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Spending Recap: December 16-22, 2013

Monday 16th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 17th
$6.78 lunch
$20 dinner

Wednesday 18th
$12 shipping
$19.78 gas

Thursday 19th
+ $78.98 eBay sale
+ $520.06 freelance income
$12.67 groceries

Friday 20th
No Spend Day!

Saturday 21st
No Spend Day!

Sunday 22nd
$35.79 groceries

Freelance Income: + $520.06 (+ $78.98)
Expenses- $107.02

TOTAL: + $492.02

Happy Boxing Day to all my Canadian friends out there. :)

Last week was a pretty low-key week for spending. We celebrated BF’s birthday on Friday night. I told him to choose a restaurant, but instead he requested a home cooked meal. So instead of spending $50-60 on a meal out, I spent less than $15 making vegetarian curry – with enough left overs for 6 more servings. :)

It was a good week for bringing in extra money. I got paid out for some freelance work, and I was able to sell a shirt on eBay. I’ve also made a pile of clothes that I plan on photographing and selling on eBay over the next few months. It likely won’t bring in a ton of money, but it’s better than nothing.

How was your week of spending?


Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family lots of love and happiness today. :)


2013 Annual Goals: Recap

Well, 2013 has been a weird year for me. It was an emotional year, and in many ways I didn’t think I’d be where I am today. I never thought I would spend the majority of the year single, and I didn’t think I’d ever see myself in this line of work. But I consider myself to be pretty fortunate to have found a great job immediately after coming back from Germany. That provided me the stability I needed after an up-and-down year as a freelancer in 2012. I got to travel internationally, made new friends, took up running, ended a relationship, had a bunch of ridiculous dating adventures (I swear I could start up a second blog just based on dating stories!), started a new relationship, and have a more focused mindset going into 2014.

I also learned a lot about work-life balance this year. I miss the income I was generating when I was working 60-70 hours/week, but having an extra 10-20 hours each week to do the things that make my life fulfilling is worth the extra money I would have earned. And honestly, my income hasn’t dropped that much. I am working smarter, not harder, and that’s been paying off. Plus, my personal relationships have improved tremendously, and I feel really grateful for everyone in my life right now.

This has also been a year of fitness for me. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m also more fit than I’ve been in years. Being able to run 20+ km without getting super tired? That’s a pretty great feeling. Running in races is something I’m really enjoying, and I hope to continue that into 2014. My immediate goal is a few more half marathons, then a marathon, and then… who knows. I’m fascinated with ultra marathons, but I realize how selfish they can be. Aside from running, field hockey is something I have always been passionate about. And this season has been the first time in many, many years that I can feel myself getting better. It’s been frustrating to play, knowing exactly what I need to do, but physically (or psychologically) not being able to do it. Because of my increased fitness level, and the coaching I’ve been getting this year, I wonder if I can recover more skills that I’ve lost over the years. :)

I’m a little sad that 2013 went by so quickly. I’m not quite ready to let the year go yet, so I guess it’s a good thing there are still a few days left. :) I really am looking forward to everything that 2014 represents, and I want to prove to myself that I have what it takes to become better.

Anyway, here is how I did this year with my goals:


  • Earn $85,000 to $90,000FAIL. This was a stretch for me, and I failed because I didn’t have a plan to get me to this goal. I just threw out an arbitrary salary range, and hoped that I would get there. Not the way to achieve a goal, Krystal. I ended up making approximately $77,000 this year – which is good, but pretty far off the mark of where I wanted to be. Still, to be honest, I’m pleased.
  • Put an extra $2,500 onto the mortgageCHECK! I ended up putting just over $2,600 extra onto my mortgage.
  • Save $16,000 in my Retirement PortfolioFAIL. I just increased my auto deductions, and am looking to ramp them up again for next year… but because I was so far off my income target, this was the one category that suffered. I ended up saving about $7,500.
  • Diversify my investmentsCHECK! I put about $1,300 into my Questrade account.
  • Start contributing to charityCHECK! I’ve decided to contribute monthly to WaterCan.


  • Run in a half marathon and two 10km races. CHECK! I ran in two 10km races, and two half marathons. My best times were 49:59 for the 10km, and 1:53:52 for the half marathon. I’m looking forward to improving on those times in 2014.
  • Take a French language classFAIL. Since Nic and I broke up, I became less interested in learning French. But that being said, I do still think it’s a valuable skill to have – especially in the industry that I’m in. There are so many jobs that require a second language. Maybe French isn’t the language I should be learning, but I think it’s something I’m going to have to put some real effort into.


  • Invest in a grown-up wardrobeCHECK! About half way through the year, I ended up calculating how much I had already spent on my wardrobe. It was a shocking amount, and I actually ended up spending a grand total of $1,854.13. But that includes a suit, bridesmaid dress (including shoes and alterations), a couple of pairs of running shoes, running gear, and a significant upgrade to my professional wardrobe. I’m satisfied with how much I’ve spent, and that I got the best deals possible on good quality clothing.
  • Read 6 marketing books. PASS. Okay, technically I only read two books. But I watched a TON of marketing and business documentaries, so that has to count for something, right? Right. So I’m giving myself a pass.
  • Scale back my freelancingCHECK! I love how one of my goals for this year was to do less. :) Near the end of the year, I realized I needed to step up my game and get back into freelancing, and I think I’ve come to a healthy balance.

So, there you have it. My 2013 goals. Any questions? Comments?

Happy Holidays!

Luxuries vs. Necessities: GMBMFB Poll Results

Last week I bought my first television in two years, and that prompted me to write a post about luxuries vs. necessities. In that post, I cited a 2009 survey that polled over 1,000 Americans and asked what consumer goods they considered to be a luxury, and which they considered a necessity. The results were interesting, and I wanted to see if they have changed over the last 4 years so I conducted my own informal poll here at GMBMFB.

Just to recap, here are the results from the 2009 survey:


From the GMBMFB poll (338 participants to date), here are our results:


It’s interesting to see that the top 3 things we value in 2013 weren’t necessarily considered necessities just four years ago. A cell phone is now considered to be a necessity at 80%, whereas in 2009 a cell phone was only at 49%. Granted, I think that has a lot to do with people canceling their landline phones and moving over to something more mobile.

I would completely agree with the top 4 things on the GMBMFB poll: like I mentioned in the last post, all of these items are luxuries… but the top things on my list are a cell phone, high-speed internet, and a home computer. Having a car and a clothes dryer is also pretty nice, but I’ve lived without those things before. I’ve never had air conditioning, and rarely use my microwave or my dishwasher. I don’t own an iPad/tablet, cable TV, or a landline.

Do any of the results from the GMBMFB poll surprise you? Or were they exactly what you expected?

What does retirement mean to you?

Early retirement has always been my biggest financial goal. I talk about it all the time on this blog: I want to retire by the time I’m in my mid 50′s. But what does “retire” actually mean?

My dad retired this year at age 65. He had wanted to retire earlier, but since he didn’t have a pension with the company he worked for, he had to wait and save. As for my mom, she’s got a nice government pension waiting for her when she retires – likely while she’s still in her 50′s. She worked at the government for almost her entire career, and as I look back at the first 8 years of my career, I haven’t had that kind of stability at all. And without a company pension to look forward to in 25 years, the cost of early retirement stresses me out a bit.

When I do my retirement calculations, I don’t include CPP or OAS payments, because I’m not sure I can rely on that money being there for me 35 years from now. But that being said, the average combined annual payout from CPP and OAS is currently $12,528 and the maximum annual payout is $18,372. So if that money is still there when I retire, it will be a significant amount of cash coming in that I haven’t been planning for. Wouldn’t that be nice?

So when I think about retirement, what does that actually look like for me? Retirement to me means having the freedom to do whatever I want to do, without the obligation to work for a living. I guess you could call it financial independence, rather than retirement. I know myself pretty well, and I know that I likely won’t stop working completely when I retire. But I’d like that option, if that’s what I want to do. Maybe some people wouldn’t consider that actually retiring. But retirement can mean different things to different people. Maybe I’ll volunteer. Maybe I’ll travel (I’ll definitely travel). Maybe I’ll become a landlord, or work part-time in a coffee shop, or maybe I’ll still be earning an income through this blog. Who knows what I’ll be up to! But whatever it is, it’ll be my choice, and it won’t be based on the need to bring in an income. Freedom.

Related: Why 20-somethings might have trouble retiring by 65

I’m 31 right now. I envision retiring back in my hometown, with a modest home by the ocean. But, a lot can happen in the next 25 years. I may have this exact lifestyle for the rest of my life, or maybe marriage and kids are in my future. Maybe my retirement will look completely different than what I’m thinking of. So while I have very little financial obligation right now in my life, it only makes sense to try and save as much as possible in case I’m not able to later on in life. Kids are expensive. Emergencies will happen. Health will deteriorate. I want to work hard now while I’m young(ish) and able-bodied, because when I’m older I know I’d rather be doing anything instead of working for a pay cheque and worrying about money. :)

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my 2014 goals, and since early retirement is still a priority for me, you’ll see that reflected in what I have planned for next year.

What does retirement mean to you? At what age are you looking to retire?