Category Archives: Goals

Entertaining the Thought of a Rental Property

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A lot of PF bloggers out there either already own rental property, or are looking to invest in a rental property.  Owning a rental property has been something that I’ve always considered.

Background

Back about 5 years ago, when I was still a student, I befriended my land lady, and she advised me to own real estate as soon as I was able to afford it.  She also offered to share her experience and help me out with getting started.

A month after I started my full-time job, we got together for dinner and I raided her brain on what I needed to know to get into the rental market.  I walked away from our conversation excited and scared stiff.  At that moment, I really wasn’t ready to take the risk that came with owning a rental property and the real estate market.

But I also came away with it knowing that in order to make anything happen, I needed to save money.

My PF Journey So Far

Shortly after my meeting with my land lady, I started to think more about where I wanted to be financially.  Even if I couldn’t get into the real estate market, I wanted to figure out my finances.

I paid off my student loans, and started to read PF blogs.  I learned about investing and what an RRSP and TFSA were and maxed out my company match every single year. I learned to track my expenses (using this awesome tool!) and started my own PF blog to share my journey and keep me on track to financial freedom.

Why I am Thinking About a Rental Property

I’ve spoke with quite a few individuals who currently own rental property. I asked them about how they do it, what they look for, and I’ve had pretty positive feedback.   These are individuals who do their research and take a calculated risk when they think it’s worth it. It seems very do-able.

As you know from my monthly budget recaps, I spend very little money on rent, every month.  Especially for living near the city!  I try to have a bit of fun, but also funnel extra money into my investment and savings.  It took me  a while to get comfortable with buying RRSP, and TFSA for my investment portfolio.  I was so scared that I would lose all my money!

With a rental property, I’d approach it the same way.  Similar to how I approached my investment portfolio, I want to do my research first, so I can make a decision that is within my risk tolerance and comfort level.

What are your thoughts on investing in rental property real estate?  Do you have any experience owning any rental property?

Cheers,

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9 Comments

Filed under Finance, Goals

March 2012 Budget and Goals

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March Budget

I am hoping that my goals and budget are more realistic for March.  I find that I often try to set too many goals, and then I can get a bit bummed out when I don’t reach them all.

So, this month, I am going to prioritize my 3 most important goals.

March Goals

  • Study for Professional licensing exam – Make a study schedule and stick to it.  I don’t want to write this exam twice!
  • Pitch for screening “Miss-Representation” documentary – Includes writing a business case/proposal letter to get support to get out this important message.
  • Finalize Resume – Incorperate suggestions from peer review and create a LinkedIn profile

On-going Goals

  • Bring my lunch (and include fruits!) to work – Not only does this save me money, it is also much healthier.
  • Offline by 9:30pm – 10:oopm – I need to spend time away from the computer and read/unwind/chill-out before I go to sleep.
  • Read 1 book a month – Finish reading Jean Chretien’s “My Years as Prime Minister”.

Readers, what do you have planned for March?

Cheers,

15 Comments

Filed under Goals

February 2012 Budget and Goals

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February Budget

Better late than never right?  Seeing that I already dropped $500 bucks this weekend.  Eeeeks!  Can I make it through the rest of February?

February Goals

  • Update my resume – I haven’t done this since I graduated. It is long overdue.
  • Prepare to file my income taxes – This includes making sure my RRSP contributions are topped up and printing out my charitable donation receipts.
  • Re-balance my Portfolio – I need to figure out my current asset allocation first, and then start buying some e-series fund to re-balance my portfolio.  Hopefully my TD e-series RSP is set up soon.
  • Make my shopping list– I need a section for home, clothes and make-up.  I really need to focus and differentiate what my reasonable wants and wish list items are.
  • No buying make-up– In particular, no more lipstick for me.  I do have 6 compacts I can trade into MAC for a free eyeshadow or lipstick.
  • Walk for 30 minutes, 3 days a week – I really need to start moving around and being more active.  This is a pretty painless way to start.  I really enjoy walks 🙂
  • Get my credit report – I’ve never checked my credit report or credit score.  I know, it’s bad.  But I’m going to do it this month.

On-going Goals

  • $0 Budget – Tally both expenses and savings at the end of the month then allocate the “extra” to something.
  • Eat Fruits – Incorperate more fruits in my diet.  At least once a day.
  • Bring my lunch to work – Not only does this save me money, it is also much healthier.
  • Offline by 9:30pm – 10:oopm – I need to spend time away from the computer and read/unwind/chill-out before I go to sleep.
  • Read 1 book a month – I started reading Jean Chretien’s “My Years as Prime Minister”.  I’m really enjoying it and BF and I sometimes read it together.

Readers, what do you have planned for February?

PS.  Have you joined in on the discussion on my post: Should I Buy Chanel?  I’d love to hear your opinion. 🙂

Cheers,

7 Comments

Filed under Goals

2012 Goals

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I know that January is practically over, but I wanted to still post up my goals. I have been a pretty good goal setter and a pretty bad mediocre goal-tracker. I will be working on this in 2012! I’ve been so inspired seeing bloggers like Krystal set her annual goals and monthly goals, and then does regular check ins to see how she is doing.

I am a huge believer in setting ambitious goals. Who cares if sometimes they are a bit crazy, right? Being the over-achiever that I am, it’s sometimes hard to accept that I (gasp!) fail, too. But, I also realize that it is only by failing a few times that I learn.

Besides, isn’t it better to aim for the moon and land on a star, than to aim for the trees and land on the ground? That’s what my grade 10 math teacher told me.

This year, I am going to set my annual goals here. Then, I am going to set monthly goals. My monthly goals will usually be baby steps to get me on track to meeting my annual goals, but they can also be something different.

Here we go! 😉

Life

Sometimes, I really struggle with balancing work with my personal life. I have been doing a better job of this in 2011, but there is always room for improvement.

Even though my job is important, the people in my life are more important. They are who I call when I have great news to share, and they are the ones I count on for support when things mess up. So, it only make sense to make time for them and prioritize them into my life.

  • Friends: See my girlfriends once a month for dinner or spa date to catch up and unwind. I really tried to do this in 2011, and I really enjoyed it. Will also put it on the list for this year.
  • Family: See my parents every other weekend. Call my parents at least once a week. This is also a carry over from last year.

Finance

I see money as a tool to reaching my life goals. Money does not happiness, but it can be a tool to reach my goals and find happiness. For me, spending time with loved ones, good health, lifelong learning, traveling, and owning a home are long term goals I want to achieve by using money as a tool.

This year, I want to be realistic and set goals that are simple and measurable.

  • Net worth of $115,000
    This goal assumes a 7% growth in my assets and how much I hope to save in 2012.
  • Make more money – 10% raise and find a side hustle
    Last year, I got a 6.75% raise and I was aiming for a 10% raise. I learned a powerful lesson in negotiation, standing up for myself and knowing my worth.  I’m going to put that lesson into practice this year, again.
  • Streamline my RRSPs: Move to TD E-series
    I have my RRSPs in mutual funds (mostly index funds) in Manulife and ING. Since both these companies charge a higher fee than TD e-series, I will be moving my funds to save on fees.
  • Investing money: 3 Dividend Paying Stocks in my TFSA
    This is carried over from last year. I have most of my investments in Index Funds, and few stocks. I’d like to start investing in dividend paying stocks. I’d also like to learn how the tax benefits work for dividend income, since I may also be investing outside my TFSA and RRSP.
  • Saving money: Save >60% of my net income
    Last year, I saved 53% of my net income, so I think this is totally do-able.
  • Make a Shopping List and Sticking to It
    Although I have come a long way from my impulse buying days, I want to take my planned purchases to the next level. I will only save and buy things from my Shopping List.
  • Budget: $0 Budget and Track Monthly Expenses
    Last year, I tracked all my expenses and it was a pretty exhilarating feeling. However, I only looked at the “savings” portion at the end of the year, since I automated most of my savings.  This year, I am going to make it a $0 goal. Which means that I also must account for all savings and any “left over” money at the end of the month.

Career and Personal Development

Most of these were on my list last year and the year prior (how embarrassing). But they were good goals, so I am going to keep them.

  • Professional Engineer License: I need to contact my previous employers regarding proof of previous work experience towards my license. I need to register by January so that I can write the exam in April. My friends have the study materials and I need to at least 3 weekends worth of studying to this. Must find out schedule of test and arrange accordingly.
  • Update my Resume: I have not even touched my resume since I graduated more than 3 years ago! It’s time to un-bury my head and smarten up.
  • Research the Job Market: I need to be aware of the job market and make sure that I am compensated fairly. I also want to know what opportunities are out there.
  • Canadian Securities Course (maybe): This course covers basics that will help me in my understanding of personal finance on a larger scale, and help in graduate school program applications where a business background is an asset. My BF has the study materials. Must find out schedule of the tests and arrange accordingly.
  • GMAT Test (maybe): Many schools and programs require GMAT scores for applications and entrance. I haven’t decided that I want to pursue graduate studies, at the moment. I first want to explore other jobs in my field before making such a drastic change.

Health:

I am not a huge exercise fanatic, although I do really enjoy playing volleyball and swimming. However, I really love the rush that exercising brings, so I want more of that! 🙂

I set a huge goal in 2010 to fun in a half marathon (that’s 21.1km or 13 miles), and then in May 2009, I accomplished it in 2h 30 minutes. I haven’t ran since. I learned that I didn’t really like running all that much. 10km is enjoyable but 21km is torture no fun for me. So, the key to staying on any exercise regime is to do something I enjoy.

I have also been eating much better in 2011 by cutting out processed foods and making almost all my meals from scratch. Simple things like soaking my own beans really puts me in control of how much sodium goes into my food. I’d like to continue this in 2012.

  • Fitness: Exercise 2-3 times a week in the mornings. I find exercise most efficient in the mornings, and gives me more energy all day. This was carried over from last year.
  • Food- Fruits: Incorporate fruit at least once a day in my meals. I find that if it’s there, I eat it. If I wonder if it’s too old, I won’t eat it. The key is to make sure I see it and eat it 🙂
  • Offline Time: Must be off the computer by 9:30pm to 10:00pm. This is so that I can unwind a bit before bed, read a bit and get up early for exercise!

Just for FUN:

I set a lot of serious goals above, but it’s also important for me to just have fun goals. Goals that will make me laugh and bring out the creative side of me. 🙂

  • Travel: I want to take a 2-week long trip with BF somewhere this year. I also want to go camping (I really missed it last year!), and visit my friend in Montreal.
  • Read one book a month: I have forgotten how great it feels to finish a book which is pretty sad. I was quite the book worm back in the day! This should be pretty achievable.
  • More Volleyball: Organize a volleyball weekend once a month with friends. Every time I do one of these, I always feel so good about it afterwards! Great friends just hanging out and having fun.
  • Remix my wardrobe: I have been having so much fun mixing up my wardrobe with accessories. And I have so many stylish and beautiful ladies to draw my inspiration from!
  • Play with Make-up: I’ve been a pretty basic make-up girl most of my life, but lately, I’ve been discovering how fun (and addicting) make-up can be.
  • Wear bold red lipstick AND own it. Arianne, this one was inspired by you!  I think this goal is a combination of being confident in my own skin and not afraid to show it. Which is pretty huge, being the shy person I am.

How are you goals for 2012 coming along? Am I the last one to write them down?

Cheers,

11 Comments

Filed under Finance, Goals, Personal, Shopping Ban

2011 Goals Recap

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This will be the second that I wrote down my goals and was able to find them at the end of the year to review how I did.  Thank you, internet. 🙂

Even though I set goals in 2011, I haven’t been checking in and making sure that I am on track to achieving them.  In fact, I set my goals in January 2011, kinda checked in half-way through and then searched for my goals to see how I did (today).  This is sure way of setting up my goals for failure.

Having seen so many bloggers set goals and then do monthly check-ins, has really inspired me to do the same.  I find that I set great goals at the beginning of the new year because it is full of possibilities.  Sometimes, I can get carried away with this sense of potential that I set too many ambitious goals – which is okay.  I love being ambitious.

The problem is that I don’t check if I am on track throughout the year, then I kinda avoid it after a few months have passed when I know that I’ve missed a few things.  I had “failing” so I kinda ignore it and I hope for the best when I get to the end of the year.  Pretty silly.

What I need to do is re-visit my goals on a regular basis (Krystal does an amazing job at this!) and make sure I am on track, or if there is something I need to change/adjust my goal to make it more realistic.

As mentioned in my 2011 Goal post, I really liked the S-M-A-R-T acronym for goals I read from Young and Thrifty’s blog.  Simplify.  Measurable.  Attainable.  Realistic.  Timely.

Now onto my embarrassing 2011 goal recap.

Personal Finance

I see money as a tool to reaching my life goals.  Money does not bring me happiness, but it is a tool to find happiness.  For me, traveling, lifelong education, owning a home and financial freedom are long term goals I want to achieve by using money.  But this year, I’d like to accomplish the following.

  • Making more money: I am aiming to get a 10% raise this year, and would like to boost my annual income to gross $60,000.  So far, I do not have any side income.  I’d like to explore possibilities and opportunities for a side hustle.
    PASS– I got a 6.75% raise including RRSP matching from my employer.  Last year, I got a 6.75% raise and I was aiming for a 10% raise.  When I discussed this with my manager, I expressed that I thought a 7-9% raise was fair, based on my contribution to the team and my research.

    It didn’t change my salary, but now he knows that I value myself more than he does.  I think the more important lesson here I learned was that I can and need to stand up for myself.I have not looked into any side hustle gigs.

  • Investing money: I have most of my investments in Index Funds, and few stocks.  I’d like to start investing in dividend paying stocks.  I’d also like to learn how the tax benefits work for dividend income.
    FAIL – I have not invested in any new stocks this year.  This will have to move to 2012 goals.
  • Saving money: I am still aiming to save at least 50% of my income.  Savings include contribution to my RRSP’s, TFSA, Emergency Fund, Travel, General Savings, and Investments.
    CHECK!! – My expenses totaled ~$26,278 (eeks!) but my savings totaled $29,950 (53%). Yippee!
  • Shopping ban 2011: In short, no shopping for clothes, jewelery or new make-up this year.  I have allowed myself 3 freebies of planned purchases.  More details to follow in a separate post.
    FAIL – I broke my ban in September after going strong for 9 straight months.  I think something like a Shopping Detox (a la Annabelle) would work better for me. More on this in 2012 goals.
  • $1,000 monthly budget: I will track my expenses every month and aim to stick to my monthly budget of $1,000.
    FAIL – I think I reached my $1,000 budget once in 2011. It’s not super realistic.

Personal Development

This may seem lengthy, but they were on my list last year, and I haven’t accomplished them.  I really think this is doable, I just need to be organized.  Will be sharing my schedule once I get this all written down on a calender.

  • Professional Engineer License: I need to contact my previous employers regarding proof of previous work experience towards my license.  I also need to study and write the test.  My friends have the study materials and I need to devote 1 week worth of studying to this. Must find out schedule of test and arrange accordingly.
    FAIL – Applying in January 2012 and writing test in April 2012.
  • Canadian Securities Course: This course covers basics that will help me in my understanding of personal finance on a larger scale, and help in graduate school program applications where a business background is an asset.  My BF has the study materials.  Must find out schedule of the tests and arrange accordingly.
    FAIL – Have not done this.  Might still want to… I kinda forgot about this goal.  Oops.
  • GMAT Test: I want to apply to a  Masters in Public Administration or Public Policy.   Many schools and programs require GMAT scores for applications and entrance.  I need to write the GMAT this year before the test format changes.  I have study materials from friends, as well as practice tests.
    FAIL – I haven’t really decided on going back to school yet, and so I haven’t written the test.
  • Graduate School Application: I want to apply to programs in the 2012 school year.  Must check deadlines and pre-requisites and start preparing.
    FAIL – I’ve decided to that going back to school might be more than I want to commit to right now.  I may just try looking for another job in the industry, first.

Minimalism

Minimalism is about more than just de-cluttering, it’s about adopting the mindset that I have enough.  In fact, I have way more than enough.  I am not aiming to get to a certain number of items, but I am aiming to rid myself of excess stuff I do not need.

  • 500 Things Challenge: I was inspired by this challenge from Fabulissime.  I aim to de-clutter 500 things from my home and donate them to charity.  Depending on how this challenge goes, it may become the 1,000 Things Challenge.  More details to follow in  a separate post.
    PASS? – I have been decluttering all year, but I gave up trying to keep track of everything. I am always adding to my “donation” pile.
  • Document de-clutter: I want to de-clutter every room in my apartment and document what is in each room.  Explaining why I must keep something usually gives me a good idea of whether I really need it or not.
    FAIL – I have decluttered every room so far.  It is still a work in progress, but I completely forgot about wanting to document this.  Not sure if I want to… I am not a 100-item kinda gal! 😉
  • Remixing my Wardrobe: I want to re-discover my wardrobe and re-mix all my items.  Of course, this is an extension of my shopping ban.
    CHECK!! – I have cleaned out my closet and all my jewelry in organized it all.  I am putting together new outfits and am really looking forward to more remixing in 2012.

Life and Health:

  • Fitness: Exercise 2-3 times a week in the mornings.  I find exercise most efficient in the mornings, and gives me more energy all day.
    FAIL!!! I have only been playing volleyball once – twice a week.
  • Fruits: Incorporate fruit at least once a day in my meals.  I’m really bad with eating my fruits, so I’m getting a Magic Bullet to help me with it.  I’ve tried just bringing fruit to work.  It just sits on my desk.  Yummy smoothies scream  “drink me!”
    FAIL – I was good at this, end then fell off the bandwagon in halfway through the year.
  • Friends: See my girlfriends at least once a month for dinner or spa date to catch up and unwind.  Too often I get caught up with work that my personal life takes a back seat.  Here’s to making plans and keeping them!
    CHECK!! Of course, I would love to see my girls more, but I have made an effort to see them at least every 1 – 2 months.
  • Family: See my parents every other weekend.  Call my parents at least once a week.  Too often I take for granted that my parents know that I care and love them.  Just checking in with them once a week to see how they are doing is nice.  It also let’s me know how I can help them and what they need.
    PASS – I was very good with this until November (before our vacation together).  This will have to stay in my 2012 goals.
  • Travel: I want to take a 2-week long trip somewhere this year.  I’m not sure where, yet.  Possibilities are: Peru (Machi Piccu) & Chili or Greece.  I’ve taken several shorter trips in 2010 to Vancouver, Boston and Venezuela, but I miss the unwinding of a long trip.
    CHECK!! – I took 2 long trips this year. A 10-day trip to the East Coast of Canada and a 2-week trip with my family to Hong Kong.

Summary

I see a lot of reds and it is a bit of a bummer since I am usually an over achiever.  le sigh.

I think that I made these goals and kinda stuck my head in the ground, hoping they would transpire somehow.  Silly, right?  So, in 2012, I am taking a new approach.  I will be checking in every month, as well as making smaller monthly goals to help me stay on track.

Stay tuned for my 2012 Goals!

How did you do for your 2011 goals?

Cheers,

10 Comments

Filed under Finance, Goals, Personal, Shopping Ban

Money for Musicians

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I live in a big city, and one of the great things about living in a big city, is the diversity and talent of the people living in it.  And I realize that I don’t take enough time to enjoy and recognize the talents of my fellow urbanites.  Specifically, I am referring to street musicians.

On the Subway

I take the subway at least 3 – 4 times a week, and as I am rushing off to work in the mornings, the street musicians are already there.  Some sing, others play musical instruments.  A lot of times, I’m too busy focused on my destination that I don’t even pay attention to anything else.

Every so often, I would drop some change in their guitar cases or tin cans, as a token of appreciation.

Last Week

I missed my train, and ended up waiting on the platform for a good 5 minutes.

The musician there played a beautiful melody which I recognized from the Sound of Music soundtrack.  It sounded so serene and beautiful.  When I went to drop off my change, I told him that I thought he played beautifully.

He was very modest, and explained that he didn’t quite know how to play the entire song, and asked if  I knew it.  I asked him if it was from the sound of music  he seemed so pleased that I recognized it.  I thanked him again, and boarded my train.

That made my day 🙂

Stopping to Appreciate the Music

Like many urbanites, I rush from one place to another.

This month, I am making a conscious effort to not only stop and appreciate the music more, I am going to try to always have some change on me, so that I can show these street musicians that I appreciate their efforts.

What are some of the things that you are making an effort to do this month?

Cheers, 


4 Comments

Filed under Goals, Random

April Budget and Goal Recap

I’m going to try posting my budget and set new goals at the beginning of every month and see how I do at the end of the month.

Budget

This month won’t be under $1,000 and it won’t be a frugal month.  Though, it will be fabulous 😉  I’ve got volleyball fee’s, possibly a weekend trip with BF, a new hair cut and my first (in 3 years) facial .  Did I also mention it’s also my birthday this month? So, I get to indulge a little.

March Goals Recap

  • Send in my taxes (I’m done my taxes, just waiting for my forms to come in) – Check! (Return $1,676:D)
  • Complete my reference forms for professional designation. – Fail
  • Incorporate more legumes in my diet. – Check! (Made lentils)
  • Cook quinoa. – Check!
  • Exercise 2 times a week in addition to volleyball. – Fail (I have been walking a lot more, though…)

I kept thinking that I failed majorly in my goals, since I hadn’t written my reference letter for my professional designation.  I’m glad I actually checked what my goals were, because I was able to check some off and that felt really good.  Note to self – must focus on the whole picture, not just my failures 🙂

I’m so glad that April is FINALLY here.  (I know I said the same thing last month about March).  It’s just that in April, I finally allow myself to be hopeful that winter is finally gone.  No more taunting us with a warm day, then a snow storm the next.  (I’m looking at you, March!)

Even though I said that I was looking forward to biking to work, the lack of a car has really taken a toll on me.  It’s tough getting to and from volleyball (I always have to plan in advance), and getting to visit my parents is brutal (2hours each way vs 40 minute drive).

April Goals

  • Eat fruits daily
  • Complete my reference forms for professional designation
  • Start studying for GMAT
  • Write a letter to HR to promote car sharing

How is your budget and goal(s) looking for April?  And are you looking forward to spring as much as me?

Cheers,

6 Comments

Filed under Budget, Goals

March 2011 Budget and Goals

I’m going to try posting my budget at the beginning of every month and see how I do at the end of the month.  I like to plan ahead (reasonably), and what better way than through a budget and written goals?

Budget

This month won’t be under $1,000.  I’ve got volleyball fee’s and a weekend trip to Hamilton to visit my sister, refilling my MAC blotting powder, and possibly a weekend trip with BF.  I’m always unsure if I should include travel with the rest of my expenditures.

Goals

  • Send in my taxes (I’m done my taxes, just waiting for my forms to come in).
  • Complete my reference forms for professional designation.
  • Incorporate more legumes in my diet.
  • Cook quinoa.
  • Exercise 2 times a week in addition to volleyball.

On another note, I’m so glad that March is FINALLY here.  The winter blahs have gotten to me, and I am so ready for warmer weather and longer days.  I hope to start riding my bike more and incorporate exercise on my way to work (i.e., walking / biking).

How is your budget looking for March?  Do you like writing down your goals?

Cheers,


8 Comments

Filed under Budget, Goals

2011 Goals

Last year was the first year that I wrote down my goals and was able to find them at the end of the year to review how I did.  Thank you internet.

I love the beginning of a new year because it is full of possibilities.  Sometimes, I can get carried away with this sense of potential that I set many ambitious goals.  Sometimes, too many.  Sometimes too many.  As mentioned in my 2010 Goal Recap post, I really liked the S-M-A-R-T acronym for goals I read from Young and Thrifty’s blog.  Simplify.  Measurable.  Attainable.  Realistic.  Timely.

Personal Finance

I see money as a tool to reaching my life goals.  Money is not happiness, but it can be a tool to find happiness.  For me, traveling, returning to school, and owning a home are long term goals I want to achieve by using money.  But this year, I’d like to accomplish the following.

  • Making more money: I am aiming to get a 10% raise this year, and would like to boost my annual income to gross $60,000.  So far, I do not have any side income.  I’d like to explore possibilities and opportunities for a side hustle.
  • Investing money: I have most of my investments in Index Funds, and few stocks.  I’d like to start investing in dividend paying stocks.  I’d also like to learn how the tax benefits work for dividend income.
  • Saving money: I am still aiming to save at least 50% of my income.  Savings include contribution to my RRSP’s, TFSA, Emergency Fund, Travel, General Savings, and Investments.
  • Shopping ban 2011: In short, no shopping for clothes, jewelery or new make-up this year.  I have allowed myself 3 freebies of planned purchases.  More details to follow in a separate post.
  • $1,000 monthly budget: I will track my expenses every month and aim to stick to my monthly budget of $1,000.

Personal Development

This may seem lengthy, but they were on my list last year, and I haven’t accomplished them.  I really think this is doable, I just need to be organized.  Will be sharing my schedule once I get this all written down on a calender.

  • Professional Engineer License: I need to contact my previous employers regarding proof of previous work experience towards my license.  I also need to study and write the test.  My friends have the study materials and I need to devote 1 week worth of studying to this. Must find out schedule of test and arrange accordingly.
  • Canadian Securities Course: This course covers basics that will help me in my understanding of personal finance on a larger scale, and help in graduate school program applications where a business background is an asset.  My BF has the study materials.  Must find out schedule of the tests and arrange accordingly.
  • GMAT Test: I want to apply to a  Masters in Public Administration or Public Policy.   Many schools and programs require GMAT scores for applications and entrance.  I need to write the GMAT this year before the test format changes.  I have study materials from friends, as well as practice tests.
  • Graduate School Application: I want to apply to programs in the 2012 school year.  Must check deadlines and pre-requisites and start preparing.

Minimalism

Minimalism is about more than just de-cluttering, it’s about adopting the mindset that I have enough.  In fact, I have way more than enough.  I am not aiming to get to a certain number of items, but I am aiming to rid myself of excess stuff I do not need.

  • 500 Things Challenge: I was inspired by this challenge from Fabulissime.  I aim to de-clutter 500 things from my home and donate them to charity.  Depending on how this challenge goes, it may become the 1,000 Things Challenge.  More details to follow in  a separate post.
  • Document de-clutter: I want to de-clutter every room in my apartment and document what is in each room.  Explaining why I must keep something usually gives me a good idea of whether I really need it or not.
  • Remixing my Wardrobe: I want to re-discover my wardrobe and re-mix all my items.  Of course, this is an extension of my shopping ban.

Life and Health:

  • Fitness: Exercise 2-3 times a week in the mornings.  I find exercise most efficient in the mornings, and gives me more energy all day.
  • Fruits: Incorporate fruit at least once a day in my meals.  I’m really bad with eating my fruits, so I’m getting a Magic Bullet to help me with it.  I’ve tried just bringing fruit to work.  It just sits on my desk.  Yummy smoothies scream  “drink me!”
  • Friends: See my girlfriends at least once a month for dinner or spa date to catch up and unwind.  Too often I get caught up with work that my personal life takes a back seat.  Here’s to making plans and keeping them!
  • Family: See my parents every other weekend.  Call my parents at least once a week.  Too often I take for granted that my parents know that I care and love them.  Just checking in with them once a week to see how they are doing is nice.  It also let’s me know how I can help them and what they need.
  • Travel: I want to take a 2-week long trip somewhere this year.  I’m not sure where, yet.  Possibilities are: Peru (Machi Piccu) & Chili or Greece.  I’ve taken several shorter trips in 2010 to Vancouver, Boston and Venezuela, but I miss the unwinding of a long trip.

How are you goals for 2011 coming along?

Cheers,

Photo source: http://lts.sauder.ubc.ca/about-us/lts-goals-and-actions-roadmap/

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Filed under Finance, Goals, Personal, Shopping Ban

2010 Goals Recap

It was super inspiring to read all the new year resolutions from my favourite bloggers.  What I found even more inspiring than the new year resolutions was a review of 2010 resolutions.

I can’t begin to count the number of years which I have made new years resolutions.  Too many.  However, I have never reviewed my previous year’s goals and reflected on how I performed.  In fact, I probably lost the sheet long before the year was over.  Until this year.  I found my list of 2010 goals.

Let’s see how I did, and how I can improve myself and set better goals for 2011.

Professional

Be promoted to the next position and gain more experience in the field. Check! I was promoted in April and got an 18% raise to boot.

Explore different venues of income streams.  Fail! Still just my day job.  I hope to explore the perks of dividend income in 2011.

Take the Canadian Securities Course.  Fail! Will put this on my 2011 goals.

Take a continuing education course in a Masters program I may pursue in the near future.  Fail! However, I did audit one class.  Unfortunately all the courses were offered only during the day which I cannot attend.  Boo.

Charity

Volunteer for a community program mentoring kids in my neighborhood.  Check! I volunteered with the Big Brothers and Big Sister in my neighborhood from January to September when my Little Sister moved 2 hours away.

Food & Health

Incorporate more fresh vegetables and fruits into my daily meals.  Half check! I need to incorporate more fruits in 2011.

Make myself more aware of the things I am putting in my body.  Half check! I cook most of my own food; however, I’d like to be more aware of chemicals such as pesticides and getting locally grown food.

Minimize the chemical products I use on a daily basis. Check! I’ve switched my shampoo and conditioner to no SLS or parabens.  I’ve also started replacing my moisturizer and conditioner to Jojoba Oil.

Clothing

Minimal clothing budget for this year.  Check! I spent just over $1,000, but I spent them on quality items that I will use for years to come.  A classic trench jacket.  A down jacket.  Amongst others.  This is a big improvement from how I used to buy clothes.

Personal Finance

Track my spending every month. Fail! I only tracked for January, October, November and December.

Stick to a monthly budget of $1000.  Fail! It’s hard to stick to a budget when I am not tracking my expenses.

Save 50% of my take home income. Check! I saved 53% of my take home pay this year!

Family & Friends

Go out for dinner or brunch with friends.  Check! I still need to work on this, but I am meeting up with friends for spa dates, dinners and just plain old hanging out.

Visit my parents two weekends a month.  Half check! I am seeing them more, but during the busy times, I let it slip.  Must work on this in the new year, as well.

Non-goal Achievements

These are things that I achieved even though I didn’t set them out as goals at the beginning of 2010.

Health:

One of my proudest moments this year was running my first half marathon in May.  Even though it wasn’t a resolution, I wanted to prove to myself that I could train for it, and complete it.  I was not very athletic growing up, so I definitely pushed myself physically harder than I ever have in my entire life.  It was a great experience.  Though I probably wouldn’t do it again, running for 20km is not really my thing. 🙂

Personal Finance:

I increased my net worth by 91% this year.  I started off 2010 with a net worth of $32,500 and ended 2010 with $62,065 to my name.  Not quite doubling my net worth, but pretty darn good, if I say so myself.

Minimalism:

I became very interested in this topic and read a lot of blogs on this topic.  I liked how the simplicity of it, and really wanted to enjoy my life more by focusing on what really made me happy and letting go of the rest.  It also helped me to focus on where and how I want to be spending my money.

Summary:

I think I did OK on my goals.  Now, I know what my strengths are and I want to work on next year.

I like Young and Thrifty’s acronym for goals. S-M-A-R-T.  Specific.  Measurable.  Attainable.  Realistic.  Timely.  I will definitely keep these guidelines in mind as I come up with my goals for 2011.   Stay tuned!

How did you do with your 2010 goals?  How are they influencing your 2011 goals?

Cheers,

Photograph source: http://learnthat.com

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Filed under Goals, Personal