A little late with this review, but better late than never, right? :) My main goals for this year were to plan out each week as best I can, prioritize the ‘stuff’ in my life, and re-focus on saving on the little things.
We are four months into the year, and to be honest I haven’t been doing a super good job of any of those things. Sure, I’m taking my lunch to work more often and I’m planning my life out a bit better, but I still miss my own personal deadlines, and I still feel like I never have enough time. I’m also mid-way through a huge purge of all my stuff. I attempted to sell a bunch of things online, so now everything I didn’t sell is going to get donated. But, it’s all currently sitting in boxes waiting to be sorted. Basically I’m not doing a great job with life right now, and I need to get back on track for Q2.
So below is how I’ve done so far with my actual goals. I’m really proud of myself for cutting out unnecessary spending on clothing though. I’ve made my current wardrobe work, and have lived with what I have. Once I finish getting rid of all my stuff, I’ll be better able to evaluate what I actually need/want to replace.
- Stay debt-free (aside from my mortgage). CHECK! I have no debt aside from my mortgage.
- Increase my income by 15%. PASS. My blog’s advertising revenue has been down, but I’ve almost doubled my freelance income in the first 4 months of 2015 compared to the same time frame in 2014. Combine that with my full-time income, and I’m currently about 14% ahead. Granted, I lost my job in Q1 of last year, but only ended up unemployed for 5 weeks (2 of which I got severance pay for, and 1 week I received EI).
- Save at least $800/month into my RRSP/TFSA. NEEDS WORK. I’ve been investing $600 into my RRSP every month, but the deposits into my TFSA have fluctuated between $100 and $150 every month. I need to work on this. My retirement goal has made me a bit anxious. I constantly question whether I’ll have enough money to retire early, because retiring later than “early” isn’t really an option. BF is a bit older than me and is expecting early retirement with a full pension. I want to continue growing my money as much as possible so that in the future, our lives are a bit more parallel in terms of timing.
- Stay on budget every month. NEEDS WORK. I haven’t been publishing my monthly budgets, and I need to get back on track with those.
- Limit Starbucks trips to 2x/month. FAIL. I’ve already failed at this.
- Bring lunch to work most days. PASS. I’ve done an okay job. Better than last year, but definitely haven’t been bringing my lunch in “most” days. This needs to improve, and once it does, it will make it at lot easier to hit that $200/month TFSA goal I have noted above.
- Shop for needs. CHECK! I have barely done any clothing shopping at all this year. In fact, the only thing I’ve purchased is a new pair of black boots after the ones I bought 6 years ago finally gave out.
- Go on one big trip. CHECK! My sister and I are headed to Cuba in just a couple of weeks. BF and I are also planning on going somewhere in the fall for 2 weeks. We had discussed an RV trip up north, or even something crazy like somewhere in South America or Asia. Also on the radar is a trip to Mexico with BF and his family in late November.
- Run in one half marathon. PASS. Field hockey season has ended, so I have just started training. I’d ideally like to race in August, but haven’t found anything that fits my schedule yet. If that fails, I’ll do the GoodLife Half Marathon again in Victoria. :)
- Read 20 books. PASS. I’m a little behind, but am sure to catch up while in Cuba. I have a huge list of books to read on GoodReads. Time to tackle them.
- Enroll in Business Management program. PASS. I did research into two programs that I’m interested in, and in my performance review at work earlier this year, we made it one of my goals to enroll in at least one class this year. So I’m pretty excited about that! :)
Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great holiday season. :) I’m coming off of a horrible battle with food poisoning, and I still don’t feel very good. But I’m happy to be getting back into some sort of routine.
2014 was an interesting year. Lots of ups and downs. I lost my job, but gained a new one. Lost touch with some friends, but gained new ones. I became vegetarian (after a year of pescetarian), started training for a marathon, and then got injured. Twice. I did a bit of traveling (but not enough – it’s never enough), started reading a lot more, and worked really hard on building relationships, bettering my headspace, and making myself more available – which meant less time working in front of my computer.
2015 will be about finding balance, and living with less. Right now, I don’t have much balance. I live most of the time at BF’s house, and as a result, my own house gets neglected. Stuff has piled up everywhere – stuff I don’t even need. Whenever I’m home, it’s a mad rush to get laundry done, go grocery shopping, and work on freelance stuff. Tasks get pushed aside, things get misplaced, lunches don’t get made, and sometimes it just gets too chaotic for me.
So I really want to focus on three things:
- Planning out each week as best I can.
- Start donating/selling/throwing away things I no longer use.
- Re-focus on saving on the little things.
Retirement has always been important to me, and 2015 is no different. It will continue to be a main priority, and hopefully if those 3 goals above work out, I’ll be able to throw more money towards my retirement than I have been in past years.
Here is a breakdown of what I hope to achieve in 2015:
- 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 15%. Last year my goal was to increase my income by 20%. But because I lost my job, I wasn’t able to achieve this goal. So I’m bringing it back for this year. I’d like to increase my overall income (full-time and part-time) by 15%. I think that this a bit of a stretch, but it’s still realistic.
- Save at least $800/month into my RRSP/TFSA. This is an increase of $50/month from last year. My RRSPs are in TD e-series funds, and my TFSAs are with Questrade. I’ll likely split up the money $600 into RRSP and $200 into TFSA. For those of you curious, I use a modified Global Couch Potato investment plan.
- Stay on budget every month. 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.
- Limit Starbucks trips to 2x/month. No need to explain. :)
- Bring lunch to work most days. My co-worker and I like to eat at a food truck most Fridays, and now that our department is expanding, I expect that we’ll want to do some team bonding. I want to bring my lunch to work most days, but I also don’t want to miss out on the small things.
- Shop for needs. I didn’t do a lot of shopping last year, but I did enough to make me feel like I need to make this a goal. I need to be more aware of what I actually need, instead of what I want.
- Go on one big trip. We’ve been talking about taking an RV trip up to Alaska/Yukon/NWT sometime this year. It would be a much cheaper trip than going overseas like we had originally planned. I’ve been up to Alaska on a cruise before, but driving seems way cooler. Plus, it works out because there are a couple of other trips that I’ll take this year as well – like two trips to Toronto, one to San Francisco, and then in November I’ll likely be headed to Mexico for a week. Plus there’ll be a small trip to Seattle (Blue Jays game!), and fingers crossed, Portland as well.
- Run in one half marathon. 2014 was an awful year for me. I got injured twice, and was forced to stop running in August. My goal last year was to run in 4 half marathon races, and I only completed one. This year, my goal is to just train for one. And since I learned my body can’t handle both field hockey and running at the same time, I’ll have to do all my training during the summer. This is provided my orthotics
- Read 20 books. I have a huge list of books to read on GoodReads. Time to tackle them.
- Enroll in Business Management program. I did a lot of research last year to figure out exactly how I’m going to take my career to the next level, and I came up with a part-time diploma program that I believe will help a lot. My one and only professional goal for 2015 is to enroll and start taking classes.
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:
- 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. :)
- 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 month. ON 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.
- 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.