Making it Happen: January Goal Update

making it happenI 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:

Student Loans

  • Put $350 towards student loans each pay cheque.
  • Put $200 towards student loans from each rent cheque.

Credit Card:

  • Put $500 a month towards our credit card balance.

Car Loans:

  • 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.

Sigh.

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:

Conferences:

  • 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!

making it happen

14 comments
TheFrugalWeds
TheFrugalWeds

Congratulations on the positive momentum you have started building this year!  My wife and I have much respect for you not only writing down your goals, but putting them up for everyone to see.  We are excited to see your progression through 2014.

LisaVsTheLoans
LisaVsTheLoans

Congrats on your health progress in January! That's so exciting!

PrairieEcoThrifter
PrairieEcoThrifter

Can you believe I've actually never heard of Blogwest and I live in the Vancouver area?! You are doing great on your goals. The Shuswap is great if you want to houseboat, and the Okanagan is great for food (ie dining, wineries, orchards), beaches, and .. well, everything. I have lived in both areas :) 

ryagonnaeatthat
ryagonnaeatthat

Great job on your weight loss goals and I'm envious of your travel plans!  Good luck with tracking for finances, you have plenty of time this year to make it up, no worries. :)

brokeandbeau
brokeandbeau

Congrats on the weight loss and the emergency fund savings.  Both pretty major goals to have made so much progress on just a short 6/7 weeks into the year!

Beachbudget
Beachbudget

Nice job on your fitness goal! I'm doing swimming and yoga not for the weather aspect but because of my stupid injured leg! Did you get your ticket for fincon? I bought mine so if you're interested in a roommate I'm looking for someone! Hope the rest of Feb looks good for your goals! 

Our Fine Adventure
Our Fine Adventure

Looks like you are off to a great start, and agreed with others that it's good you have such well-defined goals!! I bet the "Fails" will become "Passes" soon enough! Looking forward to following along :)

Green Money Stream
Green Money Stream

It's great that you have such clearly defined goals. That should help you focus. It looks like you are off to a good start. Great job losing the weight, that's so tough! My husband and I vacationed in Kananaskis country before we were married. It was so insanely beautiful there!

SavvyJames
SavvyJames

It is great to see financial plans spelled out in detail.  In fact, I am convinced that is the only way to ultimately reach stated goals.

Lindsey at Sense
Lindsey at Sense moderator

@Our Fine Adventure  I know that January 1 is just an arbitrary day people picked for fresh starts but I'm happy for it in some ways. I was really stuck in a rut and I needed that outside reminder that I can start over and do things differently. I am working towards my goals and I know I'll get there. Thanks so much for commenting!

Lindsey at Sense
Lindsey at Sense moderator

@Green Money Stream  I think of all the goals I achieved in January, I was happiest about the weight one. Weightwatchers has been a great help in keeping me conscious about what I eat - sometimes it's labour-intensive but I've been feeling a lot better since starting the program. Stop by any time. :)


Lindsey at Sense
Lindsey at Sense moderator

@SavvyJames  Hey James, thanks for stopping by! I think there's a lot more accountability this way - it's very clear and time sensitive. I know what needs to be done in a very real way and when it has to be done by! It helps me a lot. :)

SavvyJames
SavvyJames

@Lindsey at Sense Absolutely.  Also, a financial plan, however it is managed  (e.g. pen and paper, spreadsheet, etc.) needs to be viewed as a dynamic, vice static, element.  As circumstances, the economy, etc. change, you need to be able to go to your plan and update accordingly.

Lindsey at Sense
Lindsey at Sense moderator

@SavvyJames @Lindsey at Sense  Beautifully said - it's a living document that needs to grow and change as circumstances in my life change. If I stay too rigid or narrow with anything, I'm just going to frustrate myself and give up.  I think the feedback I get from other people, like you, will remind me not to get too entrenched in one idea (I have a bad habit of that). Cheers!

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