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The Dreaded Household Budget

General Nathan Lawrence 17 Feb

We’ve all thought it…URGG!…that darn B-Word!!  BUDGETS!!!   The very next thought is always…”it’s ok, I don’t need to do a budget, I’ve got a good handle on our monthly finances.”

But do you really?

The reality is that you won’t truly know until you’ve assessed your spending habits.

Budgets are hard; however, they are not hard because they are a lot of work or because they are too complicated.  Doing a monthly budget is actually a very simple process, we are just afraid of what the outcome might be.

A budget is about taking control of your finances and understanding where your money is going.  Have more money leaving your bank account than is actually going in?  Then this simply highlights a need to tighten the belt a bit.  A budget is really about two things:

  1. Developing an action plan, and
  2. Taking Action.

When it comes to your personal finances,

Your Budget = Your Action Plan

Sticking to your budget = Taking Action 

So grab your pen!  Take 15 minutes right now to go through this simple budgeting exercise to get the ball rolling:


Item Totals Notes


 {Enter Monthly Net Income Here} *Remember this should be your after tax income.*If you are paid bi-weekly, you need to properly convert to monthly. The Calculation is (Bi-weekly pay X 26)/12
Total Monthly Income {Add up all Net Monthly Income}  





*Here is all of your monthly expenses. The trick here is to make sure you think of everything and to be honest with yourself
Mortgage/Rent {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Property Taxes {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Home/Auto Insurance {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Utilities (Gas, Hydro, Water) {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Groceries {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Vehicle Fuel {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Home Phone/ Cell Phones {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
TV / Internet / Netflix {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Home Security {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Vehicle Payments {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Gym Memberships/Sports {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Monthly Kids Activities {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Monthly Subscriptions (Magazines, Apple Music, etc.) {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Any other monthly expense {Enter Monthly Bill Amount Here}
Total Monthly Expenses {Add up all Monthly Bills Here}


*Most of the time we forget to budget our savings (RESP, RRSP, TFSA)
Tax Free Savings Account {Enter Monthly Contribution Here}
RRSP {Enter Monthly Contribution Here}
RESP {Enter Monthly Contribution Here}
Savings Account {Enter Monthly Contribution Here}
Total Savings Contributions {Add up all monthly Contributions}
Monthly Net (Loss) {Take your total net income – Total Monthly Expenses – Savings Contributions} *This final number is important and will provide some good insight into your financial strength.


Here is the Key…

  • Is the final number a positive number? If so, you’re doing well. However, even with a positive number there is always room for improvement.  Take a look at your expenses and really assess what you’re paying for and what you’re actually using.  Is there potential for additional savings?
  • Is the final number close to 0.00? If so, you’re doing ok, but your spending needs to be watched closely. Take a hard look at your expenses and see if there is any room for you to make some cuts.  Maybe you’re not using that monthly TV Package?  Maybe you have some monthly subscriptions you can cut?  Turning that 0.00 into a strong positive number can make a huge difference in the long run.
  • Is the final number a negative number? If so, you need to take action right now!! Cut some costs.  Basically you have more money going out each month than you have coming in.  If something isn’t done soon, you’re going to find that your credit cards or lines of credit will start to grow. Sit down as a family and work out where you can adjust your spending…always start with the non-essential costs (TV, monthly service subscriptions, etc)

Some quick spending tips that can help save you more:

  1. Grocery Shopping – Plan your meals for the week based on what is on sale in the grocery store. Do the weekly check of the flyers and start trying to buy the items that are on sale.
  2. Fuel – Nowadays, many households have 2 vehicles. And it’s very common for people to default to the nicer or bigger vehicle when leaving the house.  Try to use the more fuel efficient vehicle as much as possible.
  3. TV subscriptions can be a killer – Sit down as a family and really think about how much you use it. Maybe a simple Netflix or CraveTV service will work just fine (and cost a fraction of the cost).
  4. Cell phone bills always running over each month? Make sure that you have wireless setup rather than data when at home or at work. You would be surprised how much of a difference this can make.

If you would like to sit down with our team to see how we might be able to help with restructuring your budget with a refinance, simply give us a call.