Budget Bootcamp sounds strict but I’m not one to sugarcoat anything when it comes to a financial crisis.
The most compelling evidence of spending too much money will show up in the actual budget numbers.
If you’ve been affected financially by the Covid-19 pandemic making changes has to happen.
Budget Bootcamp is not just about spending less it’s changing the way you think about your financial safety net.
During Covid-19, I’ve been fortunate to work from home and continue to earn my salary.
Both Mrs. CBB and I have also had time to discuss our budget and whether we were ready for the next pandemic.
Better to be safe then sorry and if that doesn’t scare you I don’t know what it will take.
Even if I get laid off or lose my job we’d have to shuffle our budget and remove budget categories.
Just because we’re mortgage and debt-free doesn’t mean we’re home-free.
What Is A Budget Bootcamp?
In essence, conducting a Budget Bootcamp entails whipping expenses to the bare minimum.
Is Budget Bootcamp strict? Well, it can be as strict as you want but ultimately income dictates the answer.
Income is the angel and debt is the devil.
Choose your team wisely and don’t be swayed into promises or make excuses.
Honestly, I just made the Budget Bootcamp up but if you think about it with a clear mind you’ll understand the need.
Budget Bootcamp is about doing things outside of your comfort level to reach goals.
For example, if you’ve always paid your bills on time but missed a month because you didn’t have the money to pay for them.
Ask yourself whether that expense is even needed in your budget or can you reduce it.
Rolling into Budget Bootcamp also means you put the brake on non-essentials.
You’re probably thinking that’s easy since there’s nowhere to spend money because of the stay-at-home order from the government.
On the other hand, Statistics Canada revealed that online shopping has increased since the pandemic began.
E-commerce sales more than doubled year over year, with a 110.8 percent increase compared with May 2019.CBC News- Online Shopping Has Doubled Since The Pandemic
That’s what a Budget Bootcamp is all about, dishing out the least amount of money as possible.
By doing so you train your brain to understand that you don’t need a vacation fund.
How about a staycation or mini road trip to a destination that you’ve always wanted to see. A friend of ours had tents set up in her backyard so her three children could camp overnight.
This is where you put yourself through a rigid budget regime so you don’t lose the shirt off your back.
To be honest, we’ve definitely realized how much shopping we used to do and how we don’t really miss it.
Even our grocery expenses have nose-dived because we are eating the food that we already have and just stocking up on necessities.
Budget Bootcamp Gets You Ready For A Money War
Canadians have made it loud and clear how the pandemic is hurting them financially.
Although, there are times when we have to accept something and fight the fight alone.
Learning to get by financially on the bare minimum is something to be congratulated for.
Not everyone can do it but when you are forced to then there are no other options.
However many people I know have not been so fortunate and their finances are in bad shape.
Local businesses are closing up shops because they don’t have the money to keep them running.
I keep reading on social media to buy local, spend local and support small businesses.
Fair enough but even businesses have to consider pandemic savings or potentially be forced to close the doors.
We have many friends who own a business and one has even leveraged their home.
They could potentially lose the business and their family home because of it.
Always, Always, Always have a backup financial plan.
This goes back to you can’t rely on anyone but yourself.
Give Your Emergency Savings A Bootcamp Budget Bump
All around it’s a sad situation however planning for major problems in the future is now a must.
I’m not too sure that I’d want to leave my financial worry in the hands of the government.
There are emergency savings and then there are super-sized savings for world pandemics such as Covid-19.
After witnessing heartbreak with Covid-19 I’d be stashing away more money.
Right now we keep a few thousand dollars in a fireproof safe just in case we can’t get cash from a bank.
Sounds daft, but we’ve learned to never think it can’t happen.
How do you stash more cash when you don’t have enough?
You put your Budget Bootcamp into high gear.
I’ve said to have a minimum of 3 to 6 months or even up to a year of budgeted expenses saved for emergencies.
At this point I’d go as far as two years just to feel comfortable that the bills will get paid.
That’s the CBB way of thinking however it’s a personal kind of mindset.
If you really want to feel financially safe you’ll do what it takes.
Budget Bootcamp Vs. Using Invested Money
Another option is to boost your TFSA and use that as emergency savings which I’m aware people do.
Some of you might not like money sitting in the bank because investing seems like the better option.
The last resort may be to borrow money (ugh) or to cash in investments. (another ugh.)
Personally, we know someone who has used all of her registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) to pay bills and debt.
How To Implement Budget Bootcamp
I know that Canadians are going through what I’m about to describe and perhaps be inclined to a Budget Bootcamp.
Budget Bootcamp is going to be strict and perhaps upsetting but consider the consequences if you don’t gain control.
If the pandemic has not affected you financially and emotionally consider the possiblities below.
- What if you lost your job?
- Would you move to a new city if you secured a job? Can you fund the move?
- Can you survive on one income, government funds or little emergency savings?
- Where will you go if your home is repossessed by the bank or your vehicle towed away?
- Living on the streets is not something anyone should consider however if you talk to someone who is homeless they’d tell you differently.
- Are you willing to use your TFSA or other investments if needed?
I believe this is why I’ve had such an influx of people searching for free budget spreadsheets over the last two years.
You’ll also find that it was designed by the way we chose to budget and it has helped us to become debt-free.
If you’re new to budgeting start by reading my 10 Step Mini Budgeting Series. It’s a simple read for those of you who don’t quite understand budgeting.
Another excellent read is How To Create A Bare Bones Budget. This type of budgeting really is the bare minimum you can afford and simple to utilize.
Finally, for those who are not new to budgeting start by stripping it down.
The role for your Budget Bootcamp is to see what you can live without.
Slice And Dice Your Monthly Expenses
This is a great time to work on your budget.
As mentioned above we cancelled cable and don’t miss it one bit. Savings, cha-ching.
Last month we called Rogers to disconnect our home phone as no one called but scammers. We use our cell phones now and enjoy the savings.
My cellphone provider Freedom Mobile charges me $21 dollars a month and that’s with a data plan.
Instead of dismissing a budget category and stating that it’s a must or I/we can’t reduce it without research is a Budget Bootcamp fail.
Do you really need new clothing every month?
Can you live without playing the lottery?\
Significantly, instead of buying books to read get them from the library.
No more eating out or buying coffees and I mean none.
These are just a few common sense ways to bootcamp your budget into shape.
A point often overlooked is that for Budget Bootcamp to work you have to force yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
That’s how you will save yourself from falling through the cracks of hell (the devil).
Second Or Third Income
Consider how you can supplement with second or third income streams from home.
Blogging has allowed me to earn a 5-figure income and I do it all from my home office.
If I wasn’t working full-time I could easily double or triple my online income with increased marketing and resources.
Start by putting up flyers and creating online ads to offer lawn care or something you specialize in.
I’ve also noticed many people are cooking from home and selling the food to customers.
There’s no shortage of international and Canadian foods that you can buy on Facebook Marketplace.
The government now supports home-based food businesses during Covid-19.
The Ontario government is supporting home-based food businesses by providing a guide on how to start a home-based food business, which includes an overview of public health requirements that need to be followed as a food operator.
To further support these entrepreneurs, the government has also made regulatory changes to allow more flexibility to sell low-risk, home-prepared foods.
These supports are part of the government’s continued efforts to help small, independent businesses succeed and contribute to Ontario communities during COVID-19.Ontario News Ontario Supporting Home Based Food Businesses Through Covid-19
If you must shop online for the love of your money-saving angel use online cashback apps.
Budget Bootcamp Works Only If You Accept Changes
If you’re new to this blog you will soon find out by reading past articles that budgeting is not meant to be easy.
The reality is that people who are broke have to do what they can to live for today and worry about tomorrow later.
For those of you who are using a monthly budget and are struggling run it through the wash.
It may be heartbreaking to cut your cable or internet and gaming expenses but you choose where you’d sleep better at night.
Get into the Budget Bootcamp CBB friends and never let a pandemic like this stretch you to the limits or even worse, bankrupt or homeless.
Discussion: Have you given your monthly budget a Budget Bootcamp? What expenses did you remove or reduce? Can you afford to increase your emergency savings or investments?
Comment below how the pandemic has changed the way you think about saving money.
CBB Family Income Report March 2021
Hi CBB Friends,
Where did the money go in March?
Out the window it seems but Mrs. CBB and I both are getting laser hair removal.
The cost for this is $2009.00 which is reasonable considering no more shaving cream, expensive razors and lost time.
It has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while now and I thought I’d go for it.
We have the savings as you know from our reports and we hardly ever treat ourselves.
Mrs. CBB will also have laser hair removal and I’ll write a post soon about the costs involved.
Other expenses generally went to home maintenance and extra gas driving back and forth to help my sister-in-law with her move.
Family Budget Percentages
Our savings of include investments as well as any savings for this month based on the net income of $9618.07.
Equally important is that we save money in our projected expenses for things that need to be paid for in the coming months such as Christmas.
All of the categories took 100% of our income which shows that we accounted for all of the income in March 2021.
This type of budget is a zero-based budget where all of the money has a home.
MONTHLY HOME BUDGET EXPENSES
Below is a breakdown of our expenses which helps us to understand where all of our money goes.
- Chequing– This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from. We use Simplii Financial, TD Canada Trust, and Tangerine Bank.
- Emergency Savings Account– This is a high-interest savings account.
- Regular Savings Account– This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
- Monthly Budgeted Total: $6545.80
- Monthly Net Income Total: $9168.07
- (Check out our Ultimate Grocery Guide to see where our grocery money goes)
- Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $852.91
- Total Expenses Paid Out: $8679.54
- Total Expenses Paid Out: Calculated is $9168.07 (total net monthly income) – $852.91 (projected expenses) – $85.62 (savings to emergency fund) = $8679.54
- Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $9168.07 (total monthly net income) – $8679.54(actual expenses paid out for the month) – $852.91(projected expenses) = $85.62
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 6-year-old son, 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 Budgeted Amounts 2021
Actual March 2021 Budget Expenses
That’s a wrap on our family March 2021 monthly budget so check back in May to see how April turned out.
2021 Monthly Budget Challenge
Currently, we have 5 Budget Challengers for 2021. Let’s see who can keep up for the entire year and who drops out of the challenge.
Feel free to comment about any of the challengers budget report in the comment section by using their Budget Participant Number.
Budget Participant #1
If I thought February was a tough month, March was much worse!
I hit 4 hospitals, 16 doctors, 11 different patient rooms and 4 rounds of surgery…now my treatment will be handled as an outpatient due to the COVID and MERS outbreaks in our area.
“Budget” came to mean much more to me while I was alone in the hospital, hurting like the dickens, and talking my hubby thru our necessary bill payments over the phone.
Our budget changed significantly in 2021 and I need to write up some more specific details and instructions for him…just in case.
The last time I was this sick, I changed our wills, PA’s and Medical Directives. I also amalgamated our securities and cash for an easy and tax-free transition but it took 5 years to get everything completed.
Lying in bed at night I made a mental list of the instructions that I still need to prepare so that hubby is ready.
I will make a “when and how payment schedule” for him to follow so that he knows what bills are coming up, when they are coming up and how I pay them to take full advantage of available rewards.
I am also working on getting a more tax-efficient flow of funds on our maturities coming up, explaining how my life insurance will cover hubby’s accounting and legal fees for the rest of his life, itemizing the banks, brokers, safety deposit boxes to be listed, insurance companies and government agencies to advise.
He also needs his own Cash Back Visa, so we’ll get right on that. I will set my CPP and OAS to pay into what will become my “estate” checking account to cover my estate bills.
I wasn’t ready on Feb 25th when I was admitted to the first hospital.
On the plus side, I lost 25 pounds in three weeks because I was barely eating and just having water and IVs. It is not quite the diet plan that I had in mind! LOL
Budget Participant #3
Hey all you budget minded people out there!
Things went well at our house last month as there were no surprises (finally!) and we paid off some expenses.
The actual amount we bring home weekly did not change but finally convinced my spouse to start paring down his collection of stuff.
By doing so he made $1020 from Facebook Marketplace.
He did decide to hoard the money instead of using it to pay bills off but next month I will explain why.
Electric stayed the same this month but will be increasing next month.
I am on the budget plan, so each month stays the same.
Our usage cost has skyrocketed!
We still have cable as my husband is dragging his feet with allowing me to cut the cord however, I’m going to do it anyway.
Our Phone bill was just a smidge lower this month than last but will be going through the roof next month!
I did not switch companies like I wanted to as the deal I was being offered was only good if the bill was paid through the school system I work for, not happening.
Finally, we paid off all of the credit cards and we’re thrilled.
The next target is paying off our vehicle loans are on the hit list.
Last on the list is good and bad:
Good – I no longer have a mortgage payment to make so an extra $1000 a month to put towards other things.
Bad – I no longer must make this payment since it was made to my mom and she passed away at the beginning of the month.
Plans For Next Month
Cut the cable cord finally and pay off the motorcycle loan.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to purchase a new to us truck and get a new loan for that.
The old one is rusting so bad that I am afraid to even drive it around the yard.
Although, the only good thing about the new (to us) truck is we will be selling the old truck and the daily driver car.
We do not need all those extra items on my insurance or excise tax.
I am also still looking for a decent cell phone provider in my area.
Service can be spotty in the woods and since it’s our only phone, service needs to be reliable.
My MIL passed away at the beginning of this month, so I have an entire apartment of items to sell.
There will be an Estate Sale is in my near future.
Hopefully, we can make lots of money to pay off another loan.
Here is hoping the US/Canada border opens soon as I need to attend a funeral up there.
We all received our second Covid Shot so fingers are crossed.
Putting money aside for that trip but with family where we are going should not be too expensive.
Here is to an excellent April!
Hope you all have a fantastic month ahead with no budget busters.
Budget Participant #4
Good things about March were- canceled parking 150 dollars, car maintenance I have a total fund of 150 dollars.
Spent 100 dollars and have 50 dollars left.
Paid off credit card with my other account.
Power bill was only 38.83 dollars as it’s usually 87.41 dollars.
I stayed on target with groceries.
The income tax return of $1600 dollars I want to put into a GIC for a year.
I was under budget for lotto however I plan to reduce this expense to 80 dollars.
The bad things about March were that I overspent 20 dollars on my son’s clothing, overspent 30 dollars on gas, overspent 16 dollars on home maintenance, overspent 45 dollars on takeout which I will reduce to 80 now. There was also an overspend of 50 dollars on medications.
I need to stay on target with my expenses for April.
Budget Participant #6
The last few months, we have diligently tracked our spending.
We were honest about where we spent and what we spent our money on and what an eye-opener it was.
This past month, it became clear that we were saving money just to save money.
For example, we are putting $200 away for emergency savings and $300 for general savings.
However, our saving goals outside of a dollar figure were unclear.
Sitting down with the husband, we talked about what we are saving for in the immediate future (i.e., taxes, bedding plants, new tires, and vehicle registrations) and for the near future.
For the “near-future”, we are focused on paying off the family property that my husband grew up in.
This money is going to my MIL and we are close to paying it off completely ($11K to go).
We are still murky for defining the long-term goals but at this moment, we are happy to focus on the now and near future.
But more work needs to be done to define the “future”.
That may sound odd, but at this stage in life, it is hard to focus on anything else but raising our kids, saving for their future education, saving for my husband’s RRSP and paying off the house (and family property).
We hope to define this future as we continue this challenge through the year. Note that I have a pension plan, so we currently only put $50 a month into my RRSP.
One big change this month is that my husband has returned to his PT work so our budget has been adjusted to reflect the increased income.
This also includes increasing his RRSP savings. Another change was initiating an allowance for our 5-year-old.
We had a basic conversation about money, but we have a lot more work to do in this regard.
Onto the next month!
Thank you CBB!
Budget Participant #7
March was a pretty good month for us. We did our taxes and received a good chunk back.
T also did some side jobs on the weekend and earned an extra $500 from that.
We also sold a few things around the house that we no longer need. Spring cleaning has begun!
The only thing was we had a big unexpected cost, our cat got sick (she is okay now!) but that was close to $600 in vet costs. We also had our property taxes due as well.
All in all, though I think we did excellent and will now take Mr. CBB’s advice and invest some of it at least.
Areas that we did great with our budget were cell phones, I downgraded my plan to have less data because I hardly use all of mine, clothing I spent about $50 less than I projected!
That’s a bit of a win for me.
I also spent $1 more than gas for the car (yay!!)
Areas that weren’t as good groceries/household needs. I spent about $200 more than I had hoped, but that’s okay there is always next month.
Other than the above, it was quite a quiet month.
My oldest was doing competitive gymnastics but because of lockdown number 3 that won’t be happening in April.
We are quite bummed as she really enjoys it.
Here’s hoping for a better May.