Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2014 Annual Goals

The overall theme of 2014 will be to take chances (don’t be afraid), and focus on saving for the future.

During 2013, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was, and I learned that if I really want to be happy, I need to take chances. I can’t spend too much time over analyzing every small detail of my life, and worrying if I’m making the right decision. Usually, my gut feeling ends up being the right one anyway, so I can’t be afraid to go for what I want. Besides, you’re not really living life if you don’t feel scared every once in a while, right? :)

And the truth is, the goals I have listed below scare me. I haven’t been this focused on seriously increasing my savings for a very long time. 2012 was spent traveling (and saving minimally), and 2013 I did okay… but I know I could have done better. So 2014 is the time where I prove to myself that I have what it takes.

Retirement will take centre stage this year, as I’m drastically changing the way I funnel my money. I am no longer paying an additional 20% onto each of my accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments. Instead, that $200+ each week will be put towards my RRSP and TFSA accounts. I think this is the right move to make considering the future life I want for myself.

Anyway, here are my goals for 2014:

Financial

  • Stay debt-free (aside from my mortgage). I feel like this goal is an obvious one, but it needs to be said.
  • Increase my income by 10%. Instead of putting a number value on my income goal for 2014, my goal is to increase my overall income (full-time and part-time) by a specific percentage. I think that this a bit of a stretch, but it’s still realistic.
  • Increase my net worth to $115,000. This is an increase of approximately $22,000. Last year my net worth increased by $17,000, so this will be a bit of a challenge for me. But if my income increases, and I stay on track with my RRSP/TFSA contributions and mortgage payments, I should be able to reach this.
  • Buy stocks. I purchased my first stock in 2013 (through my TFSA), and I’m actively tracking a couple of others for long-term growth. So, my goal for this year is to put $2,000 into stocks. It’s not a lot, but I’m comfortable with this amount.
  • Save at least $750/month into my RRSP/TFSA. This will likely be split at a ratio of $600/$150.
  • Save at least $50 bi-weekly into a travel fund. This is money that won’t be touched for a long time, and is separate from saving for annual trips that I take. I want to start putting away money for a big adventure. I don’t know when I’ll take this trip or where I want to go, but I do know that I’d like to travel for at least 2 months (preferably 3), and that will take a lot of coordination to work out… but I’d better start saving for it now.
  • Stay on budget every month. A big problem with my budget in 2013 was that I was always going over. I need to make realistic budgets for myself this year, and focus on hitting those targets. That’s the only way I’m going to be able to achieve the rest of my financial goals this year.
  • Sell at least one item every month. I have a lot of things that I just don’t use anymore… and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Craigslist and eBay, is that people will buy just about anything. So I’d like to start decluttering and getting rid of some of the stuff in my house.

Personal

  • Go on one big trip. I want to scale back on travel, but I don’t want to give it up completely. I think the most cost-effective way is to take vacation immediately after a work trip, like last year when I went to Morocco after a conference in France. This year, the conference will be in Sweden. I’d love to explore Denmark and Northern Germany… but I’d also like to do a road trip through southern France/Spain/Portugal… or head back to Turkey… or go to Russia. So as you can see, I’ve got a lot of research to do. But whatever I end up choosing will likely be in Europe, will likely be in late October, and will hopefully cost less than $2,000.
  • Run in four half marathons and set a PR. 2013 was great. I ran in two 10km races, and two half marathons. 2014 is where I take my love for running and try to do something with it. Now, I’m not dumb. I know my body and its capabilities… I’ll never be an elite runner, but I do want to push myself to become better. My goal? To run a half marathon in 1:48 … that’s going to be about 6 minutes faster than my current PR.
  • Read 20 books. I have a huge list of books to read on GoodReads. Time to tackle them.
  • Spend less than $1,000 on clothing/shoes. Okay, this may seem like a ton of money, but I know I’ll need to replace my running shoes ($150) and field hockey boots ($150) at some point. If I want to spend more than this amount, I will need to sell my current clothes to come up with the money.
  • Make one new recipe every month. I’ve never claimed to be great in the kitchen, but I do like trying. My goal is to make at least one new thing every month.
  • Tackle three household projects. I want to re-finish my kitchen cabinets, get blinds installed, and re-paint my bedroom.

Professional

  • Research project management programs. I don’t want to go back to school full-time or take an intensive part-time program… but I am interested in some certifications. I don’t know all the options out there, and I honestly don’t know if this is something I want to (or need to) do to advance my career, so I’ll have to do a lot of research to figure out what my options are.
  • Take a French language class. This is probably going to have to happen. I’m really interested in continuing to grow as an employee, and without a second language (any second language) working for international companies can be difficult. French is the obvious choice because Canada is bilingual.
  • Get published 4 times. I don’t think I want to go back to a regular freelancing gig, but I do love writing articles. So my goal is to pitch and submit at least one article per quarter during 2014. It doesn’t matter if it’s online or in print, but I do need to get paid for it.

Any questions or comments? Let me know! :)

January 2014 Goals

I want to start 2014 off right, so it’s time for a spending detox. This budget is pretty frugal for me, considering most of my monthly budgets are around $2,600 to $3,000. I haven’t actually created a budget under $2,500 since December 2011, and what’s most horrifying is that I actually went over-budget that month by like $1,700.

There is more than enough money floating around in my budget to eat healthy, see friends, and pay for gas/parking… I’m just cutting down on all the stuff I usually spend on that I just don’t need. I have no big plans or travel scheduled for the month, and I don’t need any clothes or personal care/household items. Still, this month will be a challenge because I’ve been guilty of just ignoring the numbers in my budget if I want to go out and do something fun.

I’m hoping a good January will set the tone for the rest of the year. My goals are ambitious (they’ll be posted tomorrow), but definitely achievable.

01 - January Budget

 January 2014 Goals:

  • Read 2 books. I got a bunch of books for Christmas, so it’s time to get started. Are we friends yet on Goodreads?
  • Save $750 into my RRSP/TFSA. This will likely be split at a ratio of $550/$200.
  • Run the Chilly Chase half marathon in under 1:53:30. My current half marathon PR is 1:53:52 – so I’d like to shave a few seconds off my time, but I’m not expecting anything unrealistic.
  • Sell 3 items. I have a lot of things that I just don’t use anymore… and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Craigslist, is that people will buy just about anything.
  • Go out for lunch only once per week. Every Friday my co-workers and I go out for lunch. So for the rest of the week, I’ll have to stay organized and pack my own food.

Spending Recap: December 16-22, 2013

Monday 16th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 17th
$6.78 lunch
$20 dinner

Wednesday 18th
$12 shipping
$19.78 gas

Thursday 19th
+ $78.98 eBay sale
+ $520.06 freelance income
$12.67 groceries

Friday 20th
No Spend Day!

Saturday 21st
No Spend Day!

Sunday 22nd
$35.79 groceries

Freelance Income: + $520.06 (+ $78.98)
Expenses– $107.02

TOTAL: + $492.02

Happy Boxing Day to all my Canadian friends out there. :)

Last week was a pretty low-key week for spending. We celebrated BF’s birthday on Friday night. I told him to choose a restaurant, but instead he requested a home cooked meal. So instead of spending $50-60 on a meal out, I spent less than $15 making vegetarian curry – with enough left overs for 6 more servings. :)

It was a good week for bringing in extra money. I got paid out for some freelance work, and I was able to sell a shirt on eBay. I’ve also made a pile of clothes that I plan on photographing and selling on eBay over the next few months. It likely won’t bring in a ton of money, but it’s better than nothing.

How was your week of spending?

 

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