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Are Mobile Apps Ruining Your Budget?: July 2021 Budget Update

You may not know it, but the mobile apps on your phone may be the cause of budget overload.

Consumers can do everything from negotiating a bank loan to applying for insurance coverage online.

How crazy is that? Convenience is winning, and for some people, it’s pushing them further into debt.

For other’s it’s saving them money because they know what mobile apps are helpful and others that are wasteful.

Today, I want to talk about how mobile apps can be costly and whether you should delete them and try another approach.

Your budget is your priority for finances, whether you are single or married with or without kids.

A roof over your head, bills paid, clothing, food on the table and transportation to work provide the necessities of life.

Mobile Apps are convenient but can become a simple way to shop when you're bored or don't need anything but are persuaded that you do. With the click of a finger, you can buy what you don't need causing debt or extra expenses you could do without.
Mobile Apps are convenient but can become a simple way to shop when you’re bored or don’t need anything but persuaded that you do. With the click of a finger, you can buy what you don’t need causing debt or extra expenses.

I’m probably the last person in Canada to get a mobile phone, and that’s because I did not need one.

That was until my colleagues told me they could never get a hold of me in our facility.

Since I had never worked with mobile apps before, I had Mrs. CBB coach me through the process.

I found something interesting about mobile apps besides the convenience of them is the persuasion of spending money.

For example, the other day, our son, who uses a Samsung Tablet, played a video game.

These games, although free, always have a pro section or needed accessories that you must pay for to get.

Recently our son has asked me if he could have my credit card to buy a game from Google Play.

It’s starting already, and perhaps that’s our fault for letting him play video games.

We did tell him no because we need to save our money in his savings account and money jar to buy a mansion or a truck.

That’s all it took for him to change his mind to save money rather than spend it on a video game.

It’s not going to get any easier either, especially as he grows older, so we’re playing it by ear.

We hope by then that we have instilled the value of money and to think about wants vs. needs before he spends.

What Are Mobile Apps?

Mobile apps can be downloaded from the online Apple Store for iPhone devices or Play Store on Android devices.

Mobile Apps persuade with convenience, deals and promos to market to their customers.

There are tonnes of mobile apps, and many are free but full of ads because that’s how the app developer makes money. Nothing is ever free, nor is someone going to work for free to provide a service.

Costs are buried or blended, so customers don’t notice. Ask yourself this, would you work for free if it was your only income source? Perhaps it’s a hobby that brings in a second or third income?

If you answered yes, you’re one of a kind.

However, even the free apps can be a budget nuisance because it gives you the instant gratification of making a purchase.

Different from online shopping using a laptop or desktop, mobile apps go wherever your phone goes.

I bet many of you reading this never leave home without your mobile phone. Am I right?

Even I leave home with my mobile phone because I’ve become dependant on it.

Costs That Come With Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps in Canada that may be costing you more than you think.
Mobile Food Apps Canada

Let’s talk about a few common mobile apps that might be ruining your monthly budget.

You can find a trending list of food and drink apps for Canada online, and it’s astonishing.

Food seems to be one of the top-ranking apps in Canada, and it makes me wonder if anyone cooks anymore.

Below are the Top Five Food and Drink Mobile Apps In Canada when writing this post.

  • Tim Hortons
  • Skip the Dishes
  • Mc Donalds
  • Uber Eats
  • Starbucks

Mobile Apps As Part Of Daily Routine

What happened to cooking bacon, eggs, ham, pancakes, waffles and coffee at home?

Convenience took over, which leaves more time for humans to sleep in or rush to work.

Relying on mobile apps to speed up our day is telling us two things.

  • The need to get to bed earlier because a full nights sleep is important to our health.
  • Delete the mobile apps that you are using for convenience or shopping when you’re bored.

Out Of Sight Out Of Mind – Delete Mobile Apps

Strangely enough, a family member who is saving to buy a house told me that she removed the Skip The Dishes mobile app.

She said that it cost her too much money, and she needs to save every dollar she can to buy a house.

When I asked her why the app appealed to her, she said it was tempting not to leave home.

Waking up in the morning and having a dozen donuts and Tim Horton’s coffee is fantastic but pricey.

Also, she tips the drivers, which adds even more expenses on top of the regular bill.

I’m curious to hear how deleting the Skip The Dishes app has made a difference for her budget.

Gone are the days when you go grocery shopping as a family and catalogue shopping from home or at a brick-and-mortar shop. Consumers Distributing comes to mind and a place I worked at in the UK.

With a tap to set up a mobile app, you can grocery shop and have it delivered or pick it up for a fee.

Some people have told me that grocery shopping apps have saved them money because they aren’t buying more than they need.

You know how it goes when you bring your shopping list but then start to see deals.

We’re like that, but at the same time, we do find some fantastic food deals, especially meat products.

We aren’t comfortable ordering click and collect as a family because we can save more going into the store.

We also like to pick our fruits and vegetables and see if the reduced rack has any that we can buy discounted.

So, not all mobile apps attract the same people for the same reasons.

For example, the FlashFood App offers customers of Loblaws stores up to or more than 50% off products near expiration. You don’t pay for this app, you save money, and the business limits food waste.

Do You Need Mobile Apps?

Mobile apps persuade consumers to spend money even the free apps.
Mobile apps persuade consumers to spend money.

Ideally, you’re going to write out all of the mobile apps you are paying for monthly, daily or weekly.

For example, the dating app you are using costs you $25 a month, but you’re not finding love.

Do you keep paying to find the “right one,” or do you ditch the app and rely on love will find love?

I believe the answer to this question is whether or not you find they are saving you money or improving your life somehow.

Start budgeting the costs involved by using mobile apps and decide whether they serve your finances well.

For instance, you’ll notice below two budget challengers mention the costs of eating out are too much and the importance of Netflix.

It’s easy to justify whether you want to pay for mobile apps and the convenience based on your budget.

We don’t have Netflix and got rid of cable and our home phone months ago.

However, we have the YouTube mobile app on our television and watch that for entertainment.

The ads suck, but that’s how businesses on YouTube earn an income, so I don’t mind helping with quality content.

Mobile Apps Market Their Way Into Your Budget

I’ve taken social media apps out of the equation; however, the ads that pop up can catch you by surprise.

For instance, my wife bought me a Fathe’s Day gift from an Instagram pop-up.

Since she doesn’t drive, she orders gifts online, which is fair enough because I know she’s a frugal shopper.

I won’t tell you how much the bracelet costs us, but it’s just another way persuasion marketing works.

She concluded that the gift was something important she wanted me to have forever.

Another way mobile apps are sneaky is by using promos, and I’ve done it with my mobile phone with Freedom Mobile.

It works out for me since I only pay $21 a month, which comes with data. That’s less than what Mrs. CBB pays with Rogers, and she has no data plan. (Yes, she’s considering a move to Freedom as well).

Get one month free, Buy one month get two months free, deals of the day, wish lists, reminder emails that you have items in your cart. I can go on and on about how mobile apps will try to get into your wallet.

The truth is that there are mobile apps for just about everything that can cripple a budget.

Then there are mobile apps that are nothing more than informative or for entertainment purposes.

Some of the most popular mobile apps below can and will work hard to persuade you to buy something.

  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Gaming
  • Online Gambling
  • Amazon Canada
  • Any business online from Shoppers Drug Mart to Gucci

Once they have your email address, you’ll find that daily emails will come through selling a service or offering discounts.

If we had Netflix, we’d have to give up cable because paying for both would be a waste for us.

Currently, we have neither and haven’t missed television programs one bit. Besides, you can find everything you want online.

Mobile Apps Persuade Consumers To Buy

I’m not saying there’s one mobile app better than the other because that’s not the case here.

It’s about whether the mobile app is serving you well and you’re gaining something from it.

The message I’m trying to relay is that mobile apps are far too easy to make purchases on through persuasion marketing.

Even if it is a need that you are making a purchase using a mobile app, the shipping charges or increased costs vs. shopping brick and mortar may increase expenses.

We use Amazon Canada quite a bit to find products we need, and the prices are better than the grocery store.

As Prime members, we’ve found lots of value in using Amazon and will continue to do so.

The same goes for the $120 Costco Membership and the lowered gas price compared to the city gas bars.

Final Thoughts On Mobile Apps

Overall, if you are spending too much money using mobile apps, delete those you feel are pushing your finances behind.

Hang on to the mobile apps that are not causing you to excessively shop and put you into debt.

Free mobile apps such as Flipp, Checkout51 and coupon apps are great for free and cash-back purchases.

Discussion: Which mobile apps do you use the most for making purchases, and could you go without them?

Leave me your comments below as I’d love to read your feedback on this topic which is personal to everyone but gives you something to consider.

CBB Family Income Report

We spent the most on groceries in July because of completing a big shop at Costco.

That seems to be the trend for us month after month as we only want to go once every two months.

For example, I bought ten cans of instant coffee while they were on sale for $11.99

We buy plenty of creams, whipping cream, eggs and milk from Costco.

This month Mrs. CBB bought a $60 bottle of collagen that she puts in her morning coffee.

If you want to buy Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, ricotta, feta, proscuitto and salami, buy it at Costco.

The prices for those items are great, and you’ll be paying far more at the grocery store.

So the Costco shopping attributed to a large chunk of going over our grocery budget.

July was also the month we had to renew our Costco membership for $120.

We might have to make a Costco Grocery Shopping category for our 2022 budget.

We’re in the works of talking about how to rearrange our budget categories and expenses.

Other than that, we spent money on renovation materials as I finished off the bathroom and some painting.

The $500 insurance deductible for my truck accident and a sports renewal for our son added budget overflow.

Another thing we need to factor in our 2022 budget is the cat budget category, along with the birds and fish.

We buy birdseed at Costco and cat food from Amazon, which falls into the miscellaneous budget category.

There is a cat budget category, but we might divide our pet expenses to see the costs.

Doing so will help us understand how to estimate each, so we set aside enough money each month.

I’m planning on coating the driveway soon, so I bought two buckets of driveway sealant.

After allergy testing in July, Mrs. CBB found out she was allergic to LimoneneIn July, we

We made several trips out of town for doctors and helped a friend who had just bought a house.

Our gas budget category doubled in July because of the extra road trips.

We had to go shopping to buy all her beauty, bath, and laundry products that are fragrance-free and without limonene.

I’ll explain more about allergies and costs and how it’s also in the foods she eats.

Lastly, we both got laser hair removal packages which I will go over in another blog post.

Overall, an expensive month but we had savings which was a bonus for us.

Family Budget Percentages

Our savings of include investments as well as any savings for this month based on the net income of $11,439.53

Equally important is that we save money on our projected expenses for upcoming expenses in the coming months, such as Christmas.

All of the categories took 100% of our income which shows that we accounted for July 2021.

This type of budget is our favourite and is called a zero-based budget, where all 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. Join Simplii Financial today!  Read more about Canadian online virtual banks which are a must to check out.
  • 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: $6570.80
  • Monthly Net Income Total$11,439.53
  • (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: $7,531.05
  • Total Expenses Paid Out: Calculated is $11,439.53  (total net monthly income) – $852.91 (projected expenses) – $3055.57 (Savings to emergency fund) = $7,531.05
  • Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $11,439.53 (total monthly net income) – $7,531.05 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $852.91 (projected expenses) = $3,055.57

Estimated Budget And Actual Budget

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

This budget represents two adults and a 7-year-old son.

Budget Colour Key: If highlighted in blue, that means it is a projected expense.   

Since May 2014, we’ve been mortgage-free, redirecting our money to savings, investments, and renovations.

Our budget update is an educational tool rather than comparing your financial numbers as every situation is unique.

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

Monthly Budgeted Amounts July 2021

Actual July 2021 Budget Results

2021 Monthly Budget Challenge Update

Currently, we have 4 Budget Challengers left for 2021.

Feel free to comment about any of the challenger’s budget reports using their Budget Participant Number in the comment section.

Budget Participant #1

This participant will submit at a later time due to personal reasons, and I’ve approved it.

Budget Participant #2

Happy August, everyone,

This side of the country hasn’t seen many summers, which is unfortunate, but my well hasn’t run dry like it did last year, so small miracles, I guess.

Here’s my budget update for July:

Most things were on par with what I was expecting.

Surprisingly, I spent about $50 less on groceries than expected, but we did a big order the month before, so that is not surprising.

I also spent less on fast food this month (shocked gasp). I have been trying to get a bit better with this and bringing my lunch.

Thankfully, I spent about $40 less than expected on this than my usual monthly amount.

Two surprises were car repairs which were just under $400, and an overdraft fee of $29.

I was not expecting the car repairs, but something went wrong with my rotors, and they were no longer under warranty.

Still, the shop called and got the rotors free as it was clear it was poor design, not normal wear and tear, but it required them to put on new brake pads to keep things functioning correctly.

If this doesn’t sound right, I may have something wrong, or they may have fleeced me. I never know car stuff is so over my head.

My boyfriend said based on the invoice, it seemed like an excellent price. They also fixed a blown-out part of my exhaust.

In terms of the overdraft fee, I’m kind of mad about this.

My credit card was at max, but I made a payment towards it that generally takes two days to process, but for whatever reason, it took five days to process.

I assumed everything was good to go and made payment with my credit card for the car work, and that’s what resulted in the overdraft fee.

Sadly, I haven’t decided if I’m going to call to try to have them remove the fee or not because technically, it was my fault. I should have signed online and checked that the payment was processed, knowing I maxed out my card. I just assumed all was well.

Lesson learned next time, but I may call in the next few days to see if they will credit me back.

I noticed that my Spotify and Netflix costs increased. Still, I remember seeing an email about something to do with changes to federal law and having to set provincial HST to the amount. I’m paying about $3 more a month, but I enjoy them, so I’m not concerned.

Originally I had planned to go to the US next month, and I usually would have been paying for things a bit at a time leading up to a vacation. However, with the border still closed, I’m kind of playing it by ear.

If they don’t make an announcement soon, I probably can’t go just for the cost, if I’m only a few days out from a trip, I can’t imagine that I will get reasonable prices, but we shall see.

I don’t even know if I feel ready to travel, especially to the US, which does things differently regarding its face masks, distancing etc.

Oh well, it is what it is, and I’m playing it day by day at this point.

Budget Participant #3

July 2021 Budget

Our July budget looks better, especially without the crazy amount that I spent on groceries for June.

The reason for that is my daughter, and her children went to British Columbia for 2.5 weeks.

My start for July is $463.05; this immediately takes care of the first week of items that come out autopay.

Miscellaneous spending for the month was (-$101.72) which is $159.42 less than June’s spending (-$261.14)

I’m happier that I monitored my daily and weekly budget.

I stayed the course with a few changes made, and I can see the difference.

Last month, our Grocery expenses put a dent in my budget at a whopping (-$1202.14.) This month I ONLY spent (-$528.83) Saving $673.31

My Emergency Fund is slowly building back up.

I began using the 1Money app for budgeting during the week of July 11th, and so far, it’s working great.

Currently, I have all of my information entered, but I need to call a couple of places to get the interest amount I’m paying because it doesn’t adjust.

I will need to do this starting in August.

However, I think I’ll need to make two payments, one interest, another principle, to make it show the total left owing.

There’s not a lot to say for July. Short and to the point.

Budget Participant #4

July 2021 Budget Challenge Canadian Budget Binder Report
July 2021 Budget Challenge Canadian Budget Binder Report

July hasn’t been that great for my monthly budget.

I’m living higher than my income and need to make changes. For now, I’m not going to save for Christmas. 

I have PC Optimum Points,  Petro Points and Tim Hortons reward points for that. Also, we only buy for one person at 50 dollars, so it’s not too costly.

Clothing for my son has to end as it’s too expensive. He has some leads on jobs, so hopefully, that works out.

Our home insurance should reduce in September. My mortgage went up, and I don’t understand why.

I need to make a phone call and talk to my mortgage company to explain the reasoning.

As well, I need to reduce or even eliminate takeout food. 

I don’t want to touch my savings as I was hoping to put it in my RRSP’s.

My promise is that our August budget will be better because it has to be.

I’ve decided to take my Christmas, chiropractor, home insurance and my vacation savings of a total of $470 to pay off my overages. By doing so, that still leaves me $430 over.

Thanks for reading, and I will see you back in September for our August 2021 Budget and Budget Challenge Updates.

Please comment below if you have any questions about the CBB budget update or the budget challenge members?

Take care,

Mr.CBB

Are Mobile Apps Ruining Your Budget?: July 2021 Budget Update

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2 Comments

  1. Amazon shopping and Skip The Dishes make it so easy to act upon impulsive thoughts. I think it’s far harder today to make decisions in our long-term interest because instant gratification is at our fingertips.

    I’m a firm believer in engineering my environment, rather than relying 100% on discipline. If I have popcorn on the kitchen table, I’ll eat it. So, I just don’t buy popcorn in the first place. It’s hard to apply this approach with apps.

    1. Hi Jake,
      You make some valuable points here for those who do use these services. You’re also right that spending money or ordering out has become so easy with these types of services. Thanks for stopping in and commenting.
      Mr.CBB

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