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January 2013 Goals

This is going to be an interesting month. I’m hoping to keep my expenses low as I get settled into my new job.

I’ve also accounted for an increase to my mortgage payments, as well as car expenses (insurance and gas). I checked out the cost of a bus pass ($124 for 2 zones), but it’s just not worth it. For the same amount of money, I could drive and shorten my commute by 90 minutes each day. Maybe there’s a car pool at work, or better options that I haven’t thought of yet. But until then, I’ll be commuting by car. Now that I’m thinking about car expenses, it’s probably about time I get some car insurance quotes to make sure I’m getting the best deal for my money.

Other than that, this budget will likely be a work in progress over the next few months until I can find a good balance.

January 2013 Goals:

  • Run 50km outdoors. I’ve been running mainly in the gym, but I’m looking to return to outdoor running now that I’m back in Vancouver and have a park across the street from me.
  • Increase my mortgage payments. While in Germany, I reduced my mortgage payments down to the minimum. Now that I’m back, I’d like to increase it to what it used to be – accelerated bi-weekly, with an extra 20%. That works out to an extra $222 each month.
  • Get back on track with my Retirement Portfolio. I need to increase my savings rate, so I’ll be creating a plan over the next month or so. Right now I’m thinking of contributing $700 or $800 per month, divided between my TFSA and RRSP accounts.
  • Start contributing monthly to a charity. Self-explanatory!

December 2012 Goals

This is a weird month because half of it will be spent overseas, and half of it will be be spent back in Vancouver and visiting family. I’m looking forward to having more wiggle room in my budget since I don’t have to pay rent and a mortgage anymore. :)

December 2012 Goals:

  • Wrap up all invoices for 2012. I still have a few outstanding invoices that I haven’t been able to get from clients yet. I’m going to have to either collect that cash, or just note it as a loss.
  • Increase my net worth by $1,000. I’m looking for a final year-end boost, and I should hit that mark provided I don’t come across any unplanned expenses.
  • Increase savings into my Retirement Portfolio. I’m hoping to increase this by $100/month or more.
  • Organize my house. Nic is moving into my townhouse with me, so I’m going to have to make room and potentially sell some furniture (or put it in my storage room). He doesn’t have much stuff, except for a massive drafting table.
  • Work out 12 times. I plan on re-joining a couple of field hockey teams in January, and I seriously need to get into game-shape. Running is fine for endurance, but it’s not really going to do much for me in terms of skill and strength.
  • Research charities. I’ve been doing some reading in charities because I want to start contributing on a monthly basis. By the end of December, I want to know which one I want to donate to. I’m interested in clean water initiatives, sustainable housing solutions, and basic education in third world countries. Any suggestions?

Ongoing 2012 Goals:

  • Only post my own photos on GMBMFB. CHECK!
  • Write one post for another blog or website.

November 2012 Goals: Recap

Well, expenses this month were well under what I had originally predicted. That was due to the fact that we canceled our trip to Zurich. I think that was the right thing to do because we’ve already been to Switzerland, and we got to explore more of Stuttgart before we leave.

Over Budget:

  • Food – Starbucks Germany finished their €1,50 latte promotion, so I was back to paying normal prices every day.
  • Car & Transportation – We took public transit a few times to see some touristy things in the suburbs of Stuttgart.

Net Worth Change: + $475 (0.64%)

I was really looking forward to a potential $1,000+ increase this month, but with the timing of my invoices, it just didn’t work out. Oh well!

November 2012 Goals:

  • Mail off two boxes. CHECK! Well, sort of. I mailed one box off, and the other box is packed and ready to go – I just haven’t gotten it to the post office yet.
  • Book Iceland tours. CHECK! For less than $150, I booked a round trip shuttle bus from the airport, a Northern Lights tour, Golden Circle half day tour, as well as a trip to the Blue Lagoon. Maybe I could have saved money by renting a car, but 1) my driver’s license has expired, 2) I’d be scared of driving in Iceland by myself, and 3) I think having a guide will be beneficial for me. I want to learn while I’m there too. Plus, I will likely never go back to Iceland.
  • Increase my net worth by $1,000. FAIL. Well, I technically have $2,000 just floating out there – but there was a misprint on one of the cheques, and one client has postponed paying me due to budget issues. I’m not happy about it, but that’s the life of a freelancer I guess.

Ongoing 2012 Goals:

  • Only post my own photos on GMBMFB. CHECK!
  • Write one post for another blog or website. CHECK! Well, technically I wrote the posts for the Toronto Star. I submitted 2 additional articles that went straight to print (one of which ended up as the lead article in the business section that day!). Maybe not a huge deal to other freelancers, but I was pretty thrilled.

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