Give Me Back My Five Bucks

December 2011 Goals: Recap

Well this month was insane. Not only did I quit my full-time job, but I also decided to move to Germany. And with all of this change came a lot of expenses. See below for the results of the last month.


  • Internet – Well Shaw Cable’s prices increased without my knowledge. That makes me mad, but I’ll be cancelling my internet next month anyway.
  • Clothing – See note below. I broke my shopping ban by 5 days in order to take advantage of an additional 40% off sale.
  • Travel – Who would have predicted this would happen? Overages include my flight to Paris, 12-month travel insurance, and 12-month work Visa. Plus, a trip home to Vancouver Island for the holidays.
  • Car & Transportation – I paid for parking a few times, and took the SkyTrain a couple of times.

NET WORTH CHANGE:  + $2,599 (4.11%)
Despite not hitting my $4,000 freelancing goal this month, and despite having a million expenses, my net worth continues to climb. I’m going to savour this month, because I highly doubt I’ll be able to save anything near this amount while I’m in Europe. :)

December 2011 Goals:

  • Make an additional $4,000 above and beyond my FT job. FAIL! I only made $2,366.39  – a far cry from the $4,000 I was aiming for. I actually invoiced out for an additional $4,500, but with the holidays, I guess I won’t actually end up getting paid out for it until January. Oh well. That’s the life of a freelancer, so I guess I should get used to it. :)
  • Contribute $1,000 towards my Emergency Fund. FAIL! I only contributed $625 towards my EF. I blame this on spending $1,600 on travel expenses (most of which I obviously didn’t anticipate spending when I made these monthly goals), as well as not hitting my freelance income target for the month.
  • Open up TFSA e-series mutual fund accountFAIL! Well, I opened up a TFSA mutual fund account. But with all the craziness surrounding getting my work Visa in order, I never got around to filling out the TD Canada Trust e-series paperwork.
  • Re-balance my RRSP portfolio. CHECK! I went through and rebalanced my portfolio, and I feel much better about it because I’ve been meaning to do it for years.
  • Get ahead of schedule. PASS. I tried hard, but I’m no farther ahead of schedule than I was at the beginning of the month. December just destroyed me. Whatever happened to it being a slow month for blogging!?
  • Make my two secret projects the best things I’ve ever done in my life. CHECK! I tried as hard as I could, and that’s all that I can ask of myself.

Ongoing 2011 Annual Goals:

  • No buying lunch, snacks or coffee during the work week. FAIL! I went out for lunch once.
  • No buying clothing, shoes or accessories until December 31, 2011. PASS. I wanted to wait until December 31st to do a little Boxing Week shopping, but The Bay was having an additional 40% off sale (on top of their Boxing Day sale prices) for just one day. So I ended up buying a $400 wool coat for $158, a $129 dress for $31, and a $110 wool wrap for $33. :) Technically this is a fail, but I’m still going to give myself a pass because I was only 5 days away.
  • Work out at least 3x/week. FAIL! I was so busy in December, I don’t even want to talk about it.

2012 Goals

I am really excited for 2012. My life has changed so much over the past 12 months, and I am really looking forward to the next 12 months because I think it’s going to be the most challenging year of my life.

This is my opportunity for a brand new start. I have so much that I want to accomplish, and I know that if I work hard and put my mind to it, I can do it all – and maybe even surprise myself along the way. :)


  • Earn $70,000. As I embark on my journey as a full-time freelancer, this will be my only financial goal for 2012. I just don’t know what to expect, or if this is even a realistic goal. But since all of my other financial goals hinge on how much money I can earn, I don’t think there’s any sense in creating more specific goals. This will probably be my biggest personal finance challenge ever.


  • Travel. Being based out of Europe for 7 months out of the year will help me achieve this goal. :) Countries on our “must see” list are Germany (obviously), Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Belgium, Italy, and Luxembourg. I also want to see Slovenia, Denmark, Greece, and I want to get to Iceland. But I somehow doubt that’ll happen. There are just too many places to see in such little time, and with a limited budget. Back in North America, I want to get to Toronto (for the 2012 Canadian Personal Finance Conference), and to wherever the Financial Blogger Conference is going to be held. So, a lot of traveling this year. On a potentially tight budget.
  • Go on a trip by myself. I would like to accomplish this in Europe. There are a few places on my list that I know Nic doesn’t want to see. Perhaps I can work up the courage to go by myself.
  • Learn basic German and French. I don’t know any German, and the last time I spoke any French was in high school. Since I’ll be living in Germany, I really want to learn how to have more than just a basic conversation with someone. And since my boyfriend is French, I want to at least learn how to read it (so I don’t have to rely on Google Translate to help me figure out what he’s saying on Facebook all the time!). And have a simple conversation without being laughed at because I can’t pronounce anything properly. :)
  • Read 12 novels not related to marketing or personal finance. I think I might burn out if I spend my leisure time reading up about job-related material. Even though I like reading about marketing/PF/social media, I think I will be a more effective worker if I step away and try to clear my head by reading completely different stuff.


  • 2012 Canadian Personal Finance Conference. This is turning into a bigger event than both Preet and I could have ever imagined, and I am really, really excited to be a part of it. To finally have all of Canada’s top personal finance names under one roof, sharing ideas … well, it’s going to be an incredible experience for sure.
  • Write one guest post each month on another blog. I’ve never written guest posts before, but I want to try to write on blogs that will help me grow my reach. So, basically blogs that are more popular than mine, or ones that don’t necessarily fall within the personal finance niche.
  • Take all of my own photographs. This has been one of my goals for a long time now. Because in theory, I will have more time to myself this year, I feel like I’ll have more of a chance to be creative.
  • Post a new photo every day via Tumblr. Since I didn’t think you guys would want to be bombarded by a million photos of Europe while I’m gone, I decided to create a Tumblr account instead (follow me!). My goal is to post at least one new photo every day for all of 2012.
  • Take on three steady freelance assignments. Right now I have two steady assignments. I think adding one more steady stream of income will help me feel more secure as a freelancer. It doesn’t have to be writing – it can be graphic design, marketing, social media – I’m open to pretty much everything.

Spending Recap: December 19-25, 2011

Monday 19th
+ $479.45 freelance/side income
$15.39 Amazon (Lonely Planet e-book)

Tuesday 20th
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 21st
$12.24 Shang Noodle House
$42.25 gas

Thursday 22nd
No Spend Day! 

Friday 23rd
$64.55 ferry
$26.16 Pho Ever Restaurant

Saturday 24th
$4.50 parking
$14.62 Azuma Sushi

Sunday 25th
No Spend Day! 


TOTAL: + $299.74

Well, I guess it’s the holidays so I can’t complain that I haven’t gotten any freelance income. It’s all billed out, I just haven’t gotten paid yet. :) Hopefully the cheques come soon, so I can cash them in before I leave for Germany. I’ve been requesting direct deposit or PayPal payments from most of my advertisers, although some of them are insisting on mailing cheques. So I’ll have to figure that one out.

Other than that, it’s a normal week of spending. I spent a bit more on restaurants than normal, because I’m currently in my hometown for the holidays. :)

For Christmas, I asked for nothing, and I got spoiled. My sister bought me a blu-ray player (because I currently don’t even have a DVD player. I’m stoked, but also a little sad that I won’t be able to really use it until I get back in the fall. And my mom got me a Kindle! I’ve previously been against e-readers, but I think I might be coming around. I’ve already read the entire Hunger Games trilogy (in less than 36 hours), and am onto Water For Elephants. It’s just a little disappointing that ebooks are so pricey! And in some instances, I found that the paperback version on Amazon was less expensive than the Kindle version! What’s up with that!?

* This is all income I bring in that is above and beyond my full-time job. Money is primarily made through my two blogs and my graphic design business.

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