Living on a Budget: February Edition

So I’ve been telling you all about how you should set a budget and track every penny. But, do WE actually do it?

Well, ya, we do.

That’s not to say that we’re always under budget. How much of a challenge would that be? But we do live on a budget and track our spending regularly.

Many people avoid budgets because they don’t want to feel restricted or because they haven’t been able to stick to their budget in the past.

Our budget is our roadmap to meet our financial goals. If we follow our budget, I can stay home with our Little Miss, we will have money set aside for emergencies, and we’ll be completely debt free in our mid thirties. For us that means mortgage free too. The budget has evolved over time to reflect our goals and priorities and it will keep evolving as we do.

That might sound a little too theoretical for you. So we decided to over-share and post our monthly expenses compared to our budget.

We’re hoping the real life example will help those who have struggled with budgeting in the past.

Everyone has their own priorities and this budget is tailored to us. So, you can’t compare your own numbers to ours. But realistically that’s why we look at budgets online, isn’t it? Some will think we’re cheap. Some will think we’re spendthrifts. That’s just how it goes. The important thing is to focus on your own numbers and decide what would work best for you.

February Expenses

Expense Budget Actual Description

Upkeep 300 0 We were lazy I guess.
Property Taxes 250 250 We pay twice a year, but budget monthly.
Mortgage Interest 175 175 The principal portion is below (only expenses go up here).  Our total payment is about $1,500, and we’re on track to be mortgage free in our mid thirties. Here are 5 reasons to considering paying off your mortgage early.
Home Insurance 65 60
Natural Gas 65 112 We’re on a monthly billing plan.  This month we double paid, oops!  It gets very cold in Ottawa.  We wear slippers and sweaters inside.
Electricity 60 62 We’ve made some huge improvements with our usage.  We’re still billed $140 per month, so we’ve got a big credit. 
Water / Sewer 50 0 Billed every 2 months.
  965 659 No repairs and maintenance.

Gas 125 93 Gas prices still lower than expected.
Repairs and Maintenance 100 -197 Finally got reimbursed for a part, thanks for your tenacity Simple Cheap Dad! 
Auto Insurance 75 64
Bus Passes 50 101 Actual cost is $101, but there’s a tax credit and he get reimbursed a portion through work. 
Licensing 15 0
Bikes 10 0
  375 61 Reimbursed for car part.

Living Expenses:
Groceries / Diapers / Toiletries / Beauty/ Cleaning Supplies 303 176 We were over in January, so we challenged ourselves to get back on budget.  Success!
Gifts 100 12 We had a blast at a toddler birthday!
Entertainment 87 62 This is a bit funny.  We spend $62 to skate on a free rink for 10 minutes…. We paid for parking, snacks afterwards, and a pink hockey helmet that will grow with the Little Miss.  It was the first time she put her foot down for pink and we had to drive to different stores to find it.  It’s begun.
Entertainment with Friends/Family 87 27 A work event and curling. We want to make the people we care about a priority, so we put them in our budget.
Travel 83 0
Spending on Stuff 83 0
Hockey 75 56 Monthly portion of winter hockey.
Clothing 67 17 I bought some new jeans on sale from $48.  You know, the mom kind without a zipper.
Internet 55 55
Cell Phones 50 0 The bill came in March.  (my pay as you go challenge is working so far)
Cat Supplies 40 61 We didn’t buy anything special, so this should work itself out through the year.
Little Miss Activities 25 0
Medical Expenses 25 0
  1,080 466 Winter’s not usually a particularly spendy time for us.





Where Does the Rest of our Money Go?
Retirement 10%+ of salary goes to defined benefit pension contributions and is matched by the employer.
Health/Life Insurance/Union Simple Cheap Dad gets full benefits at work.
Education Savings 208 2,500 Plus, the government chips in 20% of what we pay, up to $500 each year.
Next Car 100 1,200 We don’t have a car loan, so we set aside money to buy our next car in cash.  Oh and our current car was a family gift.
Mortgage Principal Payments Any extra money and side hustle income is going here. We hope to be mortgage free by 35.  Our regular payment has over $1,300/month going to principal.


This month’s results were a combination of a short month, some weird billing getting pushed forward and a refund on a car part.  We ended up under budget by $1,234 (what a fun number!).  Our savings rate for the month was a ridiculously high for us 78% (we aim to hit 50%).

We’re not expecting to repeat this level of spending next month.  But it was a fun month for our budget check-in!

What About You?

Was short February a normal or a weird month for your budget?
Did anyone tweak their budget this month?
Have you ever spent $60 for a free event?

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Written by mom

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