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?