All About Budgets

How To Create A Detailed Budget

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Let me show you how we evolved our money-saving strategy by creating a detailed budget.

Money is frustrating; I get it and realize that people struggle to make ends meet.

It’s not a situation that anyone wants to be in; however, finding a way to change is possible.

Imagine watching a movie that had little to no detail where it had apparent missing parts.

At the movie’s end, you’re still wondering who did it, why they did it, and other missing pieces.

For a puzzle to be complete, you must have all the pieces.

Lacking details most often lead to less-than-desirable results.

This is why budget failure happens and perhaps why budgets get a negative rap.

I won’t lie to you, but debt-freedom is a pretty awesome rap!

detailed budget template
Why do you think budget details are essential? Let’s take a look.

Budget Failure Is Typical

Have you ever failed at budgeting?

Budget failure is typical, especially for newbies, but it can improve if you have a financial plan.

Before you even begin considering a budget is crucial to map out what you want from it.

Budgeting is about tracking debt, expenses, and savings. Pretty simple right?

While that basic information is suitable for some people, it’s not for others.

If you’re committed to budgeting, try a different budget.

We’ve been through 4 styles of budgeting until we found the right one.

The process is half the battle, but the outcome is worth every minute.

The Importance Of Details

No matter what we spend our money on, we often want to know the details.

For example, if you’re buying a house, you want to know everything about that house.

Having informative details also means they include the good, bad and ugly.

Why would you invest money into something that won’t fit your lifestyle or budget?

Another example is buying a new product at the grocery store and wanting to know the ingredients or health information.

Saving money has long been a part of everyone’s thoughts and dreams, but not everyone does it.

Taking money advice from people struggling to make ends meet is not something we’ve done.

We’ve only followed a handful of successful financial bloggers because that’s where we want to be, successful.

You’re only going to learn how people get out of debt if they do from bloggers who are in debt.

That’s fine if that’s who you want to trust with your money principles but consider success just as important.

For example, I want to be prosperous or debt-free, which my readers often tell me is their goal.

With any budget we’ve used, it was noticeable after months of experimenting that we wanted to know more.

Budgeting Isn’t For Everyone

We’ve also learned about various types of people who use a budget or don’t believe in budgeting.

Don’t get me wrong, if you think budgeting sucks or isn’t going to help your purpose, that’s fine too.

Ultimately the money manager directs the path that one wants to take financially.

  • Lazy Budget User used to be us before CBB even existed. Using our bank account to budget was all we thought we needed.
  • Detailed Budget Geek (that’s us) This is where we are today, and we continue to use it monthly.
  • Simple Budget Users may be a paper and pencil budget, money jars, or envelope budgeting.
  • Technology Budget styles use budgeting mobile apps or online versions of a paid budget.
  • Excuse Budget User is a person who does not budget nor believes in using one as the money goes in and out. There may or may not be any savings, investing, or emergency savings because there’s always an excuse to spend.

I can probably think of many more, but I want to point out the benefits of a detailed budget for the sake of this post.

We didn’t just jump into a detailed budget; instead, it came about out of curiosity.

How Our Budget Has Changed

Eventually, our detailed budget led us to pay our mortgage in 5 years and completely debt-free.

These days this is virtually unheard of unless you inherit money or win the lottery.

We also credit using two online banks Simplli Financial and Tangerine, with little to no charges.

We have been with Simplii Financial for almost 20 years without any issues.

We love them the most because they are a no-fee bank, and they accepted me when I first moved to Canada. 

It’s one of the best banks in Canada that do not have a brick-and-mortar bank.

Everything is done online or on the Simplii Financial App, which we also use no monthly fees.

We also use a Tangerine World Mastercard to Earn 2% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in two 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice and 0.50% Money-Back Rewards on all other purchases.

We have three other credit cards: Canadian Tire MasterCard, PC World MasterCard, and Captial One Costco MasterCard.

These all offer different rewards for us, which is why we chose them to be part of our financial plan.

Lastly, I use TD Canada Trust for my blogging income and the famous online EQ Bank for any US Funds.

Launched in 2016 as Canada’s first-born digital bank, EQ Bank has more than $5 billion in deposits and is committed to bringing more innovative banking solutions to Canadians.

Finding the right bank is essential, and for us, no fees were a big YES, as were excellent reward opportunities.

For example, our PC Optimum Points are at 6 million or over $6000 to spend at Shoppers Drug Mart or a Loblaws store.

10 Steps To Budgeting For New Users

Why should you budget? Why shouldn’t you budget?

However, consider a detailed budget for those who want financial stress to be a thing of the past.

Trust me on this; it will be the eye-opener you wished you were aware of earlier.

In saying that, I strongly recommend anyone who has never used a budget to read my mini budgeting series.

It includes ten steps or blog posts that detail how we created our budget using baby steps.

That means we took our time researching and putting together a budget that might work for us.

It turns out that it did, and it didn’t stop there because we’ve increased our knowledge of detail.

I know, you’re probably saying, Mr. CBB, what in the heck is a detailed budget?

Let’s walk into our budgeting past to see a detailed budget and how we made it there.

What Is A Detailed Budget?

A detailed budget gives you more information about a specific budget category.

For example, let’s use the grocery budget category.

Instead of just a grocery budget, you could add a sub-category of cleaning supplies: toilet paper, laundry soap, dish soap, paper towels, tea towels, dishcloths, and apparent cleaning products.

Instead of mixing them both into the grocery budget category, you divide them.

This is to understand in detail how much your household supplies are costing you vs. food and drink.

With this information, you may find that you spend too much money on groceries or household products.

You take this information and figure out a plan to combat the budget category or sub-category to reduce costs.

Perhaps buying a lower costing hand soap or stocking up on deals in this category may do the trick.

It allows you to have options with details, and with every budget, options are good.

This also gives the user control over where the money goes instead of guessing.

For example, our grocery budget is just for food and health, and beauty is for all the others listed above.

Who Should Use A Detailed Budget?

A detailed budget takes longer to process, but the outcome is more data to work with.

This helps the user pinpoint areas they can improve to save money and pay off debt.

If you’re wondering why we still use this budget since we are debt-free, we want to keep saving.

Anyone can use a detailed budget, but this may be valuable for someone who wants to tighten the rope.

Having as much detail as possible when you struggle to make ends meet or want to save is critical.

For this reason, a detailed budget can be far more valuable than a basic budget that targets a whole.

A whole would be a budget category that includes everything under the umbrella.

When you open the umbrella, the same budget category releases the detailed budget as described above.

Detailed Budget Spreadsheet Example

I’ve been sharing our detailed budget spreadsheet created in Excel for years.

Some of you shy away because they are user-friendly if you understand basic excel.

One of the more specific budgeting questions I’m often asked is how many budget categories are needed.

This blog exemplifies how a detailed budget works compared to a bare-bones budget.

Essentially, the answer concerns how much information you want to learn about your spending habits.

Below is a photo of our detailed monthly budget taken from our excel spreadsheet in June 2021.

Monthly budget sample
Actual monthly budget for a family of three.

Take the membership, clubs, and sports budget categories as an example.

The only expense for this category is for our son’s soccer and, in the past, baseball, skating and swimming lessons.

We’ve never detailed this budget category since there is little to detail.

However, if you have multiple children or adults who belong to clubs, it would be beneficial to add sub-categories.

This also makes it easier to plan next year’s budget when you can tally up the numbers at the end of the year.

Little Johnny spent $1000 on soccer, baseball, and hockey, all due on various year dates.

Soccer is due in May, Hockey is due in October, and Baseball is due in March.

The detail is essential to save money before the expense is due.

Mom and dad spend $500 on a gym membership each or $1000 a year, due on June 1.

We need to save approximately $1500 a year in projected expenses.

Be mindful of the dates of each expense so you correctly set up your projected costs in our excel budget.

Certain Budgets Aren’t For Everyone

If a budget doesn’t work for you, then perhaps it’s not the proper budget.

You have to be comfortable with the budget that you choose.

You’ll know when you’ve found the right budget when you can’t wait to find out how well you’ve managed your money each month.

detailed budget
Canadian Budget Binder Excel Detailed Budget Spreadsheet

Types Of Popular Budget Styles

Over the years, I’ve shared various budgeting styles and templates on this blog.

  • Bare Bones Budget (this is the budget you can use online and print at the end of the month or print it and use a pencil and eraser to tally your debts and expenses.
  • Excel Budget Spreadsheet (this is the excel budget spreadsheet that is used as-is)
  • Detailed Budget Excel Spreadsheet (this is the one you have the authority to change as needed)
  • Cash Money Jars is more of a method of spending and saving that is visual and used successfully.
  • Envelope Budgeting System is also a visual type of budgeting; when the money is gone, it’s gone.
  • Budgeting Apps are great for people who enjoy mobile technology-based budgeting

Modifying A Detailed Budget As We Age

The detailed budget is probably the last budget we will ever need because it fulfils our needs.

Although there will undoubtedly be a switch to a simple budget as we age, especially if one of us is in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

This means that a budget doesn’t last forever and must be updated by the user.

It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type of system because income changes, debt increases or decreases etc.

Taking the time with any budget to make modifications is valuable and critical to budgeting success.

For the most part, I feel that people give up on budgeting not because the budget fails but because they fail the budget.

It has given us the freedom of not owing money to anyone and to boost our investment savings.

So, if you find that a budget you’re working with is not jiving with you, try another one.

Discussion: Would a detailed budget work for you, and what types of budgets have you tried and what did not?

Share your experiences below for readers new to budgeting or who want real-life information.

Thanks for reading CBB Friends,

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.

Mr.CBB

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