2015 Budgeting

It's started....the 2015  budgeting process.  I'm sure all of you are going through similar processes - trying to identify what worked, and what didn't.

One of the big things for Jordan and I this year was finally getting our day-to-day spending account sorted out so that we both had debit card access to it.  This involved moving our 'work horse' account from a joint chequing to a joint savings account and the benefits have been huge!  We're both more accountable to the $400/week limit; and while we both still go over from time to time (okay, often) and use our credit cards; it's helping to build the right spending behaviour.

A week ago or so I did a post called 'Where has all the money gone' - I went a bit further for this exercise and looked at our spending since I started tracking - back to mid-2010.  The chart of that is below and shows you exactly how we spend every year.  I did leave out the wedding in this chart b/c it's not going to happen again.

You can see that buying the Kia in 2014 really did impact what we were spending in gas since we had moved and my commute increased even though Jordan's decreased when his job changed...and you can see when we bought our house in 2011 and our home maintenance spending spiked.  For some categories, I don't think our spending changed (like entertainment) so much as our tracking got better.

The problem is that we run out of money before we run out of things we spend money on...that's what I need help with - where I would really appreciate your advice...it's prioritization time.

I have two columns right now - what's realistic...what we can afford and what we would budget ideally based on past spending habits.

I should mention here that our income does not include ANY commissions, raises, or added $$ when I cap out on CPP/EI maximums in August.

A few notes on the Monthly Spending category in our draft budget.  It is meant to include everything in dark grey above- Gas to Medical expenses.  For 2014 we budgeted $1,600/month and my mom suggested that rather than go straight to $2,000 to be realistic - we try to wean ourselves off more slowly.  So we're thinking of budgeting $1,800 as a more achievable number.

You'll also see that we don't have the Escape payment budgeted for in the draft - that money has been added to the LOC Debt category b/c I expect to have the Escape payed off by the end of 2014.

Everything from retirement, to planned spending is under Bi-Weekly Savings - including two new goals.

We would like to start tucking $$ away for a down payment on a truck once the LOC is paid off and we would also like to start planning to develop our basement.  Right now I'm thinking Jordan's commissions could go towards the truck/basement but again - would love peoples thoughts on this.

So there it is - out in the open for judgement and recommendations.

Thank you!

oh! Don't forget when looking at the Streetwise retirement savings numbers - I save 5% of my pay which is matched to a total 10% for my pension at work and I also save $75/month to purchase shares at my company which we consider to be part of our retirement planning.


  1. Lost my comment yesterday so I'll try again :)

    A couple of categories you might want to look at are your cell phones and Shaw (assuming this is internet/cable?). Together you're paying over $300/month for these services. We have cut and chopped a lot in these categories, but just for comparison we pay about $130/month for 2 cell phones, internet and netflix. I feel like I've mentioned netflix before and watching sports was the issue with cable? We don't watch sports regularly so this hasn't really been an issue, but when we do want to I've had great luck with streaming (or with inviting ourselves over to other peoples' houses!). Regardless, your costs seem high and I wonder if the providers would be willing to cut down your costs if you shopped around or threatened to leave. Cell phones especially seem high- we pay $40/mth each for 500 daytime mins/unlimited texting/300 mb data with Koodo.

    We are still working on reducing our spending (which is probably why I feel like I identify a lot with you! it's a struggle), but something that's really helped me scrutinize where we spend our money is focussing on our values and priorities. A great book to read is Your Money of Your Life, and I also really like Mr. Money Mustache's blog and forum. For us, my husband is Australian but we live in eastern Canada. We highly value being able to go back to Oz to visit every year or two. To fit those costs into our budget I look at what I'm willing to sacrifice to meet that goal- at this point, we rarely buy anything new. Our families make fun of us all the time for everything we've bought off-- or sold-- on kijiji, but honestly we've gotten nice stuff for a fraction of the cost! We also drive old(er) cars, and are about to go from 2 cars to 1. We keep the heat low, make our own booze :) and have focussed on really reducing the amount we eat out. I find that really hard- I love good food and service!

    The best thing I did to get my husband fully on board was to give us allowances. He's not super spendy but he will spend a lot of money on his hobbies without thinking (all good, fun things- skiing, kitesurfing, etc) and it would send me into a panic! We've agreed on $100/mth for allowances, and he can save those up for big purchases. Everything else has turned into a game- just how little can we pay for something we want? We do travel hacking, kijiji (as mentioned), and we DIY everything we can/have the time for- home renovations, maintenance, cars, gifts etc.

    I think I just took over your comments section! Obviously I'm a little obsessed with our budget these days, but I'm hoping we can make changes that will make all of this automatic as our lives lead us in different directions, especially when our kids make their appearances, we decide to move to Australia or somewhere else in Canada or whatever else.

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments, I really appreciate it! I actually have read it three times, and the third time I took some notes. I'll definatly check out the blog you suggested, and order the book at our library.

      We've tried allowances before, but we actually cut them in order to save money - Jordan was happy to just spend birthday and Christmas money...well happy is too strong of a word, content? Anyway, it was his idea to get rid of them the last time.

      I think you're right about cellphones/shaw - I used to have a lot of success negotiating those rates down, but the last few times I've tried it hasn't been as successful. Perhaps we need to actually get serious about shopping around for those services rather then just threatening it.

      I think you'll be happy with Mondays post - I think I've found around $185/month from looking at benefit premiums we pay through our employers! That would sure help if we make the change.

  2. Oh my goodness! My comment is huge- that's a little embarrassing! Hopefully some of that is useful; leave the rest :)


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