Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2014 Annual Goals: Q2 Review

We’re already half way through 2014, and I know I’m going to sound like a broken record, but what a crazy year it’s been so far. Lots of ups and downs in both my personal and professional life, but I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’m looking forward to a calmer, more stable second half to the year with a focus on health and relationships/friendships. But more on that later. :)

Anyway, onto my Q2 goals review:

Financial

  • Stay debt-free (aside from my mortgage). ON TRACK! This is pretty obvious, but my number one financial goal is to always stay debt-free. I’m on track to achieve this goal, with no major expenses on the horizon.
  • Increase my income by 10%. NEEDS WORK. Losing 6 work weeks in Q1 has definitely hurt this goal. But I technically have more earning potential at this new job, so I’ll have to keep plugging away at this and not let that setback bring me down.
  • Increase my net worth to $115,000. NEEDS WORK. This is an increase of approximately $22,000 from 2013. So far, I’m off pace (and I adjusted the worth of my car, putting me even farther behind) but I’m going to try to increase all of my automated savings to try and do as well as I can anyway.
  • Buy stocks. ON TRACK! I’ve been contributing $150-200/month into my Questrade TFSA account. I’m never going to be big into stocks, but it’s fun to learn and play around with it. So far, I’ve purchased two stocks and one ETF.
  • Save at least $750/month into my RRSP/TFSA. ON TRACK! I’m giving myself a pass here because I have been doing this, except for the 6 weeks in which I didn’t have a job – saving $600 into my RRSP, and $150 into TFSA.
  • Save at least $50 bi-weekly into a long-term travel fund. ON TRACK! Surprisingly, I’ve saved over $1,100 already this year. It’s all thanks to banking a whole freelance cheque, and any ING Direct referral bonuses I’ve been getting. Although this travel fund account will be constantly fluctuating, I do hope to create a $1,000 buffer so that I’m prepared for any last-minute trips. I can do this if I can stop going on trips and actually save that money instead. :)
  • Stay on budget every month. FAIL. I’ve already failed at this goal because of my job loss, but I’m still going to work hard at making achievable targets each month and being super conscious with my spending habits.
  • Sell at least one item every month. ON TRACK! Well, I’ve technically only sold one thing. But I’ve put items up on eBay every month, and I have given away a ton of stuff to goodwill, so that counts for something. At least for me, anyway. :)

Personal

  • Go on one big trip. ON TRACK! Well, originally I was going to Sweden this year for a work trip, and that was going to be where I based my vacation from. But since clearly that job didn’t work out, I’ve been focusing on smaller trips this year, with the goal to go somewhere in the fall – just not likely overseas. :) We’ve already been to Portland, Las Vegas, Oregon Coast, and are planning for Seattle next month. Ideas for the fall have included anything from New Orleans to New York to the Caribbean somewhere.
  • Run in four half marathons and set a PR. NEEDS WORK. Well, I’ve run in one half marathon already this year, but it was rough, and I’ve only been running consistently for the last month due to a foot injury that kept me out most of the year. But my training has been going really well, and I still have aspirations of running in at least two more half marathons this fall. My stretch goal is still to run one in 1:48, but realistically I just want to stay healthy for the rest of the year.
  • Read 20 books. NEEDS WORK. I’ve read 7 books so far this year, which means I’m 3 books behind schedule. I’m still hopeful I can reach this goal, because I have so many great books I want to read this year. This goal got derailed because I got a little obsessed with Netflix documentaries. :)
  • Spend less than $1,000 on clothing/shoes. ON TRACK! Well, surprisingly I’ve only spent about $250 this year on clothes, so I’m definitely under budget.
  • Make one new recipe every monthON TRACK! I’m still vegetarian, and it’s been fun to experiment with new recipes and ideas in the kitchen. Over the past few months, BF has slowly been reducing his meat intake to the point where he doesn’t really even eat red meat anymore. That has definitely helped us better meals together.
  • Tackle three household projects. NEEDS WORK. Well, I’ve still done none of these things. And while I was taking a million years to decide what to do, a new problem arose in my house – one side of the kitchen sink is leaking. So that’s my top priority at the moment, and then I’ll start looking into the bigger projects I wanted to get done this year.

Professional

  • Research project management programs. ON TRACK! I keep flip flopping between taking a project management program, and getting my Masters degree. I know where I want to get to professionally, but am unsure about which one will get me there with the best results. I think it’s the project management program, but I need to be 100% sure before I commit to anything because $$$.
  • Take a French language class. NEEDS WORK. If I do end up taking a management program, I might drop French language lessons. It was a good goal to have in the last industry I was in, but I’m not sure it’s needed in the direction that I’m headed. It’s still worth taking a look though, because a second language is always beneficial.
  • Get published 4 times. NEEDS WORK. I was published once this year, and am currently in negotiations to write for a few other companies.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


Comments

  1. Curious says:

    Hi Krystal, from reading your blog I know that you’re quite physically active (and by that I mean an athlete! :) ….. I’m wondering if you could give me some ideas how to get enough protein in your diet given that you’re vegetarian? ie. do you do protein shakes? Eggs, cheese, beans, tofu?? I skimp on meat only because I don’t really like the taste of it but I also have low energy, and my iron levels weren’t high enough recently to donate blood (although I eat ALOT of spinach in smoothies). I’ve never tried a protein shake ever and was wondering if you’ve ever tried them (or any of your readers that could comment!)

    P.S. Don’t mean to turn this post into a veggie / vegan / carnivore post, but would just be grateful for some quick suggestions from you or others how you keep your protein levels at an adequate level. And I’m not even an athlete – ha!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Hi, thanks for your comment! To answer your question on how I get enough protein… well first of all obviously I’m not a professional, but I do believe that we think we need more protein than we actually do. That being said, no I don’t do protein shakes. I find them chalky and kinda gross, but BF adds protein powder to his oatmeal every morning and really likes it. I do, however, eat protein bars on a regular basis (Pure Protein bars = 200 calories, 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of sugar) – and I find that half a bar is the perfect amount of food before a run. :)

      Other ways I get protein in my diet are with lentils (I put them in all of my salads), black beans (we found this awesome 100% black bean pasta!), nut butters, tofu, lots of quinoa, and lots of veggies which also contain protein. Sometimes I’ll eat eggs if I’m out for breakfast/brunch, but I rarely cook them at home. Hopefully that helps a bit? Getting enough protein was a big concern for me too before I went veg, but my energy levels have remained pretty high as long as I eat enough calories! Any other questions, please feel free to ask.

  2. Walnut says:

    Have you thought about not going on a fall trip in order to save up some cash to meet your others goals? It seems like the thousand or so that would inevitably be spent on a trip with plane tickets would bolster your savings goals. I’m thinking camping or hiking with an objective of reading at least one book while you’re out would save money and help you reach your book goal.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah it has definitely crossed my mind. Travel has always been a big part of my life and I’m constantly trying to find the balance between saving and spending. Right now, it’s still up in the air. Not going on any trips would definitely help me save money faster, but at the same time travel is such an important part of my life that I’m not sure I want to give up a planned vacation that easily. It has already been scaled back from a 2-3 week European trip to a 1-week trip. So we’ll see what happens. A camping/hiking trip is a great idea, but the only issue is I’d have to do that solo. None of my friends are into it, and I’m not confident enough in my outdoorsy skills to go on a multi-day trip. Day trips this summer are still definitely a go! :)

  3. g says:

    What happened with that “personal finance conference” you “founded”? You’ve been talking about learning French for years now

  4. C says:

    I thought you had a technical diploma. Can you get into grad school without an undergraduate degree??

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yes. I’ve looked into it, and there are some places that let you take a masters program if you can prove that you have the work experience equivalent to an undergrad degree.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m just finishing up my Masters’ thesis. Before I was accepted into my Masters program I did quite extensive research into different graduate programs. Yes your work experience is a very important factor into getting in a graduate program. However, there is no respected or trustworthy Masters program that would accept a candidate without an undergraduate degree. It’s very unlikely. You would have to be a high-level manager with years of leadership under your belt. I think they would be curious as to why you dropped out of University.

        • Krystal Yee says:

          I know of a couple of people who took the Masters in Professional Communication at a university on the island without having their undergraduate degree. From what I hear, it’s a pretty good program too. Based on the flexible admission standards, I think I would have a decent chance of getting accepted. Anyway, it’s just something I’m looking into.

          • g says:

            Krystal, no! You’re so delusional sometimes. You have to have an undegraduate to get a masters degree. Any college/university telling you differently is just trying to scam you. You have so little education and self awareness, it’s actually disturbing.

          • Anonymous says:

            Krystal, the university you are referring to is Royal Roads University and their Standard Admission requires a 4 year undergraduate degree (not a college diploma).

            The Flexible Admission that you are hoping to apply under actually requires previous work experience in a leadership role. In fact, you must have worked at least 3 years in a leadership capacity to even be considered. From you’re previous blogs you have made it clear that your job positions were not management level. You have to take into account that if you apply under Royal Roads flexible admission criteria you will be competing against candidates who held more senior positions than yourself.

            If you’re really serious about graduate studies, have you considered going back to school and obtaining a bachelor degree?

            If you’re in fact not that serious about the applying for a MA in Professional Communication than I agree that a basic, less demanding project management course would be a better fit for you.

  5. jilly says:

    I have a 4 year undergrad degree with decent marks, I’d let you borrow it for your MA lol. You’ll never know if you can get it or not until you apply right? My brother has a Project Management certification from a college here in Ontario, and he didn’t get a 4 year degree either. And the way I see you utilize your skills, I don’t think a MA makes a huge impact on your career trajectory. I love reading your blog, and I hope all this negativity doesn’t stop you from writing.

  6. kdndollar says:

    So many factors contribute to career advancement. I do not beleive not having a BA or an MA will hold you back substantially. Anyone will the right abilities (with or without a degree/masters)and character can acheive amazing career outcomes. It might mean taking a differnt path to the same outcome or idea of success as far as your career is concerned but I suspect you’ll do fine without that overrated MA. Go take a practical PM program. Anyways, moving on, I’m wondering how you calculate your personal net worth – are you including the equity you’ve built against your mortgage? or only your investment and savings accounts? I would like to pursue a finance blog of sorts, if no other reason than to track and hold myself accountable before all the readers! Good work. Even though I agree sometimes your ideas/logic don’t jive with my train of thought. Meh. Ciao

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yep I do include my mortgage in my net worth, as well as my car (KBB value updated throughout the year), and investments/savings. I also included debts such as braces, LASIK, etc. when I had them.

  7. damien says:

    “Increase my net worth to $115,000”

    hang on, the first 100K are hard to reach (felt like forever to me), then the snow ball effect comes in and you will see your net worth increasing faster and faster.

  8. Thalisa says:

    Who are you?! I found this site by luck and I fell in love with you. I’ve never seen such a detailed plan for goals. Im feeling bad now :s with my 2 petty ones…
    Im eager to read you more!

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