2011 goals - Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2011 goals

I think that it is going to be a very challenging year for me. My main focus is going to be the merging of our household finances,  traveling as frugally as possible, and saving as much as I can towards a down payment for our first home.

[updated: June 10, 2011] This year has been crazy, and I never thought I’d be where I am right now – as a single homeowner living in the Vancouver area. It’s been a challenge, but I believe that I am stronger because of all of this change, and I’m happy. My main focus continues to be traveling as much as I can (paying in cash), and increasing my freelance income.

Created: January 1, 2011
Q1 update: March 30, 2011
Q2 update: June 30, 2011
Q3 update: coming September 30, 2011


  • $45,000 Retirement Portfolio. My regular $250 bi-weekly contributions most likely won’t get me to this goal. I need to start contributing more and looking into different ways of investing, besides mutual funds.
  • CHECK! $5,000 Emergency Fund. I currently have $3,900 in my EF.
  • CHECK! $1,000-3,000 Savings Fund. This money will be revolving as I save and spend. I would like to keep at least a $1,000 cushion in this account for unexpected/emergency travel, as it currently sits with only a few hundred dollars in it.
  • Pay all travel expenses in cash. If I want to go traveling, I will need cash, not a credit card. My flight and accommodation for my trips to Calgary and Toronto/NYC were paid out of my 2010 income, so I only have to worry about spending money for those trips.
  • Open up a joint chequing account. Our goal is to buy our own place and get married within the next few years. So in order to do that, we will need to consolidate part of our finances together. This includes getting a joint chequing account to pay for joint expenses, as we already have a joint savings account. Also, I will be taking control of the household finances (with BF’s input of course).
  • Make an additional $25,000. This is above and beyond my full-time job income and would bring my annual income to approximately $75,000. My 2010 goal was to make an extra $5,000 so this year is going to be extremely challenging. But, I am resourceful and I know I can do it. My main streams of additional income will be through my PT job with the Toronto Star, this blog, freelance graphic design work, and any other way I can come up with to make money.
  • CHECK! Make 3 extra payments to my car loan.
  • Shopping ban (clothing/shoes/accessories). This will last from January-May, and then resume from June-December.
  • The Lunch Challenge. My goal is to not spend any money on lunches, snacks or coffee from Monday-Friday for all of 2011. The only time I can break this rule is if it’s legitimately work-related (which doesn’t happen often, and most work-related costs are almost always expensed anyway). I am also allowed to use gift cards (that I haven’t purchased myself). I’m doing this to challenge myself to be organized by always having lunch prepared, and to save money on the little things. Every dollar counts when you’re saving up to buy a place!


  • Go on 3 hiking trips. These trips need to be at least an overnight adventure.
  • Go on a trip with BF. Right now our plan is to go to Thailand over the Christmas holiday.
  • CHECK!Go on a trip with my sister. New Orleans in February.
  • CHECK! Go on a trip by myself. I went to Toronto in January.
  • Go kayaking or paddling. My mom and I have tentative plans to do this in the summer, thanks to a Groupon I bought her for Christmas.
  • Read at least 1 novel per month. I got a bunch of books from my sister for Christmas, and the rest will come from the library. Anybody have any good book recommendations? :)
  • Finish my cross stitching project. Last year’s project took way longer than the 8 months I had anticipated. This year my goal is to finish before Christmas.
  • Work out at least 3 times/week. All year long. Even when on vacation.
  • CHECK! Lose 10 lbs. I’ve gained a bit of weight since moving in with BF and would love to get back down to a size 4.
  • Run in a 10km race. I can run 10km, I have just never officially done it in a race before, and I would really like that.


  • CHECK! Maintain an updated resume. Although I plan on sticking around at my current job for a long time, you never know what will happen. I found that out first-hand in 2o10 when I got fired from my job.
  • CHECK! Maintain LinkedIn profile. I think this is a really valuable tool.
  • Take 3 seminars.
  • Print business cards for side business.
  • Put side business website back online.
  • Try to be at least one week ahead of my blogging with scheduled posts. Right now I blog on the fly. I don’t have anything scheduled, and sometimes it can create a bit of a panic when it’s 10pm and I need to write something for the next morning.


  1. "* Open up a joint chequing account. Our goal is to buy our own place and get married within the next few years. So in order to do that, we will need to consolidate part of our finances together. This includes getting a joint chequing account to pay for joint expenses, as we already have a joint savings account. Also, I will be taking control of the household finances (with BF’s input of course)."

    I'll be taking this step next in 2011 too! I'd be curious to know more about how you manage it. Do you both review transactions? Do you have agreed upon limits?

    "* Make an additional $25,000. This is above and beyond my full-time job income and would bring my annual income to $75,000. My 2010 goal was to make an extra $5,000 so this year is going to be extremely challenging. But, I am resourceful and I know I can do it."

    I'm hoping to earn an additional $13,000 outside my FT position. The challenge I foresee is the my GF isn't going to let me work enough on the side to make it happen. My goals of earning on the side are two fold: reach savings goals faster (e.g. 50k goal for house down payment, 12k emergency/unemployment savings) and improve my security (i.e. it makes me nervous to be completely dependent on my FT job for income with no alternatives).

    • We haven't exactly figured out how to merge our finances. I think what we'll do is keep our own chequing accounts and every pay day we'll transfer a set amount of money into our joint account. Our own money will continue to be our own to do as we please, but every purchase out of our joint accounts at a certain limit will need to be discussed – I'm thinking anything above $50. I will most likely be doing all of the transaction reviews. BF has no interest in the nitty gritty. He'd rather know the big picture, and he knows that I love managing money and that I'm way better at it than him. :)

      I hope that your GF will be supportive of your goal to make extra money, since it really is going to benefit the both of you in the future. That's how BF and I have discussed our careers. I currently work all day and most evenings, and when he graduates he'll be out of town most of the time. Make sacrifices now while you can, so that your future will be better and more comfortable!

      Also I totally agree with you about not being completely dependent on a FT job. At first I was nervous knowing that 30% of my income was coming from other avenues than my FT job, but I think that makes me much more stable financially knowing that all my eggs aren't in one basket!

    • Hi Tom – Since money is the thing that couples fight about most, I am in favor of keeping finances as separate as possible. I don't believe in joint savings or investments. My husband and I keep separate accounts but split our bills 50/50 and agree to max out our RRSPs every year. Any money after that is ours to do with as we wish. This avoids the resentment that comes with having to ask "permission" every time you want to make a purchase.

      • I believe in joint savings when you are putting in equal amounts of money and have the same goal in mind. But I do agree with you about having separate investments. I don't think I would ever combine investments with my partner. That can just get messy!

  2. Fox - financefox.ca

    Congrats on your 2011 goals. Looks like a well detailed list. Aside from your financial goals, I think the goal of reading 1 book per month and running an official 10K race is amazing. Also making an additional 25K, which is up 20K from the previous year is amazing. Good job and good luck. I know you will do it.
    My recent post Canadian Inflation down to 2 in November

  3. It is great to have goals – joint chequing is important – my wife and I did this prior to being married and it is amazing not worrying about small things like that.
    My recent post American Eagle- 10 Off 35 Purchase Printable Coupon Ends January 1

  4. twentysomethingmoney

    What i like most about your goals, is they’re in some ways stretch goals. To go from 5k extra income, to 25k, is not one of these “easily achievable” goals that everyone likes to set, but one that you really need to work to.

    For your retirement portfolio, are you considering using any of this towards purchasing a house down the road with the First Time Homebuyers Loan program? That’s my plan (eventually) — so while it looks like I have a lot saved for retirement, rather I have a tax sheltered savings account for the downpayment.

    • Yes I am definitely going to use my retirement portfolio for the First Time Home Buyer's Plan. Not sure if we'll use the full $25k, but it's nice knowing that it's there if I need it.

  5. I like your balanced goals! If you can make an extra $25K in side business, that would be awesome!
    My recent post Financial Samurai Goals And Resolutions for 2011

  6. Those are some great goals!

    I'm a big fan of the joint bank account (as long as you have similar financial views/goals), makes things so much simpler.

    Would love to hear about the side business, is that (and blogging) how you plan to get the $25,000 extra?
    My recent post Homemade Christmas Gifts

  7. Hey, your EF…is that number just for your expenses, or joint expenses for both you and J?

    • It's just for my expenses. Once he starts to make an income, we'll have separate EF accounts for our own expenses, and then a joint one for household expenses.

  8. It's great that you are making side income Krystal as I think we are past the days when you could rely on a salary being there all the time; you are right not to have all your eggs in one basket.

    Your goals are great and require you to stretch yourself…which I'm sure you will do! Good luck and a happy 2011 to you and bf :)
    My recent post Managing Our Budget- January 2011 Zero Based Budget

  9. May I ask how you plan to make income from blogging? I always thought these were personal and had nothing monetary attached.

    • I make income through this blog from the ads placed on the site. I don't make that much money each month because my blog isn't overloaded with ads, but everything counts!

  10. If your going to print (and design) business cards for your side business, why not set yourself up as a print broker. I deal with Business Cards Tomorrow and make about three thousand dollars a year and I only have one client! Think what income I could generate if I could design and hustled more customers.

  11. Look for legal ways to reduce your taxable income. Figure out a way to pay for travel expenses through your new business. Get accounting advise. rather then doing your own income , get advise from a tax accountant. Also keep a record of all expenses and at the end of each month review and see if any expenses can be reduce thus creating savings. Heating bills, car expenses etc. Bulk buy for groceries. Formula- less expenses+ more savings.

  12. My apologies if this is off topic….but I run a house by myself and three kids, twins, aged 7 and a girl aged, 2. I had to cut down on my expenses and one of the biggest is groceries. I found that I've saved $20-$25 a week by heading into the local Walmart with my flyers from other grocery store chains. Walmart will price match any current competitors flyer. So, instead of running around to different grocery stores, I go to one. It's helped a lot.

  13. Regarding car payment plan: don't. Cars are simply not an investment value. The recent deals are probably the best you're going to get so don't try to improve on them.

    Instead, start a car account. Those three payments will be either an extra part of the emergency fund to look after car surprises or build to a full cash purchase, or at least a major down payment.

    An older, single lady, retired, explained this to me years ago. She took the most car loan payment she ever had and maintained that through any other loan/lease, even after the car was paid off. Her last three or four cars have been cash purchases.

  14. i'm in the same boat as you – earn about $55k after taxes, mid-20s living in a major canadian city.
    last year i was able to earn $28k in supplemental income and this year i'm aiming for $35k after taxes which is a tough stretch, especially having a daily 9-5.

    how i intend on earning side cash is through a second job (freelance photography), a third job (wholesaling products and sales – self employed), selling things that i no longer use, freelance writing for a website (i guess you could count as a fourth job).
    last year i was able to save $60k after everything towards my downpayment and this year, my goal is to save $65k. long term goal is to pay 100% down on a condo/small townhouse or 50% down on a house.

    good luck with your goals – great to have a blog to keep you accountable!

    • Wow that's amazing. I could learn a lot from you! You must be incredibly busy. I can barely balance my schedule between my daily 9-5, 2 blogs and my freelance income. I'm hoping to save all of my side income towards my down payment as well. My goal is a $100k down payment, but unfortunately since housing prices are so expensive here in Vancouver, that will probably only be good enough for 20% down on a town home or condo.

  15. ExVancouverite

    I hope the plan isn't to buy a home at the bubbilicious prices of today's Vancouver. I am not sure how paying 500K on a crappy Vancouver condo would be consistent with financial independence. Good luck to you.

  16. I like this! I'm going out to start my own list of financial goals this instant. Step 1: Start saving!

  17. Gah!

    Compared to the goals I set, mine are tiny haha. Most of mine dealt with my websites but I should have been focusing much more on finances like you have.

    Next year, 2012, I’m definitely going to take a couple of these and run with them especially around savings and travel.

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