January Budget & Goals for 2015

January 2, 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?

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods January 2, 2015 at 4:21 am

    Woohoo! You’ve got me fired up now too! Sounds like you have an awesome slate of plans and goals. Love it! I like how carefully you’ve mapped out your plan to achieve each goal–sometimes I’m guilty of just writing goals down without any actual action steps…

    I embraced turning 30 last year and, in my opinion, my 30s are my best decade yet (granted I’ll only be 31 in March), but still. I feel like I have a good sense of what’s in store. Being confident and really not caring what other people think are two great attributes of being older, in my experience.

    I’m excited for your plan to join a yoga studio! Maybe you’ll be able to find one like mine that’ll let you swap working a shift for free classes :). One of my shifts is literally just taking out the studio trash, which takes 5 minutes and nets me a free 90 minute hot yoga class! Here’s to a fabulous 2015!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Weren’t the early 20s just so unnecessarily stressful!? Maybe that’s just me. 27-29 have been pretty great, though, which proves your theory that things only get better as we get older. So yea, I can wear 30 with pride… in 6 more months. :P

      And I’ll have to see what I can do re: free yoga! I’m going to try a studio that offers 10 days for $10, when I get back from Toronto on the 18th.

  • Young Millennial January 2, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Our frugal vacation for this year is to see more of our own country as well. The goal is to just get in the car one day and drive west looking for cheap hotels to stay at through mobile apps like we did in Vietnam in 2014. We are planning on a 14 day trip from Toronto to Vancouver and back in the summer. Our back-up plan is Toronto to Halifax if work and/or life gets in the way.

    Hope you accomplish everything on the list.

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Ahhhh, a road trip would be amazing! I’d love to do that, but would be slightly more comfortable having someone with me than going alone. Maybe that’s another goal for the list: find someone who wants to go on a road trip, lol.

      Anyway, sounds awesome! Can’t wait to hear which route you choose.

  • Alicia January 2, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Oh man, you’ve got me totally jazzed about 2015! I would definitely read your book, by the way :) You’ve got a built-in audience already with your loyal blog readers.

    As for other provinces to explore… might I suggest NS? :) You already have enough friends here and we’ll show you a good time, promise.

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      Woooo! Get excited, Alicia! You’re going to be DEBT-FREE this year!

      And NS is definitely on the list. :)

      • Trista January 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

        Maybe I could meet up with you both in NS. Ha ha.

        • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm

          Trista! Yes! You’d better :D

  • C@thesingledollar January 2, 2015 at 5:44 am

    I am excited that you are so excited! I’m a little overwhelmed by my long to-do list but this makes me eager to tackle it :) And yeah, being in your 30s is actually pretty good. Your emotions settle down some (for the most part) and you feel a little freer from the insecurities of your 20s. As I hit my *late* thirties (I’ll be 36 in a month) things have gotten a little tougher — it feels like it’s time to make some major life decisions that I’d been putting off — but it’s still better than being 25!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Way better than being 25, I imagine. You couldn’t pay me to go back in time, hehe.

      Good luck with your goals!

  • Jessica January 2, 2015 at 6:52 am

    This is just the post that I needed to read this morning. I’ve been struggling with this year’s goals – even though I have plenty of lofty ideas in mind. Today, I’m going to create a plan to achieve them and hold myself accountable. Thank you!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Woo hoo! That’s awesome, Jessica. Happy it helped – and good luck!

  • J January 2, 2015 at 7:33 am

    What great goals! So excited to see your progress this year! I’m so ready for 2015 too – bring it on!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      We got this. :)

  • moneystepper January 2, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Nice goals Cait!

    If you are looking for even more accountability and support, you could submit those goals to the Moneystepper 2015 Savings Challenge.

    Equally, if you make it to France or the UK, then let me know if you need any advice on places to see/visit when over here!

    Have a great 2015 and good luck!! :)

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      I will do just that. Thanks, Graham!

  • Leanne January 2, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I am so excited to finally meet you in NYC Cait! My year is going to include a whole lot MORE travel than last and I am absolutely fine with that. It’s going to be a good one xx

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      SO EXCITED! It’s been a long time coming. :)

  • Rob January 2, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Impressive goals for 2015, Cait! Looks like a busy year ahead for you, my friend. As for us, continuing on with our multi-year house upgrade / maintenance program, this year we plan to replace some window blinds in our house as well as replace the old roof shingles. Investment-wise, 2014 was a good year (despite the economy’s periodic ups and downs) so we plan to “stay the course” for 2015 in our investment / budget strategy.

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Those projects sound easy, in comparison to all the painting you did last year! Walk in the park, really. :P

  • Christa January 2, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I’m taking on a new challenge every month this year and my first is no shopping in January. This was partially inspired by you! It’s kind of a post-holiday wallet diet. I’m also working on using a blogging calendar/schedule for the first time as I write about these challenges.

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      One challenge per month sounds awesome! I think I’m going to do 3-4 in total, but we’ll see. Good luck with the ban! Keep yourself busy, and reward yourself (with something that doesn’t cost money) when you don’t give into the desire to shop, and it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

  • Jacquie January 2, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Cait! I would read your book and give it to all my friends.

    Good luck with all your goals, I have no doubt that you’ll achieve them all! I’ve been flipping back and forth between a long list of goals and no goals at all. I think I accomplish more when I don’t have any pressure to do it, if that makes sense!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      You are the sweetest, Jacquie. And I’ll remember that. ;) (Teasing)

      And it totally makes sense. Some of these are things I know I will do, it’s just nice to put them down on paper (err, online). Good luck with whatever you decide to do! And another walk is in order soon.

  • ARBM January 2, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Your enthusiasm is contagious! Just reading your post got me all excited about my goals and everything I want to accomplish in 2015 as well!
    Good luck with all your goals! I have no doubt you will have an amazingly successful and productive year and am really looking forward to following along.

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Contagious – I’m starting to like that word. So happy my enthusiasm is coming through here! Good luck with all YOUR goals. :)

  • L January 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Looking forward to all the posts on your new ideas! I am also turning 30 this year and I’ve been feeling very reflective but like you I am reading to see what the new decade will bring!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Oh man, I haven’t even come to grips with the fact that it’s a whole new decade, haha… 10 years!? Well, we can embrace the first one, anyway. ;)

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore January 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Wow! So many lofty goals this year, you must be on a roll :) Good luck to you! Can’t wait to see how it all turns out :)

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks, Kayla!

  • Bridget January 2, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    30 is going to be the best, I can’t even wait.

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      And you only just turned 29!

  • J. Money January 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    HAH! DO IT!!!! DC will love you and so will my arms!! :)

    Great list and even better motivation my dear. That’s what I like to see!!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Wahoo! It’s all in the works. Or as I keep telling people… $HIT IS HAPPENING THIS YEAR!

  • Holly January 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Let’s do some yoga together!!!!!

    • Cait Flanders January 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      YES! LET’S!

  • Amanda January 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Can’t wait to hear more about the book you are writing!

  • Leslie Beslie January 3, 2015 at 5:55 am

    I love the goal to write a book! What type of book, fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Adult/Children’s/Young Adult? Do you have an outline? Will you self-publish or try to find an agent/editor? I’ve looked into this a ton and am also working on one (adult, novel, literary fiction) :) The general recommended word count pre-editing is 200K-300K words, assuming up to half will be cut out in editing. So your final book would be 100K-150K words. I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with mine but I enjoy the process of writing fiction and now editing it. Developing characters is really interesting!

  • Kristen January 3, 2015 at 6:54 am

    I started my 30s in a great place but my late 30s have not been my favourite. 3 and a half years ago there was an incident in my life that left me with PTSD. While ‘the worst’ of it is behind me (and was after a few months) as I have been setting my goals for the year I realize there is still a PTSD shadow on my life. This year as the big 4-0 looms mid year, my goal is to feel good. Besides budget goals, stretching more, I hope to find things that make me feel good (like taking a writing class, working less, and having more fun). I am also using my training as a behaviour analyst to change my own behaviour!

    I wish you the best of luck with all your goals!

  • Aleksandra Sagan January 3, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Your goals sound great! Good luck with the $15K for long-term savings :)

    I have one similar goal to you, but I planned it out on my 28th birthday in September: to finish a book I’m writing. Much like you, it’s okay if it doesn’t end up being on the NYTimes best-seller list. But I want to follow through and finish it by my 29th birthday.

  • Lisa January 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Let me know what you think of floatation therapy! I’ve only heard great things.