Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2016 Annual Goals: Q1 Review

The first three months of 2016 have been stressful, but mostly good. No, they’ve been great, actually.

I don’t normally blog about the details of my personal life on this blog, but I cannot believe how much different my life looks now, than it did last spring. I’m in a relationship with someone I can see myself with, well, for a really long time … and our little laneway is really starting to feel like home. :)

I’m also starting to feel comfortable with the direction that my career is going. Usually I’m unhappy with some aspect of my career (not enough responsibilities, not getting paid enough, or fretting over not making enough freelance income), but my full-time job is enjoyable (I even got a raise this month!), and freelancing has been steady. And I do find it funny that since I decided to stop caring about how much money I’m bringing in, I’m set to earn more than I ever have before. 

Anyway, the main focus of this year is to feel strong both mentally and physically, and stay on top of my retirement contributions. I also want to create realistic budgets, and challenge myself to do more with the money that I make.


  • Stay debt-freeCHECK! I have not incurred any debt in the first quarter of this year.
  • Save at least 50% of my income. CHECK! This is a new goal I wanted to add as a target for the year, and for Q1 I’m averaging a savings rate of 65%.
  • Save at least $1,300/month into my RRSP/TFSA. CHECK! After my 3-month probation was over in February, I became eligible for employer contributions which increased my retirement savings to $775 bi-weekly, which means my total contributions come in at just under $1,700/month when you factor in the 26 pay periods.
  • Create realistic monthly budgets. CHECK! So far, so good. I haven’t stayed completely on budget, but I’ve been really diligent in tracking my monthly spending – and I think that’s more important. Everything feels a lot more organized this year, and that makes me happy.
  • Live one month with a bare-bones budget. PENDING. I haven’t decided when the best time to do this would be. There’s a month where RD will be gone for work, so I’m potentially considering that time frame. But it’s not really an accurate picture, because living one month with a bare-bones budget would require his buy-in and participation to make it real.
  • Spend less than $500 on clothing and shoes this yearCHECK! I’m on track so far, and haven’t purchased anything except for 2 pairs of TOMS. But, if I’m being really, really honest with myself, I’m not sure I’ll make this target.


  • Make my body strong. ONGOING. I’ve been working out an average of 3-4x/week and have noticed massive improvements in my climbing ability. When I stopped climbing 4+ years ago, I was at the 5.11a-b level – well just a few months into climbing and we are at around the 5.10d and 5.11a level. It feels good. Now that field hockey season is over, I’m going to have come up with a new fitness activity for a few months. If it’s not running, I may go back to spin class or head to the gym and do a bit of elliptical and weight training. At least until hiking season. :)
  • Go on a multi-day hiking trip. PENDING. We’ve had discussions about where we’d like to go hiking, and we are both interested in doing a multi-day hike on the Sunshine Coast Trail. But, I’m not sure if/when we can swing this trip in 2016 (ideally I’d love to do 4-5 days) … so we might have to squeeze in a long weekend hike sometime in the summer.
  • Bring lunch to work most days. PASS. I’m trying really hard at this, and it’s a definite improvement from the past, but I could be doing better.
  • Stop going to coffee shops. CHECK! I stopped going to Starbucks once they announced their new star rewards program. We make coffee every morning at home with a french press (and even take it traveling with us to save even more money).
  • Eat less dairy. FAIL. I haven’t really tried to cut back. We eat a lot of cheese at home … although we have substituted butter and milk at home for vegan substitutes on a permanent basis.
  • Read 12 books. PASS. According to GoodReads, I’m 1 book behind schedule. :)
  • Bring more creativity to my life. PENDING. I’m looking into pottery classes, as well as taking on more cooking and baking. I’m also going to start experimenting with brewing my own kombucha and trying out new flavour combinations. Oh, and I’ve also gone back to editing in Photoshop. I wanted to stay away from pixels, but forgot how much fun it is to mess around in that program.


  • Rebrand GMBMFB. PENDING. I’m currently trying to figure out what exactly I want, but I can’t nail it down. This will require more thinking, because I don’t want to spend the money if I’m just going to want to change things again a year later.
  • Go to three marketing conferences/seminars this year. PENDING. I’ve signed up for one seminar already through work, and have expressed my interest in going to more. This goal will be attainable.

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.


  1. You’re doing great. I am impressed that you’ve been able to give up Starbucks! I am vegetarian and have not been able to give up dairy either (I guess not motivated enough since I really like it).

  2. Money Beagle says:

    Good work. Sounds like you’ve got a good blend of goals and are doing a great job managing them.

  3. Ramona says:

    Ouch, it’s that time of the year already?

    You’ve done some great progress, let’s hope for a great year. Keep us posted and best of luck.

  4. Zeudi says:

    very good progress well done Krystal. Its good breaking up 3 months goal plans and reviewing them as the year goes by. Wish you well for 2016 and beyond please keep us informed eagerly awaiting for more juicy blog posts

  5. Ashly says:

    I’m curious how you’ll do with the clothing. I’d love to see if you experiment with shopping second hand or doing clothing swaps.

    Clothing is always where I struggle and I KNOW how to spend less but dammit, I like nice things. So I put myself in the position to buy way less and spend on quality and then I forget staples like underwear and bras and go over budget.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah there are some really great second hand stores around where I live! I tend not to shop second hand anymore because it’s quite time consuming, and a lot of pieces end up needing tailoring … which makes it almost (if not just) as expensive as buying new. I try to buy quality pieces that will last for years, but it’s hard on the budget.

  6. Kate says:

    Really great and inspiring goals!
    I was wondering if you could recommend some other Canadian personal finance blogs to follow?

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