Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2013 Annual Goals

This year is going to be all about making and achieving outrageous goals. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my life, and I’m really excited and motivated to get going. Moving back home and getting a new job really means a clean slate for 2013. Maybe I won’t achieve everything I want for myself this coming year, but at least I can try. And who knows, maybe I’ll surprise myself along the way. :)


  • Earn $85,000 to $90,000. This includes my full-time income, freelancing, and advertising on my blog. Last year I earned $57,000 as a full-time freelancer, but I’m also cutting back drastically on my freelancing, so I feel like $90,000 is a bit of a stretch for me. I don’t exactly know how I’m going to get there, but I feel like it’s within reach if I really go for it.
  • Put an extra $2,500 onto the mortgage. I want to increase my mortgage payments by 20% again for 2013, and potentially put down a lump sum on my anniversary date.
  • Save $16,000 in my Retirement Portfolio. This is 18.8% of my income goal of around $85,000 this year. I feel like I could be saving more, but I also want to make sure I’m paying down my mortgage as well. I plan on putting $10,000 into my RRSP and $6,000 into a TFSA.
  • Diversify my investments. I’ve always invested in e-series index mutual funds, but I’d like to diversify a bit and look at different investment vehicles. I’ve already started doing a lot of reading, and I’m pretty excited to try.
  • Start contributing to charity. Every year I contribute to the Easter Seals and the Ride to Conquer Cancer, but I want to start giving on a monthly basis. I’m looking at sustainable living projects in developing countries, as well as clean water initiatives.


  • Go on one big trip. It’s going to be tough coming from a year when we were constantly travelling, but I have too many financial goals to achieve this year, so my travel budget is going to be drastically slashed. Instead, I plan to focus on exploring closer to home (road trips!) and go on one big trip this year. Right now the front-runner is going to China for 2-3 weeks with my family. But Kenya, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand are really high on my list as well.
  • Run in a half marathon and two 10km races. This is the year I actually start entering races. Ever since high school (where I ran cross country and track), I’ve always just run for myself, or for field hockey training. Races have never appealed to me because I’m too competitive with myself. But it’s important to do it just to get over the fear.
  • Take a French language class. I’m serious about this. French has always been a hard language for me to learn, but I need to do it. Not only because I’m in a long term relationship with a French guy, but also because it’s really good to have for professional purposes.


  • Invest in a grown-up wardrobe. I need to stop spending money on casual clothing and focus on my professional wardrobe and how I present myself at work. I want to figure out a polished, professional look, while still having a bit of fun and showing my personality. I’ve come a long way in the last 7 years, but I still don’t even own a suit.
  • Read 6 marketing books. This is a fun goal because I love reading about how other companies and people go about marketing and starting new businesses. I don’t have any books in mind at the moment, so if anybody has any recommendations, just let me know! :)
  • Scale back my freelancing. My goals over the last few years have always been to ramp up my freelancing projects, but this year I’m starting a new full-time job that will likely see me working more than 8 hours/day. Especially during the first year. But, the extra income I’ll be making with this new job means that I can afford to scale back a little bit with my part-time work. Previous to 2012, I was working an additional 25-30 hours/week. I’d like to bring that down to 15 hours/week. But it’s going to be kind of a balancing act, because I do have some lofty income goals for this year.

2012 Annual Goals: Recap

This was easily one of the best years I’ve ever had. Not only did I get to fulfill my dream of travelling, but I strengthened my relationships, made some awesome friends – and did it all while on a pretty tight budget. :) Part of me is disappointed that I didn’t save as much money as I could have had I stayed in Canada, but the experience of travel was truly priceless. That being said, I’m excited to get back on track with my finances for 2013.

I also learned a lot about myself professionally. I’m happy that I succeeded as a freelancer, but my personality is better suited to corporate work (with freelancing pushed into a part-time role). And I feel like that was reflected in not achieving many of the professional goals that I set out for myself.

Anyway, onto my 2012 goals recap. :)


  • Earn $70,000. FAIL. As my first year as a full-time freelancer, this was my only financial goal for 2012. It didn’t make sense to me to create specific financial goals, when everything depended on how much money I could bring in. Anyway, I optimistically thought I could bring in $70,000 – and I would have, if I had stayed in Canada. Unfortunately there were a lot of opportunities I missed out on because I was abroad and couldn’t take on projects. My income this year was just about $57,000.


  • Travel. CHECK! We actually travelled a lot more than I thought we would this year, and extended our trip by 3+ months definitely helped out. In the 10 months we were living in Germay, I went to 18 different countries, travelled for 80 days, and spent approximately $9,500 CDN. That’s a large chunk of money, but IMO it’s pretty good considering we spent the majority of our time in Western Europe.
  • Go on a trip by myself. CHECK! I went to Iceland for 3 days on a solo trip.
  • Learn basic German and French. FAIL. We ended up learning very, very basic German. We knew how to order from restaurants, and answer simple questions – but I never got to the point where I could have a conversation with someone. As for French… well, I mean, I can read basic French and over the last few months my boyfriend was teaching me small phrases and pronunciation tips. So I’m slowly getting there. But I think what I’m going to need to do is actually taken lessons.
  • Read 12 novels not related to marketing or personal finance. CHECK! I caught up on a lot of reading this year, and managed to read almost 50 books. :)


  • 2012 Canadian Personal Finance Conference. CHECK! CPFC12 ended up being such an amazing experience. Meeting so many bloggers, and hearing such inspirational presentations really renewed my passion for personal finance. I cannot wait for next year’s event. :)
  • 2012 Financial Blogger Conference. FAIL. My original plan, of course, was to go to FINCON12. But we ended up staying in Germany for an additional 3+ months, so I had to scrap the trip. I think CPFC12 is better in terms of networking, but I did end up landing some freelancing gigs out of FINCON11, so I might go next year. Depends where it is, I guess.
  • Write one guest post each month on another blog. FAIL. Instead of writing guest posts, I actually received quite a bit of freelance work. So of course, I decided to get paid for my writing instead of giving it away for free. But I did try to do as many interviews as possible.
  • Take all of my own photographs. CHECK! I used a couple of my boyfriend’s pictures, but my main goal was to stay away from stock photos.
  • Post a new photo every day while abroad via Tumblr. FAIL. I had really good intentions, and posted new photos for about half of the year. But then I launched Frugal Wanderer, and started using Instagram, which basically meant my Tumblr account got pushed back in terms of priority.
  • Take on three steady freelance assignments. FAIL. I actually lost a freelance client halfway through the year. But thankfully I got a raise with another client, and picked up different projects along the way which helped to boost my income. Had I not lost that client, I would have likely made my income goal of $70k. Oh well. :)

How did you do with your goals this year?

Spending Recap: Dec 17-23, 2012

Monday 17th
$337.85 J.Crew

Tuesday 18th
$101.36 Sephora

Wednesday 19th
$35.80 Stitch It (2x pants hemmed)

Thursday 20th
$7.84 dinner

Friday 21st
$62.64 hair cut
$9.48 Turkish tea
$17.71 sushi

Saturday 22nd
$4.43 coffee

Sunday 23rd
$41.06 gas

TOTAL: – $618.17

Okay, I totally splurged on new work clothes from J.Crew this week. I haven’t bought any work clothes over the past year (obviously), and last year I didn’t buy anything either because I was on a shopping ban. So it was definitely time for a bit of a wardrobe facelift – especially because I have a new job to go to in January. :)

They were having a good sale online, and combined with using Ebates (for an additional 3% off!), I was able to get a lot of great pieces for the price that I paid.

  • Red blazer ($70.80)
  • Royal blue cardigan ($14.70)
  • Chartreuse cardigan ($14.70)
  • Striped sleeveless blouse ($32.70)
  • Black asymmetric shift dress ($40.80)
  • Sequin pocket t-shirt ($11.70)
  • Heart patterned sweater ($55.99)
  • Pleated skirt ($34.99)
  • Black cardigan ($35.00)

Other than that, it was a normal week of spending. I’m still getting really used to paying for things in Canadian dollars, AND especially having to add tax on top of the prices of everything. I really wish they would just incorporate tax into the price of everything, like they do in Europe. It would make things a lot easier for everyone. But it’s been really nice to go back to using my debit and credit cards to make purchases, instead of always having to take out cash.

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