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December 2011

Update: December 2011 Budget & Goals

December 31, 2011

December 2011 Actual Budget

Ouch. December was kinda rough on the budget…

Where did I go over?
The biggest overage was obviously my security deposit and rent. I had planned on moving in with someone but we decided it would be better for our friendship if we lived alone. I’m excited to live alone again but have already been reminded of how expensive it’s going to be.

Where did I spend less?
Um, I sucked at paying off credit card debt this month. What the heck happened there!? Only the minimum payment? Good one, Cait.

What surprised me?
My cell phone bill (in a good way). I didn’t think I’d be seeing a lower bill until January.

December 2011 Goals:

  • Find an apartment (to move in January 1, 2012)DONE!
  • Finish reading Never Too Late by Gail Vaz-OxladeFAIL! I only read about 40 pages before realizing I’m “not quite there yet,” in terms of planning for retirement. Therefore, I’m putting this book down for a few months.
  • Get ready to move!DONE!
  • Hit my “I’ve paid off $10,000 of debt!” mark (-$18,115)DONE! :D
  • Increase RRSP contributions from monthly to bi-weeklyFAIL! I had an appointment at the bank and then I forgot about it. I don’t think I’ve ever missed an appointment in my life! Note to self: This is a sign you’re too busy…
  • Meet all my school assignment deadlinesDONE!
  • Pay for Christmas with cashDONE!
  • Start my newest writing gigDONE! This month, I started a bi-weekly column at Glass Heel.
  • Start reading The Wealthy Barber Returns by David ChiltonFAIL! Instead I read Cold Hard Truth by Kevin O’Leary.
  • Try to take at least a few days off for myself… to breathe… relax… and do whatever I want!DONE!

Overall, not a bad month, I guess. I’m so excited to post January’s budget and goals tomorrow! (Yes, excited. I realize how weird that makes me.)

How’d you do this month? Did Christmas kick your budget’s butt?

My No Resolution Resolution

December 29, 2011

There’s an inspiring feeling that comes when a new year is in sight. The final week of the current year has people scrambling to organize whatever it is they think will help them start the year off right. Self-reflection looks at what has occurred in the last 360 days and resolutions are made for the next 3656. But it’s often faded after the first week or two of January.

This could be why I know better than to make a New Year’s resolution. Well, at least after last year. Do you remember my resolution last year? I said I wasn’t going to drink alcohol for an entire year. I know what you’re thinking -> HA! But my intentions were good, as it was sparked after months of partying (and racking up debt) and because one of the people I cared most about had recently entered rehab. But then I left for Toronto and my resolution stayed behind in Victoria.

I have made a list of goals I hope to achieve in 2012, but I’m not sure if there is one resolution that could stand behind them all. If there is, perhaps it is that I want to continue being the new person I have become. I want to get out of debt and continue loving what I have versus complaining about what I don’t. I want to save more (and not touch what I have saved). And I want to go on a couple trips.

Nothing crazy. Pretty simple, actually. And that’s what the last few months have done for me. They’ve pushed me away from being someone who over-consumes and turned me into a person who is grateful for everything she has. I now know that I don’t need brand new furniture or a beautifully decorated living room to be happy. (There’s that self-reflection I was talking about…)

Are you making any resolutions this year?

Twenty Eleven: What a Year

December 28, 2011

This has been one of the toughest years of my adult life. I’ve been broke, I’ve been really broke, and I’ve been maxed out. At the same time I was maxed out, I considered quitting school. I missed opportunities, I put a few dreams on hold, and I had to let reality be my leader for a while. But now I’m here. And here is somewhere I never thought I’d be.

Rather than focus on the lows, today I want to share some the highlights of my year.

In 2011, I…

…lived in my favourite city (Toronto) for three months.

…paid off $4,452 of student debt.

…paid for the rest of my education, using the Lifelong Learning Program. (This means I will graduate with zero student debt!)

…paid off $2,300 of credit card debt.

…saved $481 in an Emergency Fund.

…saved $50 in my very first travel fund.

…ran my first (and not my last) 5K.

…lost 9 lbs.

…landed my dream internship at the best personal finance site for women.

…started writing a bi-weekly column on a fantastic career website for women.

…was happy. Well, by the end, anyway.

Tell me the highlights of your year. :)