Putting my money where my mouth is

If there’s one thing about my New Years Resolutions that I’ve managed to pay adequate attention to so far, it would be the financial side of things. Without really planning to I wound up getting a head start on my goal setting last Friday and I think I’ve got a system figured out that’s really going to work for me (even if some of it is a bit imprecise).

My main goal is to have some specific numbers to aim for, as opposed to the more vague “I want to save more money!” resolution I normally fall back on. This was something I found to be quite daunting because having an actual number written down forces me to feel more bound to accountability. I’ve always leaned on excuses in the past for not saving as much as I would have liked.

 

So, I sat down and looked at my expected income for each month of 2014 and made a conservative estimate of what I could expect to save. I then split that money three ways: Savings, RRSP contributions and travel. I’m not totally comfortable sharing them numbers here but I was happy with the end result.

Sara Hamil, They Call it Gumption, money, personal finance, savings goals

Yes, this is happening. Also, please excuse the expletive – it’s how my past self tells my future self that I mean business.

I also readjusted my weekly spending budget. This year I’ve committed to spending less on stuff I don’t need. To help, I’m going to start a spending journal (which I’m going to do with the help of the sweet journal I won from Cait’s giveaway over on Blonde on a Budget!) After readjusting my budget  I reallocated the money saved for expenses like Jasper & Hasting’s vet visits and my dental and eye appointments (any money saved by being more conscious of my spending will go to this pot too). Usually I don’t plan ahead for these expenses and inevitably end up taking the money out of my regular savings contributions… Because I’m terrible.

What Did I Buy Today? An Obsessive Consumption Journal, personal finance, money, savings goals, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Sara Hamil, They Call it Gumption, Cate Flanders, Blonde on a Budget

Needless to say it feels good to know that I’ve actually got some money set aside for these things.

Finally, there’s the 52 Week Money Challenge. I haven’t written about it since I started but I HAVE been keeping up with it! I started back in November to make sure I didn’t have to make my biggest weekly contributions in my most expensive month of the year: December. I’m currently in week #6 which means I’ve got $21 in the jar. It may not sound impressive yet but by the end of the Challenge that jar will have over $1300 in it.

I thought long and hard about what to do with that extra money. In the end I decided that it would be my Christmas budget. No more digging into my savings contributions (as usual… Again, terrible) to fund Christmas. Plus, whatever I don’t spend on the holidays will go into savings (probably to be split between general savings and my RRSP).

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a year with this much of a solid financial plan before and it feels good! I’ve got my goals posted up where I can see them so that I can stay motivated and on top of things. Now I just have to stay accountable to myself!

What about you? Have you made personal finances a part of your New Years Resolutions? What are your goals and how are you planning to keep them? Share your stories in the comments!

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4 Comments

  • January 6, 2014 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I need to read this 100 more times. I’m terrible at budgeting and saving and I’m getting to an age where that just is no longer acceptable.

    • Sara Hamil
      January 6, 2014 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

      To me, this has been one of the most terrifying things about becoming an adult. In fact, I kept my head buried happily in the sand for years before dating my ex. He was good with money and I learned a few things while we dated.

      It’s still pretty scary though.

  • January 13, 2014 - 11:32 pm | Permalink

    I just started the 52 week challenge too! Well I started it in January. My big thing this year is also to get my financial stuff in order– so I can relate!! I haven’t thought about what I will use the money for yet. Part of me wants to put into a TFSA at the end of the year. But using it as a Christmas budget is a great idea too. Great post!

    • Sara Hamil
      January 14, 2014 - 6:50 am | Permalink

      Probably one of my favourite things about the 52 Week Money Challenge is that it’s a fairly easy way to start building good savings habits! It starts slow and and the demand is low which makes it easier to get into and by the end of the year, when the amount gets higher, you’ve already created the groundwork that will help you push forward to the end!

      Best of luck with your 52 weeks, Ashly!

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