I missed you guys this week! It’s been a very long week and most of it was full of barriers to writing to you, my dearest readers. More on that later, though . In my post Year 2014: New Year’s Revolution, I talked about all the things I wanted to do this year. Trust me, it’s a long and ambitious list! Check out my goal progress update for January!
Making it happen: Health
1. Lose weight and get healthier this year: PASS
I started Weightwatchers this year to help me with that goal and have started monitoring what I eat every day. I lost 5.6 lbs in January.
My goal for February is to start incorporating some physical activity into my day. I’m thinking about swimming and yoga for the winter months since both can be done easily indoors. Both are lower impact and good all-over body work outs that burn calories and build muscle.
Making it happen: Save Money
2. Save money for an emergency fund, investing, and Christmas fund: ½ PASS
Here are the goals in more detail:
- Create an emergency fund and save $1500 by February 2015.
- Open a brokerage account with an initial $1000 investment by December 2014.
- Build a $650 Christmas fund for gifts by December 2014.
Money Saved: $115 out of a possible $230 saved this month. It breaks down to $50 to an emergency fund, $40 to an investment account, and $25 to a Christmas account every pay cheque. I started this plan halfway through January so I didn’t have a chance to use the first cheque towards this plan.
I will have to come up with a plan to help counter some of these setbacks. Perhaps I could do a combination of putting a few extra dollars towards each goal and then lower my contributions to 24 pay periods instead of 26 so I have a little bit of breathing room when it comes to life’s little bumps.
Making it Happen: Pay Down Debt
3. Paying down my credit card, student loans, and car loans: FAIL
Here’s a breakdown of these goals:
- Put $350 towards student loans each pay cheque.
- Put $200 towards student loans from each rent cheque.
- Put $500 a month towards our credit card balance.
- Put $400 a month towards our car loans
Again, I was only able to put the last pay cheque in January towards these goals so I have half the dedicated amounts for the student loan payments; credit card; and car loans. The other big barrier to achieving my goals this month is that my large government employer is shifting their scheduling/time keeping departments to a centralized system. There have been a few mistakes since this started happening – one of them being their miscalculation of the hours I worked. I had picked up a few extra shifts over Christmas and didn’t realize they over paid me because I was expecting more money anyway. They realized their mistake and (rightfully) clawed back the money I owed on my second January pay cheque.
In truth, it’s my fault. I should have kept better records of the shifts worked so I could have caught the mistake, reported it, and put the money aside for when they could collect it.
How am I going to fix it? Pretty much by doing what I should have been doing from the beginning and tracking my hours/benefits/taxes and any other contributions or deductions on my pay cheque on a regular basis.
Making it happen: Having Fun
4. Go travelling this year: PASS
Here are my goals outlined with more specifics:
- Attend Blogwest 2014 in Vancouver, BC, (Canada)
- Attend FinCon 2014 2014 in New Orleans
I have bought flights and arranged a place to stay while I attend the Blogwest Conference this March. I also have the money set aside to pay the conference fees for FinCon 2014 for when the tickets go on sale in February. I can’t tell you how excited I am! I think my last real vacations were Las Vegas in 2011 and London, U.K. In 2004.
Go to the Okonogan or Shuswap in British Columbia over Canada Day weekend:
- We looked into renting out a cabin but it’s just going to cost too much. Instead, we’re going to reserve a campsite in the area and tent it for the long weekend. The campground reservation system will open in April so I’ll have to wait until then to confirm our dates.
Go away for a couple of weekends to go camping in Kananaskis country:
- This is an easier one because it’s only an hour drive into the Rocky Mountains and we can tent it for minimal costs. We have all the camping gear we need so we pretty much just need to pick up and go.
Go somewhere warm for Christmas:
- I don’t think this will happen because there’s just way too much going on this year. We’d need at least $7000 including spending money for the whole family to go away to an all-inclusive resort somewhere warm. It’s just too ambitious to try and get that accomplished on top of everything else. Maybe in a couple of years.
Making it happen: My Career
4. Ditch social work school: FAIL
>I wrote a lot in my New Year’s Revolution post about the cost of school and how I was still paying off student loans. I don’t have to make a decision about this until September and I’m going to wait for a while.
5. I want to take my blog to the next level: PASS
I’ve guest posted and started posting regularly on my blog again. My stats are getting stronger and I’m heading in the right direction. I’ve posted a “Hire Me” page and started thinking about how I want to balance freelance writing assignments with the other responsibilities in my life.
I’m pretty happy with the way January turned out but I think there’s definitely things I need to work on. Next update at the end of February!