You can easily adapt our sample budgets to your needs.  Once you make changes in our excel spreadsheets, you can save them on your computer. 


​​Make sure you're working with after-tax income. How to do that?  Coming soon...

Ongoing expenses, big or small, occur regularly.  Irregular expenses are infrequent and can be big items.


  • Your rainy-day fund (savings account)

  • Money for medium-term purchases and retirement (investments)

  • Debt repayment


  • ​​​Insurance payments (like a rainy-day fund for life-changing events)

Once you start working full time, your income and expenses become more regular.

If you're freelancing or working part-time, you may have to budget differently.

Build a budget

‘FUN’ SPEND - 30%


  • Hobbies
  • Going out / entertainment
  • Media content
  • Fun clothes


  • Holidays
  • Travel

How did financial planners come up with the 50/30/20 rule? 

They didn't. But it appears they embraced it.

An American politician, Elizabeth Warren, wrote about this rule in her book called "All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan".

If you live in an expensive city, a 70/15/15 rule is more realistic (mostly due to increased rent / housing costs). There may be periods in your life when you aren't saving at all (student / unemployed). That's fine in the short-term, but not sustainable - everyone needs to save for their future. Put aside whatever you can manage. 

​​​​If you're not sure how much you're spending, look at your transaction history for the previous year (for your chequing account and credit card) and group your purchases into 'must' and 'fun' spend.

  • But this method won’t work as well if you tend to use a lot of physical cash - it's harder to remember where you spent the money.
  • For the next month, look closely at your expenses - keep track of every cash purchase you make and its value (hold onto / take pictures of receipts)

what does a budget look like? check it out.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​There's a 50/20/30 rule to budgeting. 

Of your after-tax income, you should spend approximately:

  • 50% on your necessities - 'must' spend
  • 20% on your financial goals
  • 30% on 'fun' things

Having said that, it's your budget.  Your must/fun-spends may differ from someone else's. 


If you get paid regularly, figure out how much you earn each month.

Monthly makes sense (even if you're paid bi-weekly) because most of your big expenses, like rent, are monthly.

  • Are you working full-time? Do you also work part-time?
  • Do you have savings / investment income?
  • Any other sources? For example, continued family support or gifts.​​

​‘MUST' SPEND - 50%


  • Rent / utilities
  • Groceries
  • Personal (hygiene, clothes, gym)
  • Transportation
    ​Internet, cell phone


  • Medical / dental​​
  • Tuition & books (for students)

​​​If you get paid irregularly, budgeting monthly is still your best bet.  You need to figure out how much money you have  for the month - your 'average monthly income'.

  • You can add up irregular income from the past year and divide the sum by 12 months. 
  • If you know when your next paycheque is coming (let's say in 3 months) and roughly how much it's worth ($6,000 after tax), add up the pay you know is coming and divide by the number of months it has to last you ($6,000 over 3 months is a $2,000 monthly budget).

When you're a student, it's okay to treat your student debt money as income in your budget.  In all other circumstances, debt is not income.