bares all and shares with you her 2011 personal finance goals and how she's doing with them so far this year.

Part of blogging about your goals and resolutions means trying (key word, trying!) to keep accountable with them.

So in order to keep accountable, I thought I would share with you how I’m doing so far with my personal finance resolutions for the year 2011 so far.  As you know, I blogged about my personal finance goals for this year early in January, and also shared my personal goals.  I will share how I’m doing for both.

  • Max out TFSA to $15000– In January, I’ll have $15,000 of TFSA space because I took out all of my TFSA’s for my down payment.  I plan to sell some of my non-registered stocks in order to put money back into my Tax Free Trading Account and top it up with savings.

40% to goal completion: I’m at about $6400 in my TFSA, so I have about $8600 more to go to max out my TFSA.  Initially I was thinking of selling my non-registered stocks because I hate keeping track of capital gains when I buy and sell, but I don’t want to interrupt my beautiful dividend paying stocks by selling them and having to pay capital gains.  I’ve been slowly selling my non-registered portfolio and moving it into my TFSA.  I also put in an $1000 from the tax return I got this year.

  •  5 Personal Budgeting Myths Pictures, Images and PhotosMax out RRSP allowed contributions- I set out $200 a month automatically to an RRSP TD e-series and top up the rest before the year ends.  I’ll need to make sure I have money for the extra contribution before the end of the year.

100% completed: I have $200 automatic contributions with my TD e-series account.  I think I had sold a USD non-registered stock earlier and moved that money to my USD-RRSP anyway, so after the automatic $200 payments, I will be at max contribution.

  • Replenish my Savings Account- Since my savings account was basically ameliorated from the down payment, I would like save at least 15% a month for this.

50% to goal completion: Although I am saving about 13-14% a month pre-tax, I had to dip into the savings account for some extra renovation costs, like the window treatments.  After all the renovations have been done though, things have settled down (thank goodness).

  • Save $2400 for Travel Fund- I plan to climb the highest peak in Africa in 2012 (before I turn the big 3-0… some people jump out of planes and sky dive…I hike) and will need some cashola for that (not to mention get in shape)…I will try and set aside $200 a month for this travel fund (automatically).  I have an ING savings account for that

Goal has been delayed and only at 40% completion: I’m not sure what I was thinking when I thought it would only cost $2400 to travel to Africa and hike Mt Kilimanjaro.  I would estimate the costs would be more to the tune of $4000 (including flight, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, a safari– c’mon no trip to Africa is complete without a safari, right?).  I have about $1700 in this account now, but realized I won’t be going to Africa until 2013 (which is fine, I suppose because I will have a longer time to save some cash).  I will have probably turned 30 when I do this hike, but it will make it much more rewarding.

  • Pay down the Mortgage extra $500/month ($1000 total)- BF and I are going to rent out the basement and plan to use that money to pay down the mortgage and attack the beast principle amount.

Um… BIG FAIL for now. We’re still waiting for some last minute renovations to take place (in terms of upgrading our AMPs to our old house so that we can run two stoves and not have the fuse blow) so have not rented it out yet.

  • Slowly change most of my equities into dividend paying equities– Currently I have some “play” money in my portfolio with which I invest in growth stocks, but I think I’m going to try and convert most of my portfolio to blue-chip dividend paying equities

Hard to measure this goal. I guess this goal wasn’t SMART 😉  I think I have bought some more dividend paying equities this year so far, but I am unsure how many.  I think most of the stocks I bought were in my TFSA portfolio.

  • Write down what I spend my money on daily– I’ve been terrible at remembering to do this last year.  I think it’s because I have the Mint app now so I’ve been bad at recording my expenses.  I feel like a big hypocrite because I advocate for people to write down what they spend their money on.  So to fix this- because I am a visual person, I’m going to use one of those free calenders you get from banks etc. to write down what my expenses are day to day.  Then I can compare weekly to see how my spending is, like Krystal does with her spending recaps at GMBMFB.

Give myself an B+ for this: I would say I’ve been pretty good at this- I’ve been writing it in my day planner (didn’t end up using a calender)… I’ve been bad at categorizing them into my budget though. The app doesn’t do it for me- I find it annoying to split my expenses, and it always tells me that I’m paying for fees, even though the fees are deducted again.

So to summarize, I have a long way to go for some of my 2011 personal finance resolutions, specifically with getting better at budgeting, making sure I save up more money for my savings accounts, and finding a tenant to rent the basement out to so we can start to pay extra towards the mortgage.


Readers, have you done your mid-year resolution check in yet?  How did you do?  Can you believe that half a year has gone by already? (I certainly can’t!)

Article comments

June Young says:

Listing my daily expenses really helped me keep track of my long term goals. Good job on your immense progress! 🙂 You are another inspiration to all of us.

young says:

@June Young- I don’t know if I would call it immense. It’s some progress 😉 yeah, listing your daily expenses is really motivating. Especially when you leave a day ‘blank’ because its a no spend day!

Nice job going after your goals. The trip to Africa sounds like it would be amazing!

young says:

@Robert- Thanks for visiting! I’m excited too- it’s a challenge of a lifetime, that’s for sure.

Melissa says:

How exciting to go to Africa!! That is a goal well worth saving for.

I am terrible with writing down what I spend also. Not a good idea when I am trying to make most of my purchases with cash. 🙂

young says:

@Melissa- Thanks Melissa for visiting. Very very exciting! Though there will be delayed gratification because I doubt I’ll be going next year. I started writing what I spend in my day planner, and it’s been quite helpful. I think if you have an iphone app, that’s helpful too (though I find it cumbersome to enter stuff in my phone).

Ginger says:

Isn’t it? I love when I get ideas from other bloggers or when another blogger and I write about similar topics, it is great to see how people put their own spin on financial topics. I am financial behind you, but I think people seeing people achieving their goals at different level is important.

young says:

@Ginger- I have a post for tomorrow that fits that description 🙂 Inspired by Yes I am Cheap’s shopping adventure. I also agree that seeing people achieve their goals at different levels is important too- everyone is unique and what may work for one may not work for another. I think as long as we achieve or make progress towards the intrinsic goals that we set for ourselves, then we are doing well 🙂

You are doing great. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The fact that you have even checked in with your goals is awesome. I haven’t done that yet and need to. I know I am behind on some things.

young says:

@Miss T- Awe thanks Miss T. It’s hard though sometimes, there’s just so much room in these TFSA’s and RRSPs and one can’t help but feel bad if they aren’t “maximized”. I know I will have to give it up and realize that I can’t max it out (especially if I have children and have to add on an RESP to contribute to!) eventually.

corina says:

i don’t get the savings account goal. you said it was “ameliorated from the down payment” so you would like save at least 15% a month for this. Ameliorate means to get better – so if it’s better , why do you need to save for it? or you meant “depleted”? cause that makes more sense…
otherwise , i admire your hard work and discipline .Congrats!

young says:

@corina- oh my goodness, that’s embarassing. LOL I meant ANNIHILATE, not ameloriate. I obviously did not have English as my strong suit in school. Thanks for noticing! 🙂

Etienne says:

(seems the reply button for a particular post doesn’t work).
You don’t have up buy Quicken every year. I have used Quicken 2006 until I upgraded for 2011…
For data entry, you can link yous accounts and it downloads your transactions. It sorts them according to the memorized payees, etc. Now that Mint was bought by Quicken, I’m sure they have an app… I am using a caompany phone, it’s not a smartphone but a big zero dollar per year:)

young says:

@Etienne- yeah, sorry I haven’t fixed that yet (or figured out a way to fix that). I just looked at the Quicken Website. It seems very similar to I’ll look into it, thanks!

You’re doing great, B+ mirrors what you have achieved so far and with 6 more months to go chances are you might hit all of your objectives.

I probably would get less than a B+ for my resolutions this year 🙂

young says:

@BeatingTheIndex- Apparently technically 6.7 months 😉 Hmm, I don’t think so mister, you just got a 100% return on your HELOC investment- that is an amazing feat and I think far more impressive than being able to save X amount of $ a month.

Taylor says:

Hey – email me if you are interested in my cost spreadsheet for Kilimanjaro/safari. I was flying out of Toronto but it’s roughly the same.

young says:

@Taylor- Sure! Thanks for the offer 🙂 I’ll take you up on it.

Great discipline so far Y&T, can I ask why you initially purchased the stocks outside of the TFSA? Were they bought before the TFSA came into effect or did you do it with an investment loan?

young says:

@My University Money- Bingo!! Yup, I purchased them before the TFSA came into effect (haha does that show how OLD I am??). I wish I was 19 about 3 years ago. Then I would have so much room in my TFSA, it’s unbelievable lol. I didn’t do it with an investment loan, though the folks at Investors Group really urged me to use leverage and get an investment loan. I’m glad I didn’t because the return I got on their mutual fund was pretty dismal.

Ginger says:

I think this is a great idea, I think I will post how well I am doing savings-wise at the end of next month.

young says:

@Ginger- I’m glad I inspired you! This is whats so great about the personal finance blogosphere 🙂

SavingMentor says:

It looks like you are doing a pretty darn decent of a job to me. This year has literally flown by for me so far and I think you’ve managed to squeeze in quite a bit of financial accomplishment since it began.

Keep up the good work, looks like you are going to hit most of your goals by years end!

young says:

@SavingMentor- Hopefully I will, we’ll see! I think it will be much harder with me going back to school though 🙁 Thanks for the encouraging words as always, SM.

Good job on some of your goals! (And, did you know that we’re not actually halfway yet? You have to wait for July 1. You’re a month off.)

I think I need to start writing my spending down. Although I don’t spend that much, there are still things that I probably shouldn’t spend on and it would probably make me more aware.

young says:

@chipsforsupper- HAHA… OMG you are RIGHT. Yeesh I knew it seemed a little early. What the heck, I’m an “early bird gets the worm” kind of gal. You’re doing a great job of keeping track of your eating out habits- which is great! Yeah, writing the spending down is a good habit to start. Painful at first, but helps to increase the awareness of spendage.

So far so good! Congrats on the progress. Personally, my goals for this year were more qualitative. For example, get a job, build a business, incorporate. And so far I have 2 of 3 of those taken care of. I guess now I should focus on more quantitative goals now.

young says:

@FYSA- Those are HUGE tasks! Congratulations on completing them- that is some solid goal tackling right there. I would assume that qualitative goals are best done first, before the quantitative. Now you can make it a goal to achieve X amount of profit on your newly formed business.

Etienne says:

start to use Quicken.

at the beginning, you get lazy, then have to spend two hours to get back to date on your spending.

but after a while, you do it every evening, on lunch breaks, etc. It takes only a few second, then I can simply sort the receipts for later access (for refurn/warranty/etc).

I am now in my 5th year and the tool is priceless as I can check my average spendings in each category… and cut where the fat is:)

young says:

@Etienne- I hear Quicken is really good- but do you have to purchase it each year? How much is it? I just don’t like how I have to input the data. I feel so lazy. Is there a Quicken App? That would make things a lot easier.