January Budget & Goals for 2015

Happy New Year, friends! I can’t begin to explain how fired up I am right now. I’ve honestly never felt like this at the beginning of a new year before. Last year, it took me almost two weeks to write a list of goals, and even after I published them I was still uncertain of a few. This year isn’t like that. Not only do I have a list of personal goals (which I’ve shared below), I also have a long list of professional goals – mostly things I want to do here, but some are for work too. Each goal has its own list of concrete steps I need to take, in order to make them happen. So, there’s no messing around here. No fluffy, mystical thoughts or meaningless resolutions. 2015 is going to be my most productive year yet, hands down. I can’t wait to share more details, as things unfold.

I’ve been so high on this adrenaline buzz that I’ve had trouble deciding what to tell you about first. While brainstorming and researching new ideas, I kept opening tab after tab after tab, until my laptop (and my brain) couldn’t handle it anymore. I finally walked away from the screen yesterday, took some deep breaths and remembered that I need to start with my January budget post. Duh! I was seriously so excited about the new year that I forgot about this. My budgets are the most important tool in my life, because they help me set goals, push me to try harder and allow me to move in the direction I want to go. So, before I do anything else, I have to lay the groundwork for what I think is going to be an incredible year. Let’s do this, January…

Life Expenses – Goal: 52%

In looking at this budget, I can safely say that 52% is the average amount of my income I’ll need to pay for a month where I’m not travelling much. There’s nothing crazy or unusual here: housing expenses are all the same (with the exception of the new internet promotion I’m on for a few months), food and transportation costs look normal, and the only thing that’s changed about my insurance policies is my provincial healthcare plan went up $2.50/month on January 1st. I also always budget for one massage therapy appointment, and tonight I have my first floatation therapy appointment. If 52% of my income can pay for all of that, I have no complaints.

Travel – Goal: 8%

I’m only travelling once this month: to Toronto for work for 5 days/4 nights. This budget covers some transportation costs + the food I’ll eat when I’m there.

Planned Spending – Goal: 14%

Here’s a new category: I finally decided to split up all the money I save into planned spending vs. long-term savings. I have 5 different savings goals, but 3 of them are for things I need/want to pay for this year. First, there’s the $100/month I put into my Shopping Ban account. Second, I plan on travelling more this year, so I need to save for that. And then I’m in my best friend Emma’s wedding this summer, and have learned from experience that I need to budget for them early!

Long-Term Savings Goal: 26%

Finally, long-term savings. Look at that big, exciting number! I’m saving for two things – one of which is retirement. The other deserves a post of its own, which I’ll write before the month is up.

All-in-all, this is shaping up to be a great first month of the year. I’m spending 60% of my income on life/travel, and setting aside the other 40% for short-term and long-term savings goals. Now, I do actually have a bunch of freelance already lined up this month, so these numbers are going to look drastically different later… but I still don’t like to rely on freelance income, when planning my budgets. Freelance is just a bonus, which means it’ll get divided amongst all my savings goals.

Goals for this month:

  • Complete my first 31-day challenge (more on this next week)
  • Read 5 books (yes, you read that right)
  • Workout 20x

Personal Goals for 2015:

  1. I want to put $15,000 in long-term savings. No joke. I’ve mapped out a plan to set aside $13,100 – and that doesn’t even include what I could save from potential freelance income. I really want to push my limits here.
  2. I want to travel a little bit less (maybe just once/month), but there are a few trips I do want to take: First, I want to go to NYC again, to spend more time with Shannon, as well as finally meet a good online friend who will be travelling there from London. And so I am, in February.
  3. I want to go to Washington, DC, to spend time with Amanda and Sofia, then rent a car and drive down to visit J. We are going to work together for one day, my friend – I’m telling you! (And I’ll even make lunch, so you can stop eating PB&J).
  4. I really, really, really want to go to the UK and France, but have to see if/when I need surgery, before I can begin to plan that trip.
  5. I want to see more of my own country. I don’t know where I’ll go yet, but I want to visit at least one new province.
  6. I also want to put down some roots in Vancouver. I want to join a book club and a yoga studio and volunteer more. I want to build upon my existing relationships and make even more friends here. I travelled too much in 2014 to make this place feel like home. 2015 is the year.
  7. I want to continue to challenge myself, whether it be to change another habit, quit making excuses or just push myself out of my comfort zone. I like getting uncomfortable, and learning more about myself in the process.
  8. I want to embrace turning 30. My twenties were ok, but were filled with so many mistakes and insecurities. I think I’m cool with letting them go. In fact, consider 30 already embraced.
  9. I want to take a pottery class. For months, I’ve been trying to think of a new way I can express myself, mostly so I’m not always sitting in front of a screen. I’ve always loved pottery, so I want to take a stab at it and get messy in the process. (Class starts April 11.)
  10. And finally, I want to write a book. A whole book. I’m talking 90,000+ words. It’s ok if nobody wants to publish it or even reads it. I want to write it. And I’ve already started.

What do you have planned for this month/year?