Everyday Living Tips | Our Family Budget

How We Plan To Become A Self-Sufficient Household : March 2020 Budget Update

Presenting Yourself As Self-Sufficient Is More Than Saving For A Rainy Day

Becoming self-sufficient seems far-fetched and perhaps it is for many of us however we can tie this way of living into our daily lives.

We can do this by taking the wheel we allow ourselves the freedom to make choices.

Furthermore, we assume our decisions rather than relying on what is handed to us.

The choices we make should be strategically based on environmental concerns and the people around us as both can impact our lives.

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle and being independent almost go hand-in-hand, however, I feel there is this fine line between both.

If there’s anything I’ve learned during the past 3 weeks of being stuck indoors during this virus pandemic it’s that we need to take a look at how we can better become self-sufficient.

Close The Door To The World And Become Self-Sufficient

self-sufficent family

Not just from a money standpoint but from all aspects ranging from food and shelter to clothing and how well prepared we are at home in the event of a lockdown.

We’re not living off the grid by any stretch of the imagination however there are ways we can work towards becoming self-sufficient.

The mad rush to the grocery store was a tell-tale sign that Canadians are not prepared for events where the world closes its doors.

Lots of questions started racing through our minds when everything started going downhill from a financial nosedive to sustainability while staying home.

Although our finances seem to be organized we weren’t as ready as we thought we bouts of anxiety and stress looming behind our fences.

It’s scary times for 2020 and just like the government of Canada is learning there has to be better planning involved by everyone.

As a country, we must learn how to become self-sufficient without always having to rely on other countries.

By this I mean we should opt to look in our backyard for products we need instead of importing what we can make in Canada.Y

You can compare the same situation in our personal lives because when we become self-sufficient we set ourselves free.

Take Control Of Your Future Financial Situation

self-sufficient children

We are in charge of our future financial situation no matter what anyone tells you and to me, that means a few things.

Keep in mind that anything we do for ourselves without having to hire someone is savings in our pocket.

Becoming self-sufficient is ideal especially in times such as the COVID-19 pandemic when uncertainty weighs heavily on Canadians minds.

I’ve learned I’m not ready to give all of my control to the government so Mrs. CBB and I have come up with a solid plan for ourselves.

We’ve had lots of time to discuss what our 5 and 10-year plan will be the past few weeks which every couple should be doing right now.

Although we stand on the safe side of financial decision-making there are processes involved that keep us motivated.

Becoming Self-Sufficient

becoming independant

One of the things Mrs. CBB and I did was create a checklist of items that we could do while living in the city that would allow us to be self-sufficient.

Since we have a small property we have to come up with smart ways to grow our garden in pots and containers.

We also have a clothes hanger for outside that we use in the summer to dry clothes outdoors instead of relying on electricity.

I think one of the most important things we discussed was how we learned most of what we know about being self-sufficient was from our parents.

Our parents are boomers and grew up in a time where money was scarce for families and having a garden and being frugal was necessary.

Mrs. CBB’s grandparents grew up on a farm where they harvested all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to sell and barter with.

So, what her father learned from his parents he passed that information down to her.

The idea is to keep the generations of being self-sufficient and financially independent going through the chain.

If we stop doing this we are doing ourselves a disservice and our children who will come to rely on society for everything they need.

How We Plan To Become Self-Sufficient Living In The City

I’m going to discuss each of these below as they are how we plan to take care of our future as a family by being self-sufficient.

  1. Investing in retirement savings while we’re young – Maximizing on the amount of money we can invest in retirement savings
  2. Budget and Save money as long as possible – Continue to expand our budget and live a frugal life while enjoying our money
  3. Always have a second and third source of income – This is important to us as it becomes a safe place for extra income such as this blog. I also can return to my first job if need be and our investments are a source of future income.
  4. Growing our food, saving seeds, foraging and composting – All of these are important to us and we plan to expand our knowledge. We will also continue to educate our son about gardening and have him participate in the process.
  5. Build rock gardens and edible gardens where possible – Rock gardens are less work so you can focus on being sustainable
  6. Cooking Homemade from scratch – This is a no-brainer as scratch cooking and baking is far cheaper and delicious.
  7. Preserving Food like my mum and grandmother – We’ve experimented with jams, kimchi, and sauerkraut and plan to do more
  8. Negotiate, Trade and Barter for services – I tend to do this with my colleagues and vice versa. A great way to save money.
  9. Stocking Up at all times – Being mindful of sales, coupons, coupon apps and using rewards programs to maximize our yearly savings.
  10. Contingency Plan in place – Always having a Plan B is better than having no plan at all and no savings in the bank.
  11. Emergency savings is critical – Continue to keep a year’s worth of expenses in the bank and to grow our non-registered accounts.
  12. Making sure our Will is complete and updated as needed (this is an important one) – This is important to stay on top of in case we both die or one of us dies ahead of the other.
  13. Remaining Debt-Free – This one is tough especially if we decide to buy a house with a property in the future to become even more self-sustainable. However, if we continue to save our money we hope to sell this house and pay the remainder in cash for the next house.

Although we would love to have a property with land so we can have animals such as chickens, pigs, and cows to further our self-sufficient growth that’s not possible at this time.

That may never happen but that doesn’t mean we can’t adopt a self-sufficient lifestyle based around the life we are building.

Being partially self-sufficient is like budgeting, it’s better than doing nothing at all.

Head over to my friend Karen who runs the blog Lil Suburban Homestead if you’re looking for even more ways to become self-sufficient.

I’ve been friends with her for years and she’s a bucket full of information and has plenty to learn on her end.

Discussion: What ways have you been working on becoming self-sufficient in your household?

I’d love to read your comments so please leave them below.

Mr.CBB

Home Budget Income Report March 2020

Where did the money go?

We had a very expensive March which included purchasing a new pressure washer and our furnace needed to be replaced.

I did the work for the furnace which saved us about $1500 in labour repairs.

The cost of the part we needed was just over $1400 with taxes included and wasn’t easy to find.

You know when you have something like that it’s going to cost a fortune but luckily it wasn’t hard to fit.

I finally bought a pressure washer as I’ve been saying that I would for years.

This will save me from going to the car-wash and hand washing the small piece of siding around our house, side-walk, path, driveway, and windows.

I picked it up on sale from Canadian Tire for $599.00 plus tax which wasn’t too bad since it’s worth near $1000.

I’ve also started upgrading my education again with a university so that course cost me $700.

While reading our Rogers bill we noticed a price increase so we’ve since gotten rid of cable once and for all.

That should significant savings in our telecommunications section of the budget.

I also made sure to fill my gas cans up as the petrol was pretty cheap although we’ve seen it dip down even further the past week.

There were miscellaneous things I had to order from Amazon for the house such as renovation items and carpet shampoo that we hadn’t factored into our projected expenses so they fell into this category.

Overall, a very expensive month but we managed to put some money by in our emergency savings as noted above.

Currently, we are discussing whether we should invest a chunk of money while the markets are low.

Have you made any extra investment purchases recently?

I’d love to hear about in the comments or you can PM me if you don’t want to discuss it on the blog.

Until next month, let’s hope our budget doesn’t skyrocket however with staying home the way we are I don’t imagine it will.

P.S Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom and read how our two Budget Challengers are doing with their monthly budget.

Take Care,

Mr.CBB

Home Budget Percentages

Our savings of 29.27% include investments as well as any savings for this month based on the net income of $9957.77.

We save up money 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 March 2020.

This type of budget is a zero-based budget where all of the money has a home.

Monthly Home Budget Expenses

Net income March 2020

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

  1. Chequing– This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from. We use Simplii Financial.
  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: $6,392.68
  5. Monthly Net Income Total: $9957.77
  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 = $852.91
  8. Total Expenses Paid Out: $8710.06
  9. Total Expenses Actually Paid Out: Calculated is $9957.77 (total net monthly income) – $852.91 (projected expenses) –$8710.06 (savings to emergency fund) = $8710.06
  10. Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $9957.77 (total monthly net income) – $8710.06 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $852.91 (projected expenses) = $394.80

Monthly Budget and Actual Budget

Below you will see two tables, one is our monthly budget and the other is our actual budget.

This budget represents 2 adults and a pre-schooler, plus retirement investments.

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

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 has been the easiest way for us to pay down debt and save money.

Monthly Home Budget Actual Expenses

CBB Home Budget Updates Month By Month

Just in case you missed our budget updates from 2012- present I’ve compiled them all on one handy page: monthly budgets.

2020 Home Budget Challenge

2020 Budget Challenge

First off, congratulations to the wonderful people below for taking on the 2020 CBB Budget Challenge.

It’s not easy to commit to something like this and as I learned last year many people initially want to join in December but drop out quickly.

I’m not sure what that is perhaps it’s the December financial blues kicks in or they easily give up on themselves.

Either way budget reports are extremely important to your financial success so I applaud you for taking the time to create them.

March Update: We still have two budget challengers for March. Let’s see how long they can hold on and if they will make it to December.

Budget Challenger #1

WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH:

I find that during the year-end, RRSP and tax season I need something to look forward to!! April 30th is the light at the end of a very long tunnel I need something sooner to brighten my spirits or I become a real grumpy Gus!

Trust me, it’s not pleasant.

The saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” sure rings true at my house. LOL

But, I am feeling very worn down physically at the moment, and I didn’t want to think about packing for a trip.

I usually get sick when I stop after a long hard work related push, but it’s too far away from the finish line for me to relax just yet!

So, for this year…I turned our weekend away into a simple day trip to pick up a few OTC medications in the US.

We were down and back across the border in less than 90 minutes on a Sunday at 7:30 am and the parking lots were empty! We didn’t stop for breakfast or even a coffee.

Washington state is rather a hot spot for COVID-19 cases so I wanted to get there, do what we needed to do and get home a.s.a.p. so we could scrub our hands thoroughly even though I had hand sanitizer to squirt on hubby’s hands after he finished loading things in the trunk.

It was a nice day for a drive through once the morning fog burned off.  We stripped off our clothing and laundered them immediately. Overly precautious maybe but I felt better doing it.

I have been stocking up on the OTC medications that we use when we get colds, our prescription medications, sugar-free cough lozenges, disinfectant cleaners, disinfectant wipes, some Kleenex, an extra couple of packages of toilet paper and paper towels, assorted soups, canned fish and some orange and pineapple juice. 

We still have multiple boxes of the N95 masks and some gloves left from the SARS scare several years back.

I think I am about as ready as I am going to get for the COVID-19.

I would have liked to find some alcohol wipes but it seems they are gone, at least for now, but I will keep my eyes peeled for them.

It doesn’t hurt to have a small supply on hand in case you need them…if not for this virus then definitely the next.

Fortunately, I have savings for all things “medicinal” for my little bit of re-stocking of our medicine cabinet…and yes it’s a 4 shelf, 6 foot high, a double-doored grey metal cabinet that I got for free nearly 30 years ago.

I have it loaded with medical and cleaning supplies. The purchases did not mess up our budget this month because I know one of us will get sick with some kind of cold or flu somewhere along the line and I plan accordingly.

I started setting aside money for medicinal supplies when I got my very first job.

I did not want to be sick and have nothing available to help myself feel better.

That attitude has always stood me in good stead when sickness comes calling.

Besides, as a self-employed person in those days, it was just natural to build both a medical and emergency supply kit for both my home and my vehicle.

I was shocked this week though at how many people were emotionally distraught and completely non-compliant with the prospect of a 3-month quarantine to get this COVID-19 virus under control.  

I know someone who just flew in from Cuba and she refuses to do a 14-day self-quarantine.

What makes her think she is so almighty valuable that all the staff in her workplace are willing to become seriously ill and possibly die for her?

What a selfish witch!

How many people is she happily going to kill?

If you are going to travel, and I am not saying don’t, for goodness sake do it responsibly!

Practice social distancing and a 14-day self-isolation post-vacation!

Let’s flatten the curve on the spread of this virus while we still can!

I felt very lucky to be able to say that hubby and I would be just fine in a 3-month quarantine because we have ourselves positioned to be able to ENJOY such a reprieve.

I work from home anyway and he’s an IT guy and could do most of his work remotely.

But, as a member of the emergency response team for our city, he is being called in as needed.

I wish he could just stay home though.

We have the necessary medical and cleaning supplies for an extended period.

We always have a well-stocked pantry and freezer so that we can continue to make nutritious meals even if we aren’t exactly eating what we want especially as our supplies dwindle.  

Some things in our area that might as well be gold, because they are impossible to find, are:

  • Chicken of any kind
  • Ground Beef
  • Yeast
  • Gluten-Free Bread
  • Gluten-Free Flour

Unfortunately, I am completely out of all of these “precious” items. I do have rice in the house though so I will shift the meal plan accordingly.

I never expected a slice of gluten-free toast would become an item I crave but there you go, folks, dry as a popcorn fart and tasteless as the day is long has now become the stuff that dreams are made of!

Don’t even get me started on a gluten-free sandwich! LOL

As suggested over and over again by Mr. CBB, hubby and I have already set up our Emergency Account that could be used to fund any associated financial costs with a quarantine or it could handle up to a 2-year break in our income stream.

We have also worked hard to clear our debts and therefore don’t have those sorts of pressures riding on our shoulders.

We have lots of entertainment options within our home…tv, DVDs, programs on our DVR, digital books, games on our computers and iPads, wi-fi access to the web and all it’s offerings, contact with friends and family by either telephone or email, board games, puzzles, a deck of cards and on and on…

I have some cash kicking around that I plan to invest in dividend-paying quality stocks as the market dips…not big investments but why not buy “on the dip” with long term holds in mind?

I am trying to remain positive and optimistic while the world seems to be spinning out of control.  

Watching the stock exchange HALT TRADING due to the worst plunge since Black Monday was certainly disconcerting.  

A second rate cut by the BoC has me wondering if we are marching our way towards negative interest rates…I sure hope not!

My thinking is as follows:

I figure either I will get this virus or I won’t.

If I get it, either I will die or I won’t.

If I am going to die, why waste my remaining time worrying?

If I don’t get it…there’s no need to worry in the first place.

So, I am staying the course. I will put one foot in front of the other, I will continue attempting to meet our already agreed upon 2020 goals including a few new financial ones that tap into opportunities that weren’t available back in January.

I will also keep our supplies topped up (to the best of my ability with various shortages)… preparing for a possibility of a full lockdown quarantine period IF it should become necessary.

In the interim, we had another batch of Canada Premium Bonds mature on March 1st and once again I invested the funds in money market mutual funds.

We have more maturities coming this year on April 1st and November 1st then there’s nothing again until our final set of maturities on Nov 1st, 2021. See what I mean? It’s maturing in dribs and drabs.

On March 7th we delivered our income tax packages to our accountant for the preparation on our 2019 returns.

Yay! I love it when I get the personal tax materials off my desk and onto the accountants.  

It was tit for tat this year they caught a small error that I made on hubby’s submission and I caught one that they made on my return.

Once the returns were checked by me, on the 20th, we were able to pick up the hard copies by making an appointment to have them handed to us from behind their closed office door.

I gave my credit card number to them the day before by telephone for our accounting fees to be charged to it.  So that’s the personal returns done for another year. Woo hoo!

On the 26th, I downloaded our CRA Assessments for 2019 and checked the accuracy of our RRSP contributions for 2020 and the TFSA contribution histories and room available.

Our refunds were in the bank so I transferred the funds into the high-interest savings where I am saving for our RRSP contributions.

A cardinal rule in our house is that the refunds ALWAYS go into our RRSPs.

I hope to have the necessary funds saved up to cover our 2020 RRSP contributions at the end of April it’s a big chunk of change to gather up when you consider that I just made our maximum 2020 TFSA contributions and I am also getting ready to pay our property taxes in June.  

Because our economy continues to tank, I am delaying sending our RRSP contribution cheques to our broker for investment. 

I had one broker’s assistant give me the gears about going long with my investing over the last year but I am sure glad that I did!

Those rates look pretty darned attractive by comparison to what’s available today! Funny, it was “going long” that saved our portfolio bacon in the last recession too!

With the recent BoC rate cuts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the associated stock market plunges and the plummeting value of oil in response to the Saudi-Russia price war does it matter how quickly I get the long term savings funds into the brokerage account this year, as long as I get them in?

Can you tell that I am feeling a little disheartened?

I will stay the course even if I can’t say that I am excited about the short term financial horizon.

I want to retain a little liquidity in our budget just because these times are stressful and I want a little wiggle room than usual to maneuver. 

I have a series of maturities on April 20th to April 27th so once those funds are in cash,

In the meantime, I will send off our RRSP contributions for investment.

Our next stream of maturities occurs on May 1st and June 22nd.  I’ll sit on the cash from the April maturities until the June maturities are in cash.

However, I plan to keep the June 22nd maturities invested but in redeemable fixed-income investments. I want quick telephone/online access to cash if we need it.

Once the RRSP contributions are done, that will leave us just 2 non-registered brokerage account “top-ups” to do in August and November…assuming our income stream continues uninterrupted.

These days, that’s a big IF.

So it’s save, save, save time for us and perhaps even more important don’t spend anything that you don’t HAVE TO!

I’m also considering investing in some more gold coins as a hedge against these roller-coaster economic times.

I sleep better at night knowing that I have a few coins that I could use if the global economy goes to hell in a handbasket and paper money becomes pretty much worthless.  

Can’t happen you say?

Ask the Americans in the south…they saw if happen after their civil war.

History has a way of repeating itself and it’s always prudent to err on the side of caution.

This market has the earmarks of a global depression, not merely a recession, so save as your life depends on it folks it very well could!

Remember the carpetbaggers that cleaned up from your history lessons? It took gold and jewels to trade and keep food on the table.

I think I will use some of the cash I have currently sitting in pounds and euros to fund our gold purchases because I certainly won’t be travelling to Europe anytime soon.

HOW THE “STRETCH AND TO SAVE” EXERCISE IS GOING

I have a really short list of items that are becoming my staple purchase list for the month:

  • Either Bread/Buns for hubby’s lunches
  • Either Bagels / English Muffins for hubby’s breakfasts
  • Either Eggs or Cheese (depending which we are out of)
  • Either Apples / Bananas / Lemons / Limes
  • Cabbage (type depends on what is on sale)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • English Cucumber
  • Some sort of greens (type depends on what is on sale)
  • Fresh Mushrooms
  • Onions (type depends on what is on sale)
  • Jalapenos
  • Sweet Peppers (only if they are on sale & only what I need)
  • Tomatoes (again, I am shopping for a sale)
  • Either Radishes, Potato or Ginger  (depends what we need)

**********************************************************

I am using an online grocery cart to calculate the exact number/weight of each item that I can add to my cart and still stay under the $80 budget. It’s great!

The prices fluctuate based on the flyer cut-off dates so this way I know for sure that I am on track.

I simply save the list as a PDF and print it off to take with us.

I have some pre-existing health issues and a weakened immune system so in response to the COVID-19 spread, at the beginning of the month hubby was doing the shopping and I waited in the car, ready to dole out hand sanitizer/wipes for his hands after he has picked up our order.

As the cases in BC continue to rise, I am going to limit our outside contact even further.

We are using online ordering for delivery when possible and pick-up during the senior hour when necessary.

If it continues to get worse still we can live quite some time on what we have in the house.

I admit I have cut down what I eat in a day, to preserve what we have on hand and thus limiting the cash we spend.

The bonus is that I am slowly but surely dropping a few excess pounds! LOL

I am finding the e-flyers are good for knowing about the “loss leader sales” but lord almighty they are also the devil’s cyber version of temptation!

This month I really,, REALLY wanted a bunch of asparagus because it was on sale for a really good price but I stayed strong folks and made sure that I didn’t go anywhere near the store that was running that sale!

I have oodles of frozen vegetables in the deep freeze to use up so it’s not like we NEEDED fresh asparagus. I just WANTED it. <Sad face here>

“Stretch and Save” for the win…this month!

For the Spring of 2021 though…it will be fresh asparagus for our house!!! (Like the way I combat my intense desire with delayed gratification?)

OUR “STRETCH AND SAVE” BALANCE:

Neatly tucked away we now have a whopping $300.00 towards the $1,200.00 goal that I have set to be able to give my hubby in December. I am one-quarter of the way there! Wow! I’m doing a little happy dance!

HOW ARE WE DOING WITH OUR CREDIT CARDS?

My PLATINUM AIR MILES AMEX:

This card has been relegated to the back of hubby’s wallet but I continued to use my card this month to try and get us over the hump of the 1,000 air miles that we need to retain our Gold status.

We closed out February with 943 of the 1,000 miles that we need and dum de da dum….MARCH’s closing balance is 1,134!

Time to retire this card to the back of my wallet too until 2021.

The credit card balance is $0.00

Hubby’s MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard:

Hubby has relegated the card to the back of his wallet and it will only be pulled out if he shops or gets gas at COSTCO Canada.

His hand lotion 3-pack was on sale this month so he went in and used this card to pick one up.

That man has such willpower. 

That is all he bought at COSTCO!

I always spot something that I think we need…it’s better to leave me in the car!

COSTCO can be dangerous to our budget if I am in the store! Hahaha!

I will use my supplementary card on his account to pay our house insurance in November.

The credit card balance is $0.00

My MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard:

This card is now at the back of my wallet and will only be used again come November when I renew our Travel Health Insurance at our local BCAA office.

The credit card balance is $0.00

Hubby’s SCOTIALINE Personal Line of Credit VISA:

This is another card that hangs out at the back of hubby’s wallet and isn’t used.

The closing credit card balance for the month is $0.00

My SCOTIABANK VISA:

This was the primary card that we used this month.

Our CASHBACK BALANCE is slowly creeping up and currently at $53.23

The closing credit card balance for the month is $0.00

Hubby’s MARRIOTT BONVOY AMEX:

Hubby generally uses this card whenever a merchant accepts AMEX but many of the places that we go do not, unfortunately.

I suppose any points he earns using his card are better than no points at all though.

The outstanding credit card balance is $0.00

My MARRIOTT BONVOY AMEX:

My card was used to purchase 50,000 + 25,000 bonus MARRIOTT BONVOY points for myself this month.

I will get a triple whammy on the points…the ones I purchased (50,000), the free bonus points (25,000) plus the ones I earned by using this card (approx 1,000).

Also, I love getting multiple levels of points on a single transaction!

The closing credit card balance is $0.00

OUR VACATION STATUS:

Again we managed to save another $252.25 towards our vacation expenses and including the interest we earned on the accounts we finished off the month of MARCH with $4,642.83 available for our 2020/2021 holiday enjoyment.  

I am very grateful that this year all of our travels were planned within easy driving distance and that the reservations can be cancelled without penalty or cost with 48 hours notice.  

I am leaving my reservations in place until we see how this virus shakes down in North America. Every time one is getting close, I re-book the stay into 2021.

I hated cruising so I would find it absolute torture to be quarantined on a ship that was being denied docking privileges due to a COVID-19 outbreak.  

No travel temptation there.

I also wouldn’t find the re-circulated air on an airplane much to my liking at the moment either.

 So no costly flights planned for our near future either.

I may be a worrywart but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Travel by car with my hubby limits our exposure to possible sources of contagion and gives us an opportunity for some lovely conversations that the fast pace of today’s life intrude on.  

If it’s not safe to stay anywhere besides our home so be it.

We can simply enjoy a scenic drive on a nice day.

Gas has come down enough in price that it’s an affordable pass time again.

When we eventually do resume travel, I plan to disinfect our room with my supplies who knows when the room was last properly sanitized!

I’ve been bombarded with emails from every company I have ever dealt with assuring me that sanitizing is going on in earnest at their locations.

However, I think I’ll still accept responsibility to make sure we are safe and simply clean again.

I also plan to avoid all public gatherings other than a quick stop at a grocery store where my prescriptions are on file but only when I need to go in for my refills.

In the meantime,  I am choosing to put all medical and dental appointments on hold until it is safe to resume.

I will check closer to the time I am supposed to see various doctors – as to whether they have telemedicine appointments available.

We can make our own meals and enjoy lovely walks and picnics in the great outdoors without increasing our exposure to the virus by simply practicing social distancing with the closest other people a minimum of six feet away from us.

I want to remain focused on what we CAN DO, not what we can’t.

The 2020 Holiday Itinerary:

  • Jan Overnight Get-away – $150.00
    $0.00 SPENT – POSTPONED TO MARCH
  • Family Day Weekend – $250.00
    $0.00 SPENT – POSTPONED TO SEPTEMBER
  • March Overnight Get-away – $150.00
    Cancelled so the $150.00 was added to the funds for the 65th Birthday Adventure in 2021
  • Easter – $350.00
    $0.00 – POSTPONED TO DECEMBER (AT LEAST) RE COVID-19
  • Victoria Day weekend – $250.00
  • Canada Day BBQ – $100.00
  • July Overnight Get-Away – $150.00
  • BC Day Weekend – $250.00
  • Labor Day & Hubby’s Birthday – $925.00
  • Canadian Thanksgiving – $450.00
  • American Thanksgiving & Holiday Treats – $300.00
  • My 65th Birthday Adventure <– $3,982.96 + $150.00 =
    $4,132.96 for 2021
  • Christmas – $350.00

WHAT I LEARNED THIS MONTH:

(A.) I don’t like the answer, “NO!” I behave like a pouty child when I get it even if it’s me telling myself.

BUT, I can accept, “YES, but not until blah blah blah”.

It looks like DELAYED GRATIFICATION is going to be key to my ability to stick to the grocery “Stretch and Save” reduced budget.

(B) I want the joy of seeing hubby’s face when I hand him $1,200 in December far more than I could possibly want any individual grocery item no matter how much I may whine and snivel to you folks.

You’ll put up with me though, won’t you?

(C) This is my year of “service” and I am a stubborn wench that won’t let some little whim derail her gift to a very deserving man.

I say service because unknown to him, I am working hard to honor his recent wish for a little more “allowance”.

I would say $1,200 is a little more, right?

(D) Just because I don’t work outside the home doesn’t mean that I can’t find a way to be charitable.

Thanks, Mom for your wonderful example!

(E) Charity doesn’t come at the expense of others though so if hubby has a craving for a certain food, I will get it for him assuming it is in stock and I’ll simply pull some fresh fruit off my grocery list to cover it. He won’t notice since he’s not a fruit eater.

I intend to do whatever it takes to keep my upcoming gift a secret! Mom always said that charity should remain anonymous.

Well, he’ll know eventually when he receives his gift but not until then if I can help it.

(F) Heavy stress brings out the best and the worst in is all.

I choose the positive and I remain focused on achieving new heights of personal kindness, gratitude, and compassion.

Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of a lot of guff and nastiness this month from friends, associates, and even family.

Please, please, please find a positive outlet for your stress…for example, how about some exercise?

You can move and groove to some dance videos…all in the safety of your own livingroom!

Check out Body Groove online.

You can feel free to dance as if no one will see you! LOL

(G) Although stress makes me want to crawl under the covers, cover my head with a pillow and pretend that life is fine it’s not.

It’s not going to be fine anytime soon either so I need to meet it head-on and do battle.

I will slay my fear, continue to set and achieve new goals even if it’s harder to accomplish and it takes longer than it used to.

Forward motion is the name of the game folks…inch by inch and that includes you!

That’s all for March. See you next month!

Budget Challenger #2

Hello Mr. CBB and all, March has been one of the most bizarre months I think any of us have probably ever seen.

On March 18th I began working at home to quarantine as I had a cold and didn’t want to impact anyone with compromised immune systems.

A few days later we were told we would all be working from home with no return to office date in sight.

I am very thankful I have savings that I can fall back on in the event of an emergency or lay-off notice from my employer.

This is a stressful time for everyone and we are all filled with uncertainty of what our world will look like when things ‘return to normal’.

I was able to go out and stock up the house quite well with a lot of staple items.

In terms of the month’s breakdown:

  • Life was 32.48% of my pay
  • House was 13.66% of my pay
  • Transportation was 20.49 of my pay

As I have no debt, the rest of my net income went into my emergency savings account. 

Positives:

I received $700 back from my travel insurance company from my issues in February that I sorted out.

It wasn’t the full amount I requested but it was the maximum that my insurance policy let me have.

I also have a travel check that I haven’t cashed as I don’t want to go to extra places right now.

When the time comes that will be bonus money when I’m ready to cash the cheque.

Though not a financial thing, working from home has been good for my mental health.

It has given me some time to focus on professional development, mental health strategies, and building up resources for when I return to work.

Negatives:

I worry about the future in every way shape and form plus I’ve been using up more internet time.

All and all, I think March financially was a good month.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe!

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5 Comments

  1. I’m glad someone finally pointed out that being self-sufficient is a good way to save money right now. I live in Quebec and they encourage us to buy local, which may be good to help enterprises stay alive, but not so much for consumers themselves. Many products sold are non-essentials in the first place. And fruits and vegetables can be grown at home rather than bought. Seeing so many people having to rely on food banks to eat is very sad, but it is also a reminder of why having an emergency fund in place is important.

    1. Good point Chantale! My Grandmother grew all her own fruits and vegetables, had a cow for her milk, cream and butter and raised her chickens for their eggs. She did use the local dry goods store for her flour, sugar and yeast but made she baked bread and made borshch every day and canned all summer long as the crops came in. Living in a city, I can’t have the cow or chickens but I can grow some of my own vegetables. 🙂

  2. Budget Challenger # 1: you ask if we will ” put up with you anyway” and the answer is no, I won’t read another of your self centered long winded bulletins. We are expected to do our part and stay home, you go to the US!!
    You seem to have too muc looseh money around you to be on a budget challenge. bye bye. ann

    1. Ann,

      My husband and I self-quarantined for 14 days at home so that our choice to make a quick trip to the US, made before the borders were closed to non-essential travel, did not put anyone else at risk. I made an informed choice to get our medications that we can not purchase here in Canada but I respect your right to make your own medical choices.

      Obviously you have no idea what it takes to do a budget challenge! It’s not about how much or how little money you have…it’s about how you manage it. You assume I have too much money…I do not. We have my husband’s salary to live on which is less than the average Canadian income.

      I have to scrimp and save like anyone else because I have no pension plan after 50 years of continuous work. But, I do have an RRSP that I have contributed a little to every…one of those 50 years. It will help me live just slightly better after I turn 71. If that’s flush in your books I am sorry. I saved so I don’t have to choose between food and medicine as I age.

  3. Mr CBB… this part of my post got cut off:

    We can make our own meals and enjoy lovely walks & picnics in the great outdoors without increasing our exposure to the virus by simply practicing social distancing with the closest other person a minimum of six feet away from us. I want to remain focused on what we CAN DO, not what we can’t.

    The 2020 Holiday Itinerary:

    Jan Overnight Get-away – $150.00
    $0.00 SPENT – POSTPONED TO MARCH

    Family Day Weekend – $250.00
    $0.00 SPENT – POSTPONED TO SEPTEMBER

    March Overnight Get-away – $150.00
    Cancelled so the $150.00 was added to the funds for the 65th Birthday Adventure in 2021

    Easter – $350.00
    $0.00 – POSTPONED TO DECEMBER (AT LEAST) RE COVID-19

    Victoria Day weekend – $250.00

    Canada Day BBQ – $100.00

    July Overnight Get-Away – $150.00

    BC Day Weekend – $250.00

    Labor Day & Hubby’s Birthday – $925.00

    Canadian Thanksgiving – $450.00

    American Thanksgiving & Holiday Treats – $300.00

    My 65th Birthday Adventure <– $3,982.96 + $150.00 =
    $4,132.96 for 2021

    Christmas – $350.00

    WHAT I LEARNED THIS MONTH:

    (A.) I don’t like the answer, “NO!” I behave like a pouty child when I get it…even if it’s me telling myself.

    BUT, I can accept, “YES, but not until blah blah blah”.

    It looks like DELAYED GRATIFICATION is going to be key to my ability to stick to the grocery “Stretch and Save” reduced budget.

    (B) I want the joy of seeing hubby’s face when I hand him $1,200 in December far more than I could possibly want any individual grocery item…no matter how much I may whine and snivel to you folks. You’ll put up with me though won’t you?

    (C) This is my year of “service” and I am a stubborn wench that won’t let some little whim derail her gift to a very deserving man. I say service because, unknown to him, I am working hard to honor his recent wish for a little more “allowance”. I would say $1,200 is a little more, right?

    (D) Just because I don’t work outside the home doesn’t mean that I can’t find a way to be charitable. Thanks Mom for your wonderful example!

    (E) Charity doesn’t come at the expense of others though so if hubby has a craving for a certain food, I will get it for him assuming it is in stock and I’ll simply pull some fresh fruit off my grocery list to cover it. He won’t notice since he’s not a fruit eater. I intend to do whatever it takes to keep my upcoming gift a secret! Mom always said that charity should remain anonymous. Well, he’ll know eventually when he receives his gift…but not until then if I can help it.

    (F) Heavy stress brings out the best and the worst in is all. I choose the positive and I remain focused on achieving new heights of personal kindness, gratitude and compassion. Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of a lot of guff and nastiness this month from friends, associates and even family.

    Please, please, please find a positive outlet for your stress…for example, how about some exercise? You can move and groove to some dance videos…all in the safety of your own livingroom! Check out Body Groove online. You can feel free to dance as if no one will see you! LOL

    (G) Although stress makes me want to crawl under the covers, cover my head with a pillow and pretend that life is fine…it’s not. It’s not going to be fine anytime soon either so I need to meet it head on and do battle. I will slay my fear, continue to set and achieve new goals even if it’s harder to accomplish and it takes longer than it used to. Forward motion is the name of the game folks…inch by inch and that includes you!

    That’s all for March. See you next month!

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