Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2014 Annual Goals: Q1 Review

I saw on Twitter that someone had posted that they were late with their quarterly review of their annual goals, and I started to panic because truthfully, I haven’ t really thought about my annual goals much over the past month. But now that I’m working full-time again and chugging away with my freelance income, I can refocus on what I had wanted to accomplish this year. Maybe the 6 weeks off is going to affect a lot of my financial goals, but I’m okay with that because I think I’m in a better place than I was when the year started.

This year has been going by pretty quickly, but I couldn’t be any happier. I feel positive about the future, and I love seeing my friends and family achieving their goals as well. I’m excited about what the rest of the year has to offer because I have a sense of freedom. Freedom in having a job that’s so generous and flexible with taking time off, and freedom because I’m (trying) not to stress about money every day anymore.

Anyway, onto the review of my goals…


  • Stay debt-free (aside from my mortgage). ON TRACK! This is a pretty obvious goal, but it needs to be said. The number one goal is always to stay debt-free. :)
  • Increase my income by 10%. NEEDS WORK. Losing work for 6 weeks in Q1 has definitely hurt this goal. But, I have much more earning potential at this new job, and I’ve already taken on some fun freelance projects, 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 but I’m going to try to increase all of my automated savings to try to make up the difference.
  • Buy stocks. ON TRACK! I’ve already put $600+ into my Questrade account this year. I’m never going to be big into stocks, but it’s fun to learn and play around with it.
  • Save at least $750/month into my RRSP/TFSA. ON TRACK. I’m giving myself a pass here because I was doing this until I got laid off – 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.
  • 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 now, I can go anywhere. Still thinking Europe, because I’m planning this trip with BF, and he hasn’t seen much of Europe before. We’ve tossed around a bunch of different itineraries, but haven’t settled on anything yet except for the timeframe – likely in late September for 2-3 weeks. Originally I was thinking it would cost less than $2,000 because work would pay for my flight to Europe… but now I’m thinking it might cost upwards of $4,000 because of the added cost of the flight, and the potential change from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. If 3 weeks is the case, then I’ll use the $$ in my long-term travel fund to help with the additional cost. :)
  • 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 haven’t really gotten back on track since that run. I’ve been nursing a foot injury for a couple of months, but 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 haven’t really been into reading the past couple of months, even though I have a huge pile of books just begging to be read. I actually think it’s because I don’t spend much time alone these days. But I just need to get into the habit of reading a little bit before bed each night. Traveling helps too, and when we go to Vegas this month I’ll get to catch up on some reading while in the air. :)
  • Spend less than $1,000 on clothing/shoes. ON TRACK. Well, surprisingly I’ve only spent $38.22 on clothes this year – and they were on nylons. I don’t know why I insist on buying nylons since I’m so clumsy and end up ruining them before the day is over. :| And they’re so expensive! But I do know I need to update my work wardrobe since the place I work at now is a bit fancier than my last job.
  • 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. BF is a meat eater though, so sometimes it can get a bit tricky. And I do find that I need to eat a lot more to stay full.
  • Tackle three household projects. NEEDS WORK. Well, I’ve done none of these things. The closest I’ve gotten is discussing painting my bedroom with BF, who said it would be an easy job and we could get it done in a day. It’s not that I haven’t thought about refinishing my cabinets or getting blinds installed, it’s just that I keep flip flopping about what I want to do with my home in the long-term. If I want to sell in a year or two, then there’s no point in putting in that money, because I won’t get it back at all. But if I plan on staying long-term, or if they change the complex rules to allow for rentals, then I would definitely get going with these projects. So I’m going to give it until the end of Q2 to see if I can make any progress in my decision.


  • Research project management programs. ON TRACK. I’ve looked into project management and marketing management certifications through BCIT. They’re something that I’m interested in doing for sure. Originally I didn’t think I needed to do anything to advance my career, but over the past few weeks I’ve gotten a clearer picture of where I want to be in 5-10 years, and I know I’ll be better off with more education.
  • 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. ON TRACK. I was published once this quarter, but I don’t have anything lined up for the next 3 months so I should start thinking and pitching some ideas. :) I also got back to doing some media interviews – once for MoneySense Magazine, and one for a podcast.

Spending Recap: March 24-30, 2014

Daffodils were handed out at work

Monday 24th
+ $750 freelance income
$5 Purdy’s Chocolates

Tuesday 25th
$37.68 groceries

Wednesday 26th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 27th
+ $150.06 freelance income
$15 beers

Friday 28th
No Spend Day!

Saturday 29th
No Spend Day!

Sunday 30th
$23.46 lunch
$38.22 The Bay
$6.79 snacks

Freelance Income: + $900.06
Expenses- $126.15

TOTAL: + $773.91

This was an exciting week for me. I started my new job, and have settled nicely into a routine. One of my goals is to bring my lunch to work as often as possible (in April, every day), and I’m happy to report that this week was a success!

Thursday evening I met up with some co-workers at my old job. It was really good seeing them again, and it reminded me of why I liked my old job so much – the people there really made it for me. I miss my weekly runs with them, going for lunch on Fridays, and just hanging out. Hopefully we can see each other on a somewhat regular basis. :)

Over the weekend, BF and I decided to spend Saturday in Point Roberts. We visited four parks, had lunch, and then drove back home. It was nice and relaxing, and it was decided that we’d go back again in the summer, when it wasn’t cold and rainy. I was also shocked at how many homes were for sale in that small area (and how cheap and beautiful they were) which led me to start thinking about what kind of jobs there were for people, and if they commuted to Canada for work, or even to Washington State?

Sunday we went for brunch with BF’s friends and their children. Then, we wandered around downtown for a while, played a bit of pool, and then went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Has anyone else seen that movie before? I’ve never been a big Wes Anderson fan, but I really liked this one.

Anyway, that was last week’s spending recap. How did you do?

March 2014 Goals: Recap

03 - March Recap

This was a month of split personalities. I was extremely frugal for the first half of the month while I was unemployed – and then once I signed the job offer, I made a conscious decision to revert back to my regular spending habits. I do feel a bit bad for abandoning this month’s budget, but at the same time I don’t regret making the most of my time off. It’s not often that you get a break from work like that, so it was nice just to be social and celebrate a new chapter of my career. :)

That being said, two of the main reasons why I went over budget – in the Car/Transportation category, as well as Miscellaneous – were virtually unavoidable.

03 - March Recap

Over Budget:

  • Food – We hosted three get togethers this month, so I’m actually pleased I didn’t go over budget by even more. This includes snacks, ingredients for dinners, and alcohol.
  • Entertainment – There’s no excuse for this one. As soon as I got the job, I reverted back to my normal spending habits.
  • Clothing – I spent a small fortune on buying nylons for work. This was the cost of 5 pairs.
  • Car & Transportation – I would have been under budget had we not bought a 12-month parking pass in a lot near BF’s building. We split the cost, so my share was $125. This is a bargain considering it costs $10+ to park in the lot every day, and street parking doesn’t exist in his neighbourhood (it’s all permit-only).
  • Miscellaneous – Again, I would have been under budget if I didn’t have to renew my passport. But, the passports in Canada are valid for 10 years now, so I’m pretty happy about that. Looking forward to filling up my new passport with stamps. :)

Net Worth Change: + $764 (0.79%)

Well, I wasn’t working this month, so I consider this a success. My net worth increase is due to my regular mortgage payments, and the stocks in my TFSA plugging away in the upward direction.

March 2014 Goals:

  • Read 2 books. FAIL. I started two, and am still plugging away at them.
  • Try two new recipes. CHECK! I made a baked pasta, as well as experimented with a few different salads.
  • Stay on budget in Portland. CHECK! Although I must admit, I think BF was pretty generous in how he spent his money on this trip. He paid for the hotel while we were there (2 nights), as well as a few other things around town.
  • Do my taxes. FAIL. I did the preliminary run of my taxes, and have organized my receipts, but I haven’t actually filed yet.
  • Focus on my foot. CHECK! This was a really difficult task. All I want to do is go running and be active. Especially when it’s beautiful and sunny outside… but I know that if I don’t take care of myself, I’m going to regret it. I haven’t run on my foot in about 2 months (although I was playing field hockey on it for a while), and it hasn’t gotten better. So when my doctor said my foot pain was as a result of getting older, at first I was insulted, but maybe he was actually right. Maybe I’m just old now. Dammit.

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