Welcome to my newest series! The Budget Diaries pays homage to some of my favorite blog post series, the Money Diaries of Refinery29 and Cosmopolitan Magazine. In this series, I’ll be interviewing fellow bloggers about their budgeting habits, giving us a small peek into their financial lives.
This week, we’ll be interviewing personal finance blogger and father, Rob, who blogs at Passive Canadian Income. He’s one of my idols when it comes to earning from investments (dividends) so I’m really thrilled to have him on here!
Hi, thank you for agreeing to this interview! Will you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey no problem. I’m a 35 year old man. Luckily I’m married to my fantastic wife and we have 2 kids. (A 5 year old and 8 month old). In 2011 we had over $60,000 in debt and a negative $7,000 net worth. I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey and drank the kool aid. I was obsessed and sick of working so much just to be broke. My wife read the book and thought it would be a great idea to be debt free as well. (Weird that we needed a book to tell us that eh?)
Our debts were just the typical debts, We had a car loan, student loan, about 5 credit cards…. wtf! and a line of credit. We did the Ramsey things and started to look up our totals and write them down. To give you an idea of how financially illiterate we were, my wife thought she owed like $500 to one of her credit cards but when we looked it up it was actually $2500. That was crazy to me!
Anyways for the longest time, we just focused on making minimum payments and spending like crazy. That week things changed drastically and we changed our financial future. It took us about 2 years to pay off all those debts and close those cards. This freed up over $1600 in minimum payments. Its crazy how much cash you can have when you don’t have all this stuff to pay!
After that we focused on paying off our house for a couple years, which was good. Although if we would of been investing that vs paying that 2.5% mortgage we would of been better off. Now we focus on investing in good dividend growth stocks and increasing our passive income. I started a website called Passive Canadian Income to document our journey. Feel free to check it out here. www.passivecanadianincome.ca
Do you keep a consistent budget?
We used to be hardcore working whenever we could and throwing almost everything at the debts and mortgage. We did a budget but I was a budget monster a bit. You spent how much on groceries? That will be more than we budgeted. Spur of the moment date nights? Those weren’t in the budget. No way! Oh another kids birthday party that you didn’t mention. Arg! The budget started to somewhat start fights. All be it very minor ones. Maybe we should of allocated a “float fund” When the kids came, things changed. I didn’t want to work as much as we used to, and we wanted to enjoy our money and do a lot of different life experiences. Ie trips, zoos, waterparks etc.
Oh, wow, I definitely understand what you mean.
We came to an agreement to cancel the budget but to focus on paying ourselves first a certain amount of money, whenever some money comes into the account. There is no question we would have more saved if we stuck to a budget, but maybe our relationship would of suffered. lol! Sometimes I think of doing one again just to see where all our money is going, but me and the wife are on the same page and don’t really “blow” to much money.
Sounds fair to me! How much is your typical weekly budget?
If we include mortgage and property taxes I would say ballpark we are around $900 a week. We moved to a nice house with property and the Canadian Real Estate ain’t cheap. We used to live in a small townhouse. While that was a great starter home and we could invest/pay down debt more, we needed a bigger place and property for our growing family.
I see. What’s a typical week of expenses for you?
Weekly really isn’t that bad. Its all those other monthly bills! I think we spend about $60-70 on gas for the both of us. Groceries range from $80-100 a week and then some beer money. That fluctuates based on what the plan is for the weekend. Our son has the odd pizza day or something at school that costs a couple bucks, but generally that’s it. Of course if we have birthday parties or a day at the water park etc those number’s increase quite a bit.
Of course. What do you think is the hardest thing about budgeting AND not budgeting?
When we used to budget, I think the hardest thing was actually sticking to it. Its great to give you a ballpark of where you should be though.
The hardest thing about not budgeting? Hmmm I guess our savings rate? Like I said if we budgeted consistently we would have a lot more saved/ invested. While a bunch of people chasing “Fire” care so much about their savings rate. I don’t want to have a 80% savings rate. It sounds great, but we are young now. So are our kids. Soon enough they will be in their teens and not even want to hang out with us. Who knows maybe our health will take a big dive and we wont be able to travel in the future.
What advice can you give to anyone who’s interested in budgeting?
If your interested in budgeting that is great! I think if you are in some debt and really want to focus on paying that off, do it. A couple months or years of hard grinding wont kill ya and will pay you dividend’s in the future. I think if I were to do it again I would designate a slush fund for just spur of the moment fun.
A slush fund sounds nice! Anything to say to our dear readers?
Life really is short, time fly’s [sic] by. Make sure you enjoy it. There’s that famous quote – to live everyday like it’s your last, because one day it will be. I don’t fully live this motto but wish I did a little more. Just focus on paying yourself first a certain amount and invest it into assets that produce a cash flow.
Smile and Enjoy the rest!
Like my wife says to me Dreams, Love and Laughter
I’ll keep that in mind! Thank you so much Rob and may you always lead a financially free life!
No problem thanks again for including me!
Live every day like it’s your last, because one day it will be.
Follow Rob’s financial adventures at Passive Canadian Income:
If you want to check out the other posts in this series, take a look at this link right here.
Have something to share? If you’d like to be a part of this series, feel free to email me at email@example.com! I’m looking forward to having you here!