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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.