A Kinda Christmas Fashion Tale

Nuggets 2017: Budgeting

Yup, you read that right......I am giving budgeting tips. Ha.  Budgeting.  That's funny.  If you know me, you know that budgeting is not in my wheelhouse.  This post should really be titled: Budgeting Tips that I Couldn't Figure Out or 10 Things that Would Improve my Marriage or 8 Reasons Why Deena Never Used to Pay Off her Credit Cards.

For the record, I am not the budgeter in the house- even back to when I was a teenager or in university I more had the desire to live in the now and worry about the later some other day.  Yup, not the best strategy, I'm aware.   Maybe someday I will catch on, but in the meantime I will continue to try different techniques in hopes that something sticks.

So because I have zero insight to give when it comes to not spending money I contacted instead my three most trusted financial advisors: my mom, my husband and my bestie, Alynne to see what kind of advice they would give.


My mom, with her 41 years of budgeting experience so she says...which isn't her age, but the years she has been married and apparently that's when she started budgeting.  I remember a time when I was in university and she proudly she showed me her ledgers ....I don't actually know what a ledger is but I felt it was a financially word so I threw it in...anyway, pen and paper records showing how she managed to save money on basically one income, which I'm sure wasn't more than 30k with 3 busy, needy and not overly fashionable kids.  We didn't ever fly anywhere, we only got new clothes once a year before school started (it was probably more than that but those trips were the most memorable and usually always to Sears), mom would pack a bread bag full of bologna sandwiches for picnics on our long summer road trips out to BC, we rarely ate out and grew up in a cozy 866 square foot house.  But we were happy and we loved each other fiercely and we never felt deprived or poor and I had somewhat a sense of style.   So whatever she did worked, that is why I don't take her advice lightly...despite the fact that I still can't figure out how to do it.   This is what my mother says:

  • Know how much you spend (track and categorize everything)

  • Cut one area if you need more for another,

  • Live below your means.

A couple notes from a non-budgettypeperson....I love tracking and making lists, so this I can do.  Cut one area, now that is interesting- currently I'm working on really watching what we spend on food.  Our freezer is OUT OF CONTROL, so why must I continue to spend up to 900$ a month on groceries?  Operation #emptyfreezerfirst is underway.  Live below your means...oy, that's a tough one, ma.  #pleasedon'tlookatmyshoecloset


Now my friend Alynne isn't just a friend: I see her as a sister.  Maybe that's because she lived with Dan, Kyla and I when we were first married and it's hard not to develop that sort of a relationship with someone that you've seen in a towel every morning.  Alynne is also extremely intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful and a great mom.  She is a CA (CPA?) with a successful career doing numbers stuff for Cameco- don't ask me exactly what though because all I can tell you is that there's a huge calculator involved which makes sense because back when she blogger, her blog was called Check Your Calculators at the Door.  Ha, I should mention she's freaking hilarious and I absolutely love her.  Anyway, she knows her shit (who would so graciously accept a friend's ridiculous request of sending her budgeting tips on a Friday night and then send a very detailed email stating that she was excited and had so much fun doing this)......so take note and apply some of these pointers to your life!  Accountant Alynne says (don't you feel she needs like a sexy cartoon superhero type character for this?)....
1.  Keep it simple but accurate. 

First of all, make sure you are using your after tax income, not your gross income.  Essentially, this is the cash you receive in the bank on pay day.

Budgets don't need to be complex to be effective, but they need to be a true reflection of your spending habits. For expenses, you need to look back, preferably at a whole calendar year to capture your costs.  I say this because you have your recurring monthly  expenses (mortgage, utilities, insurance, childcare) but there are non-recurring costs that need to be picked up in the budget.  Some examples are kids activities, property tax, Christmas.  These could be costs that need to be saved up for as your income may not be able cover them in the month they incur - then they are being paid through debt - insert vicious cycle.  You also need to glance forward to the year you are budgeting for.  What's going on this year?  Trips, new car, renovations?  These need to be picked up in the budget.

2.  Be accountable and set goals.

Budgeting is just like weight loss, you set your goals, then determine how you are going to get there and track your progress.  Goals are personal and depend on everyone's financial situation.  One of the main budgeting goals is spending within your means, which means not spending more than make.  Being accountable means paying attention to your finances.  If you tend to overspend, I suggest when you get paid, the same day pay off your required monthly expenses, pay off what you have designated for debt repayment and transfer your set amount into savings.  This way, you have made all your required payments.  What you have left for the rest of the month, is your discretionary income to spend as you wish.  But this still needs to be monitored throughout the month.  For example, if you are going to the mall with your friends, check your bank balance before you go.  What can I afford to spend today?  How much cash do I have for the rest of the month?

3.  Have fun with it.

Budgeting can be fun and in the long run helps to eliminate stress.  One of the most common issues couples fight about is finances, so why not try to help your relationship.  Challenge yourself - try to make a meal for your family for $10 or under.  Challenge your partner to who can spend the least amount of money in the week on discretionary things, and the winner could be rewarded with "bow chicka wow wow" - why not, it is FREE!  Or do a family activity jar - fill the jar with activities that are free, and pick one per week to do. 

bahahhahaha- so I just read these for the first time when I pasted them in and they make me love Alynne more and I gotta say, they totally are in her voice and true to her personality.  A few comments from a non-budgetter...budgetee? So I tracked all my spending from last year and HOLY EFF...guess how much I spent at Sephora in 2016......1600$!!! Needless to say I cut that number when making my goals for this year and can I get a virtual high five because I completely avoided that store when I mall walked last week. Woot!  #2- hmmmm..this explains why I can never win at weight loss ...I start off awesome tracking points and then lose steam.  Will work on this.  #3- oh gawd...I hope husband doesn't read this post, I'm pretty sure he's going to be taking notes on possible reward challenges.


Last up is my husband, who pulled me out of credit card debt and kinda sorta helped me figure out spending habits.
Under his regimeIn our 12 years of marriage I have learned that keeping credit card debt is bad because of super high interest and now we pay off our credit cards in full each month.  He also takes out a set amount of cash each month and spends that and only that on his discretionary spending.  Then again, he has zero fashion sense and wears things like sorel boots + linen pants + flannel shirt + fox hat, so clearly his fashion budget is
swallowed up by minenon existent.  Lastly, I have learned that I know shit about income tax and all the fancy words he uses and he does a great job with our money, so really why insert me into the budgeting equation just so I can fuck it up?  So basically I listen to what he says (with eye rolls and sarcasm of course) and  I try not to overspend in order not to embarrass myself in front of him.  This is what my cuddly hubby has to say about money saving:

  • If you really need something, don't buy it for 6 months and after that you will have either forgotten about it or still be coveting it and will know how much you want it.

  • Food is always a good purchase

  • Don't round down.

Okay, I'm guilty of the last one, but I really think I can handle the first two.  The bigger purchases are always things I ponder for a long time and either forget about them or still really want them.  There are things I wish I would  have pondered for longer, like acid wash jeans or bangs and there are things I'm glad I did ponder, like getting overalls.  As for food, that's the area I'm trying to cut and this is where our values differ: mall walking is my happy place and grocery shopping is his.  As for rounding down, all I can say is #oops.  Basically at this point in our marriage, he knows that when I say the pair of shoes was 89$ they were really 129$.  

These are some great tips and I hope that something here resonates with you and can help you, who knows maybe something will stick with me.  Admittedly, this was the most fun I have had writing a post. Weird.  I should also show you how I'm budgeting for this year...but you'll have to wait for Friday because I've been distracted by my many open tabs at my many favourite stores.....again.

Hop on over to my friend, Sarah's blog to see what she has to say and make sure you link up with us on the Blended Blog and share your budgeting tips


  1. Wow! This is a great post! I can hear that you enjoyed this post. Great tips + I just loved this. xoxo

  2. Such a great post and full of so much truth. I love that you owned up about this not being your thing and polled those you love. I think you and Dan balance each other perfectly!

  3. So many great tips in this post. I like the idea of not buying something for 6 months and then seeing if you still want it. I'll have to see if I can hold out that long!

    Doused In Pink

  4. Living on Cloud Nine15 January, 2017 23:54

    Such real and doable tips that I think would help us all! That picture of your hubby with the flowers is too stinking cute! What an amazing couple you are!

  5. very funny and informative!! but I still can't figure out where you inherited your spending habits from, your father??????

  6. This was a great post. I must admit I was a little confused that you were taking on a budgeting post... I love how you pulled it together. This was one topic that I felt like an amateur because I've never budgeted, BUT by reading the post, I realize that I do most of things sub consciously, must be the accountant in me! Also, I reduced my grocery bill to about $700 a month by ordering on line. For reals. I also like that your budget post includeds F-bombs and sex. Very R rated.

  7. You did an amazing job on this post! Along with lists, all the budgeting gets done in my head - not on paper where it should be! Your Sephora budget makes me feel a little better about myself.

    Daily Style Finds

  8. Hee hee - I agree with Christy. Even though I do accounting everyday, I don't really like it. And I'm not that great at budgeting. This was an awesome post, and you made me laugh on this Monday morning.

  9. Bahaha. Who would of thought a budgeting post could be funny? I totally round down when telling my husband something. Or I've had it for awhile. Aka like a week 😂

  10. haha, I love this post, and rounding down, I do that too! Didn't think to call it that, don't tell hubby, hehe. I love that they all gave different tips, very helpful! I personally love budgeting...mostly. :) Mostly I like spreadsheets and seeing all things in one place, perhaps I like spreadsheets more than budgets, hmmm..

  11. I love budgeting! Wait until I show you Hugh and I's google sheet! lol

  12. My budgeting skills are on par with yours so Nathan will appreciate that I just read this!!

  13. My husband does all the budgeting/bill paying in our family too, but he does try to keep me in the loop so I know our financial status! He even started a weekly meeting called "Thrifty Thursday." LOL! I don't understand everything he talks about, especially when it comes to IRAs and 401Ks and all that, but I love that he keeps me involved, and that he is good at it! :)

  14. ya.... these budgeting posts are making me feel a little (LOT) guilty... I'm the money-manager... but also the 'spender'. *hangs head in shame*..... bah. No buying anything. Except in Toronto in may where I will buy ALL THE THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ya... not so good at this.

  15. I have no budgeting skills. I see, I want, I BUY! Lol. And now that we live in the big city, I've decided Lyft is easier than driving...so yeah, there's that expense. And did I mention I need sushi a lot more often now. I crave it! Hahaha

  16. Seriously this is a great post! It made me laugh. I am a budgeter and always have been. I pay all the bills and usually I am the one looping my hubby in on the spending! lol. It's important to definitely be on the same page when it comes to the moola.


  17. Budgeting...the most hated yet necessary chore ever. UG! You've shared some wonderful tips though! One thing that has helped us save more is whenever we pay something off (like a car), we continue to have that amount automatically deducted and moved to savings. And we break down those big yearly expenses like property tax and save it in a monthly amount. That way we don't get a big shock once a year!

  18. OMG this post was written for me because I love BUDGETING! I think I am most like your mom in this case. Not all the time but like your friend mentioned when I have a goal we sit down and figure out where we, I mean ME because like Dan Logan doesn't spend much, will get there. This summer we wanted to make a big purchase and really had to go through our, again my, spending habits and backtracked 6 months. I am not on a budget of $200/month on my makeup, face stuff and clothes. It's tight but so far, so good (except for Xmas). Good luck!

  19. 200$ a month would be tough but doable..I would find it extra hard in the season transitions, when I want to buy ALL THE NEW CLOTHES.

  20. Yup, you and I would get along very well in life.

  21. DAMN, I knew I was missing someone to consult. I'll have to do a follow up post with your tech-savy budget.

  22. Maybe that's why Dan liked him so much?

  23. bahahaha, I love that you have meetings...I think my husband tries to keep me in the loop too, maybe I need a fancy meeting.

  24. Glad there are more like me at Sephora. If I didn't buy so many dumb lipsticks, I'd be fine.

  25. I also hide things that I've bought and pretend they've always been a part of my closet.

  26. 6 months is long...sometimes I cut that down ..like 6 hours. Bahahaah

  27. Yup, if I'm going to do a budget post, I'm gonna do it my way.

  28. There can be frustrations on both ends...but it does work

  29. Budgeting is always easier for me at the beginning of the year, and then by spring it's like - gimme all the cute summer clothes I can find! Trying to be a lot better about that this year :)



  30. These are such great budgeting tips from some solid experts! :) I keep a running budget and tweak it as I go- definitely putting as much into savings I can, and limiting the debt I carry around. Interest is no fun!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  31. […] store.  Maybe I’ll become a master budgeteer because you know I have #madskillz if you read my post on Monday. Look, I even have an agenda to keep track of spending, in the goal of living more […]

  32. I really didn't want to read this because I hate that B-word. I am no bueno at all at budgeting. Much better at spending. Maybe keeping these tips in mind, I can make 2017 the Year of the Budget. Fun post.

  33. […] had been talking to Alynne about how she budgets…she was actually one of my contributors on my managing money post (because I am definitely not fit to give you advice on that).  The girls’ wanted to know how […]


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