2013: The Year of Possibilities

I had originally written out my goals for 2013 as a list but, after writing out the different areas of my life that I changed in 2012, I decided to place my goals in those same categories: finances, career, travel, health and this blog.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that a number of goals could crossover into more than one category. That is… if I can accomplish them all!

2013 is the year I will become debt-free. My goal is to pay off the last of my loans before June 7th, two years from the day I was maxed out. Seeing as that goal is only five months away, it is the top priority in my financial life. Any extra money I get from now until then will be put towards debt, including my tax return, which I’m hoping will be another $2K+.

As soon as my debt is paid off, I’m going into savings mode. It’s crazy to imagine that one day I will have an extra $750+/month to put into various savings accounts. My first savings goal is to boost my Emergency Fund to $5,000; to do that, I will need to save an extra $3,400. After that, I want to increase my RRSP contributions and start thinking about saving for a down payment.

Stealing a sentence from Chris Guillebeau, I want to make writing the most important thing I do all year. I have already accepted two freelance jobs, which could potentially bring in an extra few hundred dollars each month, and am currently working on setting up a second blog that showcases my writing, lists my services, and offers packages for blog management.

To help myself become both a better writer and a better manager, I’m going to start reading again this year. I say “reading again” because I basically stopped reading for pleasure when I was in school. Since getting a Kobo for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) I’ve already finished one book. Any books that are blogging, managing, marketing, SEO and money-related should watch out! (Got any recommendations?)

Travel is one area that is seriously up in the air, this year. I have drafted a post about it for next week but I’m in… well, a number of weddings this year. So far, I’m attending four, I’m a bridesmaid in three, and there’s a chance I’ll be in another (the date hasn’t been finalized yet). Are you starting to see why I put a “Weddings” savings account in this month’s budget?

So, there’s that. Then, like my New York City goal in 2012, I’m not sure this will be possible… but I would love to go to San Francisco this year, so I can cross it off my bucket list (and visit all my friends, in the process!). I would also like to go to #FinCon13. Oh, and there are a some lovely ladies who are harassing me about going to Florida in May. Who knows where I’ll end up travelling this year!

Even though my health hasn’t been a top priority these past few months, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten about it. My biggest health goal for 2013 is simple: I want to get back on track with meal planning. This includes doing big grocery shops, being a healthier vegetarian, and trying a few new recipes every month. It also includes less takeout (and far fewer trips to Starbucks).

As for my weight, I may have lost 24 lbs. last year, but I’d like to lose another 17 lbs. this year. In general, I’d probably be on cloud nine, if I was anywhere near the 160’s… but I’m going to make 165 lbs. my goal weight for 2013. Along with meal planning, getting back into running (and maybe entering a couple 5K’s and 10K’s) should help me reach this goal.

Oh, Blonde on a Budget. I haven’t forgotten about you. To go along with my goal of making writing the most important thing I do all year, I have a number of goals for this blog. First, I want to write and maintain an editorial calendar each month. Second, I want to start a series of posts that helps readers. And third, I want to start guest posting in our community more and more.

My last goal for 2013 is going to sound crazy. Before the year ends, I want to take (and pass) the Investment Funds in Canada (IFC) course. Yes, it’s for people who want to sell mutual funds. But I’m lucky in that I have two close friends who have taken the course and both say I will not only learn how to be a better investor but it will help me become a better personal finance blogger.

Secretly (very secretly), I would love to take all of the course requirements to get my Personal Financial Planner (PFP) designation. But I don’t have the work experience required, in order to be certified. So, I’ll start with one course for now and see if I even pass! If not, at least I’ll have a massive textbook full of knowledge that I can pass onto all of you.

And that’s that! My outline for a year of possibilities. If you’re lost on what I mean by “possibilities,” try to imagine who I was even a year ago… honestly, accomplishing any of these goals seems crazy and foreign to me. But I’m not who I was a year ago, nor am I the girl who maxed herself out two years ago. It’s time to see what I can do next.

What is the “craziest” thing you want to accomplish in 2013?

Image: Chris James

  • Wow that’s a lot of weddings! They can get expensive! Good luck with your goals. Hmm craziest? I’m not sure any of mine are crazy, but I would say one that is something I haven’t even come close to doing yet is making money off my blog. That would be cool!

  • Excellent 2013 possibilities to strive for, Cait!

    And I’m sure that you’ll really enjoy your Kobo e-reader as I enjoy my Kindle. I rarely spend money in bookstores anymore since I know of some net sites where I can download lots of free stuff to read. Email me if you want a link or two.

    As for your weight loss goal, I’m sure that you will succeed in losing 1 or 2 pounds a month and easily reach your target. Diet, exercise, calorie maintenance. The trick is to find creative tasty but effective recipes to try out.

    As to the “craziest” thing that I want to accomplish this year? Quite simple actually – try and cope financially despite the risks that I read about everyday in the global economy (especially relating to the long term issues in U.S. and Europe). If I can manage to maintain my current financial position by this time next year then I’ll be a happy camper! :-)

    • I would love a link or two!

      And I think that’s a great goal for 2013. I can only imagine how much more there is to think about, when you’re retired. So, good luck to you, Rob!

  • Great goals for 2013! I think they are definitely doable.

    I took the courses you mentioned above (they were for my job at the time) and I think the ICF course is a good one to start with for investments but it really is only mutual funds. The Canadian Securities Course is more indepth and is about bonds, stocks, mutual funds, and more advanced investment products.

    Right now I’m saving for a house in my RRSP so I’m just in a bond fund but when I start saving for retirement, I will definitely going back to the info I learned in those courses to help me invest better.

    Good luck and all the best in 2013!

    • I’ve looked at CSC but… well, I just don’t have $1,400 to take it, haha. So I figure I’ll start small and see if I can handle the math (honestly, and not surprisingly, I’m not good at it).

      Sounds like you have a great goal for this year. Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!

  • Great post! Once again very inspiring. I think I would have some related goals, but I’ve decided to hold off until I’m done school in July.

    I think the craziest thing I plan to accomplish this year is not logging into Facebook for six months. I say “crazy” because I’m already learning it’s harder than I thought. I’m curious to see how much more time I have and am looking forward to improving my use of other forms of communication.

    Looking forward to hearing progress updates on your goals!

    • Carolin, finishing school is a huge goal in itself! That was one of mine for last year and I was so so so happy when I was finally done. I can’t wait until you cross the finish line. :)

      I quit Facebook for about 8 months last year and I can promise you there will come a day where your fingers stop automatically typing “f-a-c-e-” every time you open a browser!

  • I’m so happy for you that you will be debt free this year! My two major goals are:

    1.) fitness: run my 4th marathon – complete in under 3.5 hours
    2.) finances: continue our DMP, actually SAVE money in a SAVINGS account. :)

    happy 2013!

    • You’re going to do another marathon!? YES! I can’t wait to creepily follow you online again, bahaha! Happy New Year, Travis :)

  • I wouldn’t call it harassing, more like firmly nudging! :) Lol

    It will be so awesome when pay off your debts so you can travel more. And I definitely think you need to go to San Francisco – that city stole my heart and I think you’ll love it too! I’m hoping to get my passport renewed this year so I can visit a special someone in Canada. Also, super excited about FinCon13 – you HAVE to come!

    • Ooo, I think I know who a special someone is! DO IT! And I definitely want to go to #FinCon13. Roomies again!? I think so.

  • Awesome! I definitely need to start eating healthier this year and my boss at work has suggested that I take the CSC – you may want to look into that as well. The best part is, they’ll pay for it ;)

    • Well, I don’t think mine will pay for it, haha… but that’s amazing for you! If I had $1,400, I would probably take that instead of IFC. Ahh well. Cheers to us for trying ;)

  • Wow, those sounds like some great goals. At the moment my only plans for 2013 are to go to Thailand, roadtrip to California and finally visit Disneyland (never been), get married, and possibly move to Toronto. Cheers!

  • That’s awesome you’re going to be debt free this year! We paid off my final student loans last January and it was a great feeling. Now all the debt we have is our mortgage, which we’re in no hurry to pay off. We really don’t have any crazy goals for this year. Our biggest one is to hopefully fully fund a SEP IRA for our business. It has higher contribution limits so we hope to be able to take advantage of it.

    • Nice! I wonder if there will ever be a day where I need an account that has a higher contribution limit, haha. Happy New Year, John!

  • Craziest? I want to replenish my emergency savings while at the same time I finish renovating my home. I’d like to get it to a market ready state, because I’m mulling over some changes in my life.

    I’m excited that you’re taking a bunch of financial planning courses! I’m looking forward to the outcome :D

  • Wow – that looks like a nice, big, long list. I wish you all the best. That’s fantastic that you’ve got some freelance work lined up, it will help you knock several of your goals off :-)

  • This list of goals looks heavenly to me! Seriously I would love to be able to accomplish all of those things this year. My big goals this year are pay off my student loans ($11,752 to go), get married, and run a half marathon. The last two I’m going to accomplish in the first half of the year, and the second half of the year I’m devoted to my professional/blog development (which are starting to overlap more and more). If you come across any good books about digital marketing, let me know! I want to make that my niche and I need to start developing my skills accordingly.

    Another great post as usual!

    • Ooo, I will definitely let you know if I come across anything good! And you should be super pumped about your goals for this year, especially wiping out your student loans. :D

  • Sounds to me like you have a good idea where you are heading in 2013 or where you would like to head. I’m sure the weight loss will be a breeze for you as you’ve done so well. Never give up and one thing that always helps me and call me crazy is I talk to myself, I motivate myself. I tell myself you have to go for a run, you don’t need that chocolate, drink 8 glasses of water, write that blog post. If you challenge yourself you will get there. Keep at it mate!! Mr.CBB

    • I talk to myself all the time! That’s what happens when you live alone (or Roomie is away). I also think that’s why people get pets: so it looks like they are talking to their pets, when really they are still talking to themselves. :P

  • Achieving personal goals, especially when that improves another’s life, is so amazing. Got my 1st ebook sale of 2013; how it affected someone’s life nearly made me cry – and I’m a guy!

  • Craziest thing – bank ALL of J’s income in 2013. Including the two “bonus” paychecks he gets a year (we budget for 2 paychecks/month from him, but sometimes he gets 3 in a month based on the way the calendar falls). And bank our tax return too.

    He works for a non-profit, so it won’t actually be THAT much money…but it will be about 40% of our net income. I hope we can do it! The money will go toward bulking up our emergency fund, our NYC trip in May, and then maybe a little bit will start our house fund. The more I think about being financially responsible, the more I think we should save a full 20% on a down payment before we buy a house. Which will take us at least 3 more years, considering we have to bulk our e-fund first. Wah.

    We have gotten a little lax on the reins on spending, especially now that we’re debt free, so it’s time to buckle back down and start SAVING rather than paying on debt!

    • I have total faith in you and J surviving on your income alone. First, because I know what amazing savers you two can be! So don’t beat yourself up about having a lax couple of months… everyone deserves some fun, especially after working as hard as you two did this year. Second, I know you love accomplishing your goals. You guys became debt-free this year! That is huge, A. Now it’s time to let the savings begin :) xo

  • Really love this list, Cait! I would be willing to guess that the lifting of the weight of debt will trump any actual pounds you lose. I imagine that when I’m out of debt, I’ll feel like a balloon tied to the ground.

  • Hi Cait!

    Love your site. You have inspired me to write my own finance website! It’s has NOT launched yet, but you can see the pre-release at www dot youngwithmoney dot com (I still have a lot of design work to do, and a lot of writing to do.

    I would love it if you wanted to link each others sites on the blogroll (Only if you like my site). My site is a little different than yours. Its not a personal goal site, (as I have no debt to get rid of) but its an educational site for those who have no clue about young adult finance. I can share my lessons and things I’ve learned while working in a Bank.

    Hope you can take a quick look – But please remember it is not final by any means. I don’t have a logo, or layout picked yet. and my articles are all still offline on my computer!

    Thanks, hope you like the content!

    • Hey Cody,

      Thank you so much for your comments here! I think your blog is off to a great start and it’s refreshing to see someone your age care so much about educating others on the importance of personal finances.

      Keep it up!

  • I just wanted to say that I’m so proud to call you my friend. You’ve made a lot of progress this past year to becoming the person you are today, and I’m seriously in awe of you. Good luck with your 2013 resolutions! I know you’re going to rock them!

  • Awesome goals! As per usual you have inspired me and now I am going to write my goals down to make them concrete instead of just ideas floating around in my head!

    Also- kudos to you on saving up for all the weddings! I’ve been a bridesmaid twice now and it can get super $$$$$$ between the dresses, accessories, hair/makeup, bridal showers, stagettes, wedding presents …. etc. I didn’t have enough advance warning to save up for the last one I was in and it nearly broke me (as a student, I don’t have much financial flex room). I wish more brides were conscious of how much their weddings can affect other people financially. Anyway- good luck with all the weddings and I hope you have so much fun and very little stress being involved!

    • Yes, yes, yes! Write ’em down!

      I’m not going to lie: the number of weddings I’m in/attending really scares me (and my budget). But each one is a day I really want to be a part of… so, I guess I just need to be thankful that I’ll be out of debt this year, so I can actually afford ’em!

  • Great goals, nice balance – not all financial. If you need help getting set up with a program to help you achieve your health/fitness goals, let me know. I think too many people get financial help, but think they can make big changes to their health and fitness without any help – and we all know how many people aren’t going to the gym anymore once mid Feb rolls around. Good luck – take care. Chris

  • You’re almost debt free! I can’t wait to read the post the day after you pay your loans off. Three weddings is amazing! You’re being asked to be a bridesmaid in all of them says a lot about the quality of your friendships! Rock On! 2013 here you come.

  • Your goals for 2013 are inspiring, and I hope you achieve all of them! I’m a newbie blogger and about to be a college grad, trying to get my life together. So I think that is indeed my “craziest goal” for the year! I hope 2013 is my year, just as much as it is yours :) Best wishes!

  • Good luck on all your goals! They sound very attainable, I’m looking forward to more “help a reader” posts too.

    I have some secret goals that involve continuing education as well, but I had no idea there was even a PFP designation so I’m definitely checking out their site as well (thanks)!

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