My Goals for 2014

This year I didn’t set many major goals – I was coasting! I had 3 accomplishments: I started a new job, saved enough for a trip to New York City (to be scheduled in 2014) and almost completed a home inventory – which will be posted later this month. Most things carried on as usual – Rom and I travelled to the UK and to Toronto, as we had done the year before, and I continued to set aside funds as unspecified “long term savings.”

For 2014, I have decided on 7 personal goals. Three of them are underway already so I trust I can keep up the momentum!


I listed 17 books I bought and have in the house, but haven’t read, and I pledged to read them all by the end of 2014. I read 2 in November so I have 15 left. I read a lot, so 15 books won’t be difficult, but sticking to those 15 will – I am always distracted by new library books! I am planning to read other books as well – maybe 4 a month, with 1 or 2 of them being books I already own. That way I shouldn’t fall too far behind on new releases!

2. Walk to Work

My new job is 1.5 km from home and I plan to walk to and from work daily, and sometimes walk home for lunch as well. I don’t know what it will feel like in severe cold and snow, but I plan to buy better cold-weather gear if needed, rather than take the car.

3. Make 3 Planned Trips

Our trips to the UK and Toronto will be annual as long as we have relatives in both places. We’ll also make a one-time trip to NYC, the first time for either of us. I expect it will be quite difficult to schedule 3 trips in a year given that both of us will need to negotiate vacation time with our workplaces, and find times that our relatives are able to spend time with us. The NYC trip is the most flexible, which is why it got bumped from 2013 to 2014!

The rest of the goals are new:

4. Organize and Use Digital Photos

This is a two-part goal. I tagged all of my digital photos up to 2011 so they are all keyword-searchable. This year I will tag the remainder, up to the current date. My eventual goal is to use all my own photos for the blog. This will be a stretch for me because I’m not a compulsive photographer and I usually write about things I have no photos of. You will see fewer photos until I get this project in gear!

5. Change Clothes Shopping Strategy

In 2013 I spent $1262 on 48 items of clothing, of which 46 were new. I expect I will always buy clothes each year, at least replacement items. I have set a budget of $900 for 2014, or $75 a month. I think I will find that quite tight. My plan is to make a list of items which are due to be replaced, and price-check them throughout the year, buying when I can get a good deal – which might mean buying at the end of the season and saving it for the next year. With the rest of the funds, I will try a new strategy. Instead of going into a store and looking for the perfect black trousers (for example), I will go to a thrift store and look for “an outfit for work.” That way I am not hemming myself in by fixating on one thing, but I’ll still get results. This year I found some vintage and consignment stores I like, which are not dirt cheap, but are still good value and good quality compared to new.

6. Max Out Savings

I have been setting aside money as “long term savings” but I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so it became a big emergency fund! Last summer I got a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA- just like an ISA in the UK) and put as much of it as possible there. I have a lump sum in a retirement account, and I started adding new $ to that account as well. For 2014, I have a “stretch goal” of maxing out both my TFSA and RRSP for the year. To do this, I will need to save $312 per month more than I did last year, which is an extra $3740 for the year. I will still be able to travel and buy clothes (as noted above) and pay the bills in the same way, but I’ll have to conscientiously set aside money for home repairs and car repairs so I don’t get caught by surprise. To do that, I’ll have to cut back a lot on discretionary stuff. I will have to keep a tight watch on entertainment and dining out.

Now that I’m 50, people are starting to ask me if I plan to retire early. I don’t – I expect I’ll work to age 65, especially since I only started with my current employer 10 years ago. My goal with intensive savings is that if my workplace decided to restructure, or if my health were to change, I could retire earlier. I don’t expect either of those things to happen, but I don’t want to be blind-sided if they did.

7. Try New Charity Scheme

I have a new goal for charitable donations which I’ll post about soon.

So – 2014 will be a year of austerity at The Exacting House, compared to 2013!  Already I’m thinking 2014 will be hard work. So I’ll have to make some fun goals next time, too.

What will you be doing differently in 2014?


  1. To think, I was just drafting my 2014 Goals post, as I reviewed my income and outgoings, and savings. What I’ll do differently is set aside charity money as a weekly ‘non negoiatable’ and then ‘give’ from it as need be. I’ll also stretch myself to really boost the money I put in the offset to my mortgage. And start a ‘forever’ savings goal, for a one day dream I’ll execute in 20 years + or -! And lastly, there’ll be holiday savings too, as I plan a big(ger) trip this coming year.

    I don’t have a clothes shopping budget, it must come out of ‘everyday walking around money’ or ‘holiday money’, so that’ll just have to do. I think I will compile a list though, so I don’t end up with more of the same, and none of what I moan I don’t have (which is currently nothing pressing!).

    I’m trying to make sure some of my goals stretch me, but some are ‘nice’ and ‘fluffy’ – like yours this past year. I’ll definitely try to nail down the remainder of my 12 in 2, and there are many great things I *want* to do on there (albeit, the budget was reallocated despite saving it up for a little while, sigh!)

  2. That’s really exciting about the NYC trip, Dar! It’s on our list, too (one day, but not 2014.) Getting on top of the digital photos is one I’ve been working on in fits and starts in 2013 but would love to complete in 2014. Reading Down the House is proving a gold-mine this end…I think it will be a really fun goal for those of us who are joining in!

    • We had planned to visit NYC this past Fall but it got bumped because that was also the best time to visit Link. It’s just as well because I haven’t had time to research and book the trip…it will make a nice winter project! I made a little bit of progress on my photos this year but focused on the home inventory. Tell me what books you have stacked up!

  3. Great goals, Dar.

    I actually don’t think that your goals are austere or not fun. Look at the travel, the fun at finding clothes in the charity shops (I know several people that only buy from second hand shops and they always look glamourous), the relaxing walk to work and all that reading.

    Sounds like fun to me.

    I’ve been thinking about my goals. Haven’t quite settled on them yet. Will be still to do with organising and being more healthy and more gorgeous,

    • Too true, L! By cutting back on clothes spending and gas for the car, it should make a dent in my new savings regime, and not feel so scrimpy. I look forward to hearing about your new goals.

  4. I love your number 2! Thinking about how much better it is for you and the environment does actually make me feel better about having to get the bus all the time!i. Bet I walk about a kilometre just to the bus stop. I really want to make some new goals now!

    • Hi, thanks for stopping by! I have a new job – until recently I had to commute 12 km each way, which took 35 minutes in the morning and 45 in the evening, in traffic. I am thrilled that I can now walk to work in 15! Would love to hear your goals – if you don’t have a blog, you could share them with me on my Facebook page, if you like!

  5. Great mix of goals! You are wise to max out your savings in case of changes in work or your health. I was hit with a serious health problem the week I turned 55 and it kept me from working much for a year. That was an eye opener for sure. Hopefully your savings will just continue to grow and your retirement will be financially stress free.

  6. I’m definitely going to add Read Down the House to my list although I have a lot more than 17 to catch up on! For the charity donations I recommend direct debits as then you can forget about them and are less tempted to drop them in a lean month. Not sure about your local tax laws but we put them all in my husband’s name as he pays higher rate UK tax so the charities get a larger amount of gift aid.

    • It’s great you’ve thought through the charitable donations. I’ll write about my plans ASAP. I listed the 17 books from my home book shelf that I actually plan to read – there are more that are “back-burnered.” I would estimate about 15 of them.


    I like the mix of personal goals and stretch financial goals – it never hurts to plan for the future and/or any potential change in circumstances. I’m still mulling over my goals, but need to make a decision very soon as I don’t want to lose that New Year momentum!

    Good luck! Looking forward to your progress reports!

    I’m so excited that you’re going to NY – so many buildings to see! What do you have at the top of your list?

  8. I need to think about my 2014 goals..and have a look back at my New Year’s Resolution post from the start of 2013! I’d like to donate a certain percentage of my income to charity, as well as saving a certain amount- I will need to work out realistic percentages for these…
    I also want to read down the house…and as I have more than a year’s worth of books, I will have to set a realistic goal… Hmm!

  9. Great list. Lots of variety. Achievable but still ambitious.
    I’ve just started to think of my goals for next year. I don’t think I’ll steal any of yours, but it gives me some inspiration.

  10. I have some goals in mind for 2014, but they’re not completely ironed out yet. You have a good mix going here, I like it! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your charitable giving plan.

    And while I was cleaning one of the spare bedrooms over the weekend, I did find a book I haven’t read! (See what happens when I actually look at every book on the shelf? haha) It’s now on my to-read list, and hopefully I’ll finish by your next Reading Down update. 🙂

  11. Great goals! I especially like the walking and travel goals (more power to you during the Canadian winter however!). Your clothing goals reminds me that I am very happy to not have to come up with a professional wardrobe each season 🙂

  12. I really like all of your goals 🙂 I still need to join in with reading down the house, maybe in time for the new year!

    My main goal for 2014 is to finish my PhD, but I guess I should add in some fun ones as well 🙂 It’s something to think about over Christmas.

  13. Alice

    These are wonderful goals and achievable goals, I really like all of them! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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