit
  • Thai Chili Tuna-Asparagus-Instant Rice bowls
  • Cup of Soups or a Cheese-Cold Meat-Cracker-Pickle plates for our lunches

We had the following for our evening snacks and drinks;

  • Yogurt
  • Cookies
  • Tarts
  • Squares
  • Chips
  • Cheezies
  • Cold cereal and milk
  • Soft drinks

I had an assortment of teas, hot apple cider mix, coffee & speciality creamers, instant broths and soups with us to round out our meals.

The more days I made our lunches, predominantly with food from the Club Floor Lounge though, the more $$ we had available for some nice in-room holiday sweets.

  • Mini Pecan Tarts
  • Walker’s Shortbread
  • Giardelli Peppermint Bark
  • Small wheel of Williams Sonoma Christmas Hard Candies
  • Chocolate Covered Raisins
  • Macadamia & Chocolate Clusters
  • Pecan Pralines.
  1. Our Christmas & Birthday “gift” cash that we were lucky enough to receive this year was also used to pay the timeshare fees and taxes instead of simply adding those funds to our savings the way we have always done in years gone by. I’ll budget a higher amount to save for our fees come Dec 2020, so that I am not scrambling like this again. This was not fun.

Hubby says that I am a whiz at making our budget work when these nasty little surprises crop up.

Unfortunately, that’s a gift that has been refined as a result of more than half a century of practice.

I think I’d rather be less experienced! On the other hand, imagine how depressed I would be on New Year’s Eve if I couldn’t manage to wiggle & jiggle a way to meet our ABSOLUTE RULE!!

  1. Finally, I tapped our FUTURE PAYMENTS account for the very small balance of outstanding fees after steps 1-4 were completed. Thank goodness we save all year long for the nasty surprises that can and do crop up!

Do you plan a buffer into your FUTURE PAYMENTS account?

I do. I like to have $1000-$2000 in the account that’s “just-in-case” money.

And yes, I could have transferred the full $1,600.00 from this account BUT remember…once $$ goes to savings, it’s hard to pry those $$ loose from the death grip that I have on them.

I would rather sacrifice something today to leave our savings alone!

On Christmas Eve morning, as soon as Costco opened, hubby and I splurged and bought 2 HUGE Caesar Salads @ $8.88 each to have for hubby to have for 4 lunches on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Dec 27th while we were enjoying a Christmas movie marathon using our Apple TV and hubby’s iTunes account.

We also decided to have Panda Express Chinese food for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

For $25 we each had three items…I went with Steamed Rice and a double serving of their Super Greens.

It was wonderful!

I have been in veggie withdrawal this whole trip!

On the way home, we stopped at Sonic in Ferndale and got Biggie Cheeseburgers and half-price slushies to take home for supper while we tackled the first few loads of a month’s worth of laundry and bedding from our trip.

All of the vacation dining-out, three meals came to $75 in total and was covered by our ENTERTAINMENT AND GIFTS ACCOUNT.

Our December grocery money covered a “perishables” order delivered on the 29th.

Best of all, we finished the year with $110.00 cash still left in the grocery budget. 

I love finishing the year in the black!

I should also mention that is only the cash portion of our available grocery budget…we also have another $1,305 available for groceries in MORE REWARDS and PC OPTIMUM points.

2019 Vacation Expenses

Here’s the final update on our 2019 vacation expenses:

B-Day Get Away       

Projected:           $200.00

Actual:                 $200.00                                           

Portland Vacation  

Projected:           $400.00

Actual:                 $291.31                                           

Anniversary Trip    

Projected:           $250.00

Actual:                 $     0.00                                           

Bellevue Holiday    

Projected:           $650.00

Actual:                 $200.00                                           


Projected:           $1,500.00

Actual:                 $  691.31 

SAVING:  $808.69 with $450 being used for the timeshare fees and taxes and the balance buffing up our 2020 vacation savings.                                  

Before we left on our holiday season trip, I sent in our 2019 Medical Extended Health Claim form and expect to receive an $800-$1,000 refund cheque that will go directly into our account towards a new car purchase.

Larry’s inheritance will replace our car sometime in 2020 but the funds I have saved in our CAR REPLACEMENT ACCOUNT and will continue to save will be sufficient to replace our car again 10-12 years after that.

We will probably go electric at that time when I expect the charging stations will be a lot more prevalent and I have saved up enough to add a charging station to our garage.

I expect there will be one more car replacement after that in hubby’s lifetime so it’s saved, save, save for us.

If he rents a car for our annual driving vacations, the car he purchases in his 80’s will likely last him the rest of his life.

Who knows though, if I am dead and gone, he may decide he needs a little red sports car to catch the eye of some young dollie!!! LOL

Our vacation accounts finished off the month of December with $3,878.54 already saved for our 2020 vacationing enjoyment.

Now, it’s time to repeat what worked for us and fix what did not! Going into 2020, I historically have increased my allowances for everything by 10%.

Some bills will increase by less than 10% while others will increase by more than 10% but as a rule of thumb 10% is not a bad guesstimate. As the new charges come in, I refine my budget. 

All things being equal, I should be able to save another $3,027.00 during the 2020 calendar year ($252.25/mo) to add to the existing vacation funds and we’ll have a total of $6,905.54 available for our 2020 vacation enjoyment.

My Projected 2020 Vacation & Special Events:

Jan Overnight Get-away

Projected: $150.00


Family Day Weekend

Projected: $250.00



Projected: $350.00


Victoria Day weekend

Projected: $250.00


Canada Day BBQ

Projected: $100.00


July Overnight Get-Away

Projected: $150.00


BC Day Weekend

Projected: $250.00


Labor Day & Hubby’s Birthday

Projected: $675.00


Canadian Thanksgiving

Projected: $450.00


American Thanksgiving & Holiday Treats

Projected: $300.00   


Sub-Total $2,925.00                  

My 65th Birthday Adventure

Projected MAX OF $3,980.54



Projected MAX OF $6,903.37         


Budget Challenger #2

Here’s my December 2019 budget Update.
December 2019 budget challenge update

December was a crazy month between our vacation and Christmas, I didn’t know what day it was most of the time.

But we had a great time and memories that will last forever.

We were able to stay under our grocery budget for the month, but I confess, it’s only because we weren’t here for 10 days and then we didn’t cook much the week of Christmas either. 

Either way, I’ll take the win!  Next year, I plan to keep our grocery budget at what it needs to be and see how we can save elsewhere. 

For the most part, I feel like we have a good handle on our expenses.

  I would like to increase our savings account though and be more diligent about maintaining a certain balance. 

I’m a little disappointed that my Mint account doesn’t seem to be working properly. 

I may look into other software options this coming year, which is unfortunate because it helped track spending patterns.

  • We took a much-needed family vacation
  • We stayed under budget for Christmas
  • The month felt very rushed
  • We weren’t able to shave off as much from our grocery budget as I would have liked

Budget Challenger #3

December December December!

You hit me hard, right in the wallet like usual.

As we all know, December is hard for Christmas reasons, there are always presents to buy, traveling to do and potlucks to attend.

This is normal stuff that I budget for, but it still hurts to see the savings dwindle.

The big thing this month for me was all the stuff related to the car.

My car has been acting up, and it has finally been fixed, but a part was on order from Quebec (and my car was completely dead) so I had to rent a car on a 3-day rental plus all the fixes came to $2130.

Also, my car likes expensive parts. I did do some of the investigations myself to see if I could find cheaper parts but I wasn’t able to.

Maybe if I knew more about cars that would have helped.

C’est la vie.

In looking back at this year I would say overall I did well. I was able to save about 31% of my income – this was divided into long-term (untouchable) and short-term savings (for everyday emergencies and things you normally don’t budget for).

But, since I have had so many issues this year, I needed those savings as I dug into the short term for house and car issues, as well as paying out my mortgage.

That being said, when you look at year-end, I saved 18% of my income.

The biggest expense I had (which I shouldn’t have had) was eating at restaurants.

I hate cooking, and boy did it show this year.

I averaged about $100 a month on lunches or snacks while I was at work.

My laziness thing needs to end, and I plan on learning how to cook this year (youtube and maybe a cooking class or two).

The big thing will be picking two days a week to batch cook, as well as to have some freezer ready options that I keep in my work freezer.

The second thing is the gym membership. I didn’t use it as much as I would have liked, but I did have a major health set back.

Instead of leaving things as is, I should have called to see if I could put it on hold, or get some sort of refund as I had paid it all upfront at the beginning of last year.

Having been more on top of this budget than I have been in the past, I realized that the spreadsheet I use doesn’t reflect the way I spend money, and I had to sort that out.

I’ve created a new Excel spreadsheet that details things based on Gail Vax Oxlade’s model – breaking down categories into debt, savings, home, living, and transportation.

I have the formulas set up to record how much I am spending per category each month as well as a year.

I have also broken down how much I want to spend in each category – but need to break this down further (ie: if I only want to spend $800 on life how much do I want to spend on travel, hair appts, gym, tanning, etc etc.).

Overall I was pretty happy with the experience. I was able to save quite a bit, and it showed me areas I need to improve on (though I’ve always known my weaknesses, this showed me if they were as bad {or worse} than I thought).

I’m now saving for 2 vacations this year – something I normally would not do. I have one paid off that is happening this month, and then I’m saving for a trip to Atlanta in October.

It will be pricey as we are planning a lot of tours, but I’m excited about it as I don’t get to see her often.

Saving for Atlanta is my big thing for this year, then I’m saving for Europe for my 40th birthday.

Having a goal to look forward to will hopefully have me thinking twice about making bad money choices.

Thanks for letting me take part in this challenge, and learn more about my spending habits!

Budget Challenger #4

December Budget Update 2019 Budget Challenge

December Summary and Year-End Review

Current Status: 87% to budget

I know what you’re thinking “wow she has her sh*t together this month”.

Well let me tell you I was not in Canada for half of December, so we didn’t eat out in Canada.

This month we went and visited my family in California.

All the purchases we made down there came out of my old US account, and when I say my family likes to eat out you might think here and there, but oh no they eat out sometimes twice a day.

It kind of puts into perspective where I am in my life compared to them.

None of my sisters have any kids, so they have the kind of disposable income that I don’t.

It was hard to reign them in a bit, especially because I LOVE to eat out too, and now I know where I get it from.

I can blame it on them. 😉

Budget Wins

This month we won by not being home.

What can I say?

All of my budgets except my fixed expenses were below budget.

We also got quite a bit of baby clothes and toys from my family for Christmas.

I’m looking forward to not having to go buy kid clothes!

I also got to see a lot of my family that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years and it made my mood pretty good. My kids got to see the other side of the family too.

Budget Fails

Personal care took a hit this month because we all got haircuts, and my hairdresser increased her prices (she got an additional accreditation).

I’m sad about this because she’s a great hairdresser but not sure I can afford her anymore.

I think it might be time to start saving up for my hair cuts every month.

This is something I’ve read on budgeting sites (maybe this one!) about saving a little each month for things you know will be coming up.

My misc budget also took a hit this month because of presents.

Also because I couldn’t remember what I spent at Walmart earlier in the month.

A side note about Walmart, you are taking your life into your own hands when you go to a Walmart in Cali….

Budget Year-end Review:

I’ll keep this short and sweet. FOOD.

I know I know, I’m just kidding, but am I? 

Food is one of my biggest budget fails this year.

I am reflecting on my current set budgets and I’m pretty sure I need to increase my grocery budget by at least $100, that way I can try to offset going out to eat so often by making lunches at home.

Another thing that took me down was my Postpartum anxiety/depression.

It played a major role in how I was feeling and how I wanted to conduct my day to day this year.

Bottom line is that I wanted things to be easy because my baby was colic and difficult to deal with.

Lately, though I’m feeling quite a bit better, less anxious, less depressed.

Just trying to go with the flow of the baby. The biggest indicator that things are looking up for me is music.

I hadn’t been listening to music but lately, now I have been and generally been happy to listen to it.

My google music subscription helps a lot, I can get any of my favourite songs in seconds.

Well, that’s it for me it’s been fun writing about my month to month.

I’m still deciding to join 2020 reviews as I have lots of plans for my future.

I want to be ambitious and open my own business doing taxes in the next couple of years.

Funny thing is that I have no idea how to do taxes, but I feel it might be a good fit for me.

We’ll see how it goes.

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