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There are recurrent questions I see all the time on different personal finance blog site, how should I allocate my expenses in percentage of my income? Where should I allocate my expenses? What are the usual categories I should allocate my budget to?

In a blog post publish in 2014 on the Budget Express site (In French), Dominique Lamy presented a list of the most considerable budgeted expenses in relation to your revenue. In 2016, those percentages have not changed (see the chart below).

The percentage can vary from one budget to another. There are factors that can influence those variations like your age group, where you live, your revenue, the style of life you are looking for, etc.

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Before deploying any personal finance or budget software program, you need to prepare.
There is nothing more frustrating than being in front of your computer and not really knowing what to do. And improvising won’t get you anywhere.
The best thing to do is to prepare in advance. Here are 10 actions you need to perform to be ready and do your budget in less than 20 minutes.

 

1 – List the Bank Accounts You Use in Your Daily Lives

 
 

  • What is the balance of those accounts
  • Do I use a debit card
  • Do I transfer money from one account to another
  • Do these accounts generate interests, etc.

2 – Identify Your Credit Cards

 

  • What are the credit cards balance
  • Have I set prepayment on those cards
  • When do I pay those cards
  • What are your credit limits
  • What is my interest rate, etc.

 3 – Identify Your Sources of Revenues

 

  • List all your revenue sources
    1. Fixed revenues : paycheque
    2. Variable sources : bonuses, expense reimbursements, rentals, dividends, garage sales, taxes, etc.
  • What is the frequency of those revenues: weekly, every two weeks, twice a month, etc.
  • In which account are those revenues deposited?
  • Consider all possible changes that can occur, like wage increases, overtime work, etc.

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AGENCE DE LA CONSOMMATION EN MATIÈRE FIN. DU CANADA - Couples

  1. 1. You Need to Know What Your Expenses Are

The most important reason for making a budget is to identify exactly where your money goes. Knowing how much you spend on groceries, clothes and even insurance can help you understand why there never is as much money at the end of the month as you thought you should have.

When you know how much you spend on each item, figuring out where money is wasted and keeping spending under control are a lot simpler.

  1. Plan for Short-term Needs

We all should have long-term objectives (see point #3). But before you plan for those, you must take care of subsistence expenses, like housing, food and transportation. That’s why short-term planning is so important : you need to plan for everyday projects that makes life better for you and your family, such as repairs on the house or sending kids to a better school.

  1. Plan Your Long-term Projects

We all have dreams: a trip abroad, a better car, early retirement. This is the fun part of making a budget. It’s essential to identify projects and budget to achieve those goals. To do so, placing your money at the right place and letting it work for you is essential (see point #4). Read more

ajustementsI decided to add an older blog post because it’s still an important issue for Budget Express, I received lots of questions about this feature. It’s one of the feature that differentiate Budget Express from other personal finance software. Budget Express will never ask you to connect directly to your bank account within the software, we prefer you get the information from your bank to the software manually, it’s a security question. 

You can check your transactions in Budget Express by comparing them with those of your bank statements and make appropriate corrections manually. However, there is a much faster way to achieve this: the bank reconciliation.

This Budget Express option allows you to import a transaction file provided by your bank (usually generated from the online bank services). Thanks to this file, you will be able to associate your actual operations to those that were planned in a few clicks. Read more

It’s been a long time that I’ve been reflecting… alas, I’m writing my first post to share my findings and discoveries on personal finance. I will certainly have the occasion to write regularly on the subject.

For this first time round, I want to harken back to something extremely important: savings. There’s a rule in personal financial planning that says we should systematically save about 10% of our net income right away, yes, yes, you’ve read correctly, now, today!).  Read more

Budget Express is a tool that guides you step by step when you create a budget with the help of its software. A complete package, Budget Express allows you to plan for almost any situation! However, to speed up the process and lighten the task, here are a few tips:

Before plunging into the making of a budget, whether it be through Budget Express or on paper, there are a few things that are unavoidable.

First Rule: Before starting, gather all pertinent papers. Bank and credit card statements are especially useful for tracking spending and recurring income. Read more

Making one’s budget is a continual process that is refined over time. Despite all the care that’s put into planning, it always ends up getting modified to fit the reality. A planned budget is different from a real budget. Budget Express is an excellent tool for comparing the two. Let’s take a closer look.

Why a planned budget?
Making a budget starts by examining past spending in order to better predict future expenses so that we can more easily attain our financial objectives. It’s what is called the planned budget, and gives a global picture of money coming in and going out. Read more

To attain financial ease, you’ve got to use the right ingredients and follow the right steps, like in a cooking recipe. There are several ways to achieve this, but a common base applies to all financial success: planning, skill, patience and a little luck. One thing’s for sure, the road is often long, so it’s best to start right away.

Be Prepared

Ensuring one’s financial security is not the result of chance and doesn’t happen by itself. Some people rely on the government for a smooth-sailing retirement. With the economic health of our ministries (or lack of), you ought to forget this notion. In fact, in the same way that companies develop their famous 5-year plans, why not apply the same plan to our personal finances? Recording our financial objectives must be written down in a plan. This formalizes everything and ensures reaching our goals. Success rarely happens by accident… so have a plan! Read more

Sylvie has recently acquired a semi-detached house. She now needs to monitor her budget closely to pay all the related expenses. Still, it’s nothing compared to the joy she gets from having her own home and land now!

User Profile
Woman, 38 years old, programmer/analyst, owns a semi-detached house, lives alone, has a recent car that is completely paid, does contribute to a RRSP on a regular basis, considers her debt ratio to be low. Read more

Have you ever used the follow-up tab to monitor your credit use in Budget Express? It is a simple way to see the evolution of the balance and find that your reimbursement efforts are paying off!

If your financial situation requires you to follow your budget very closely, the credit follow-up function could be very useful. To take full advantage of it, you must have a credit account, for example a credit card. Each time you purchase something using the card, you enter an expense in Budget Express and specify the method of payment. As it is a credit purchase, the effect is not immediately visible in the calendar view and the amount is indicated in gray. Read more