BHAG2018

I’ve been struggling to come up with big, hairy, audacious goals. For the past two years I had all consuming goals with big payoffs ( demolishing debt and saving for big home renovations). This year the goals don’t seem as big, in keeping with my word of the year they’re more of a continuation of 2017.

Goal 1: Pay no interest on the kitchen

We’ve been saving for the last year or so to completely overhaul our kitchen. The plan was to pay cash and be totally consumer debt free. Then we learnt if we used the store credit card we’d pay no interest on cabinets, flooring and appliances for 18 months.

This allows us to purchase other items with cash and defer full payment on those pieces for a bit.

My goal is to have the kitchen paid in full by year end. My stretch goal is to have the kitchen paid in full by April. I’m not going to stress about this as if I take the year the money not going on the card is accumulating interest and will be used as a final payment.

Goal 2: Host an anniversary party

ML and I always wanted a wedding do over. As the cost of that rivals the kitchen we opted to have the kitchen done with the intent of hosting at home.

My desire to pay off the kitchen in April has a lot to do with wanting to transfer kitchen savings to party savings. We’d like to host a standing reception. Based on our wants that’s going to cost about $5,000.

This is another reason to keep the kitchen under budget as ‘leftover’ kitchen budget will be turned into party money.

Goal 3: Take time for self-care

Thanks to the concussion I learnt I can do a lot on slow days by prioritizing relaxation. Somehow an exceptional amount of work gets done but I finish the day relaxed rather than frazzled.

I need to continue prioritizing down time, less screen time and enjoying days rather than racing through them.

What are your plans for 2018?

2018 Word of the Year: Continue

Last year I discovered the concept of selecting a word of the year. I think I can still get more mileage out of the stretch but I also feel like each year deserves its own theme.

I don’t feel very prepared for 2018. Everything feels like a continuation with no truly new things on the horizon. I suppose I feel as though I’m at a stage where I can be great if I continue to do the work I started. When I use the word continue I don’t mean to purely keep doing what I was doing before. I think of it as improving upon foundations that have been set. This includes:

  • Keep attending singing lessons
  • Stay on track with my budget tools
  • Commit to my excercise program
  • Explore ways to get even closer to zero waste
  • Commit to more vegetarian meals
  • Keep up the decluttering efforts and being conscious of what we bring into our home

Do you have a word that encompasses 2017 or you would like to focus on in 2018?

Taking a Break

Image result for winter break

I’ve got the week off and I’m really trying not to overbook myself.

I started 2017 with the intent to StretchThe universe got on board and before I knew it I was given no choice but to be very gentle with myself. Not really what I was aiming for!  However, I did learn that when I prioritizing self-care things still get done. In fact, not only do a remarkable number of things get done but I feel better about them.

I’m hoping that by putting my goals out here I’ll be kind to myself and the universe will conspire to help me keep them, albeit in a less painful way.

  • Sleep in and read novels I get lost in
  • Complete my course work for a certificate I’m working towards
  • Spend leisurely time with Bunny listening to audio books
  • Shop for the last couple of appliances we need and the flooring
  • See friends/family a maximum of 4 times (or every other day on average)
  • Take candlelit hot baths
  • Move the rest of the ‘kitchen’ downstairs and set up a breakfast bar
  • Enjoy gently exercises or vigorous dance parties as the mood strikes
  • De-clutter the back basement

I’ve tried to give myself one fun ‘task’ for every work task. While I adore my friends and family, I can no longer go from party to party. Post-concussion I crave down time to balance.

Do you have time off between Christmas and New Year’s? Do you have any personal goals?

Photo from here

Home Improvement

Remember this post in March: BHAG?

Goal 1: Save for New Kitchen

We have $12,000 saved for this adventure which is awesome! We’ve been working on getting quotes in and playing with our numbers as our goal is to spend $20,000 on the kitchen.

It turns out that our goal figure is not looking terribly realistic as we aren’t handy and will be:

  • Tearing down walls
  • Adjusting electrical
  • Putting in a dishwasher into a space that’s never had one
  • Re-doing all flooring
  • Putting in all new cabinets, counter tops and drawers
  • Taking out our entire back wall and putting in a sliding door

We’ve worked diligently on opting for cabinets that are reasonably priced; I bid a bittersweet adieu to the a beautiful corner cabinet that was going to cost $3,000. I’m also taking a hard look at the appliances.

My fear is that unknown costs that people just assume you know aren’t included, such as delivery and installation fees. I’m meeting with the company again to hopefully balance out all those questions over the next week or so.

With a little luck we’ll be able to start work before the end of the year.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

So I got quotes and the driveway and it is a big job. $2,500 to rip it out and re-do. Our aim is the kitchen so we’re going to put all available money into the kitchen and keep the driveway on the back burner.

We also did a lot of updating this summer which felt great and allows me to feel like we’ve slayed our goals. I still get a thrill turning on my foyer light, seeing the paint colours and hanging out in my updated bedroom.

I’ve spent the last few months doing minimal saving to try to bring my spending back on track. It’s been a big year and I’ve had a hard time staying in the black. My overall goal is to start 2018 debt free.

 

When Dreams meet Reality

I’ve been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat!  It’s filled with amazing beats, good advice and American History so there’s lots to love. There’s one lyric that makes me think of life after debt:

aaron burr

This has been our life this year! Getting out of debt was our brand new beginning. We were going to do lots:

  • Accelerate mortgage payments
  • update the house
  • get a new kitchen
  • save for a new car
  • build our emergency fund
  • go on a vacation

All of those are great goals but let’s be honest they’re not going to happen at the same time. Once we both got debt free we really had to face reality and figure out what it is we really wanted to do.

While most of our money is going towards the kitchen we are trying to work on the other points as well. This has ended up with me feeling as though I don’t have enough. I know it’s ridiculous so when I heard that line I finally had an explanation!

When I began this blog I thought it would take me 30 months to repay my own debt. I hadn’t even considered helping ML. In less than 2 years we were both consumer debt free. That’s an awesome achievement!  However,I hadn’t emotionally prepared myself for a realistic life after debt.

This year has been a year of learning how to set realistic goals again. It’s also realizing that I still choose not to have money for certain things. Maintaining my consumer debt free life and achieving my goals means that I still have to make choices.

I don’t think I had really anticipated that. Somehow in my dreams debt free meant that I could have my cake, eat it in one sitting and not have a tummy ache. Definitely a fantasy!

The reality is that maintaining a debt free life has been very similar to living with debt. This time instead of me paying the bank with interest, I’ve been paying myself and getting interest.

Which is a pretty awesome way to live. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to redistribute my debt payment so that I can fund my new start.

 

Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

Yesterday, I went public with my crazy goal for 2017/2018.

This had me reviewing my BHAG for 2017 as they’re definitely in need of an update now.

Here’s how they’ve been adjusted:

Goal 1: Save for new kitchen

2018 is going to be our 10th wedding anniversary.We’d still love to throw a big party. In fact that’s what got the kitchen ball rolling. When we looked into a what we wanted to do we realized it was going to cost us at least $10,000.

That money seemed better spent on a kitchen, we could then host 120 people in our home for an anniversary open house. We’re willing to forgo the vacation if we can get a fantastic kitchen that allows us to entertain and actually enjoy cooking together.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

This will be the year that we fix the sinking driveway and update our light fixtures. I feel that these are two realistic goals that can easily be achieved and will make our home seem much more welcoming. I’ll give myself until May before I think about the driveway properly since it’ll be either snow or rain covered until then. The light fixtures we can begin our search in the new year. There are at least 4 that must be replaced with a couple of others that would be nice to have done.

Other Goals

While I would still love to work on my emergency fund, I’m not going to throw all my additional money into it. The aim is to not use any of the money in it for the new kitchen.

 

 

17 for 2017

Carol recently did a post that asked a surprisingly hard question: What is on your 2017 list that is fun stuff, not about debt or work etc?

I left a brief comment that I really had to think about and really doesn’t make me feel really joyful. I want a list that makes me feel like this

giphy

I don’t know about you but everything seemed to come back to some sort of goal, whether it was finance, fitness or friend related. I also have a bad habit of turning fun lists into chore lists ( reading a magazine – check!) but this time I swore it would be different.

Drum roll please! Here’s my Fun 17 for 2017:

  1. Sit around and do nothing or something (reading, daydreaming, meditating, knitting)
  2. Experiment with the funky liqueurs that I got as gifts
  3. Pamper myself – bath oils, hair treatments etc
  4. Do a tour of the national parks within a 4 hour radius
  5. Once summer comes, eat outside
  6. Sing, out loud, whenever the feeling strikes me
  7. Dance when the mood hits (that crazy woman dancing to Britney in the grocery store might be me!)
  8. Open the curtains on bright days
  9. Light candles on dreary days
  10. Keep up the zero waste goals – I feel like a rockstar when we we don’t put out lots of garbage
  11. Stay in bed as late as I want on weekends (also don’t overbook my weekends)
  12. New recipes
  13. Tea with Bunny!
  14. Aim to blog at least twice a week
  15. Hang out with ML doing something fun, last year it was walking
  16. Say no to things that  I know will be draining (yes I adore you, no I don’t want to go out)
  17. Because it is actually fun for me: see if I can increase my fun fund by spending less than I budget

How about you? What would make you crazy Kermit happy?

GIF from here

 

The Importance of Goal Setting

In her email to challenge participants, Mrs. Frugalwood referenced a post they had done which pondered if having a goal was essential for sustainable frugality. It got me thinking about my own journey.

This blog was created because I knew what I was doing wasn’t working and I wanted to track my journey. While I like to think I’m capable of making frugal choices without concrete goals, I’m not sure if that’s true. It wasn’t until I put it out there that I wanted to be debt free that I actually buckled down and got saving.

We’ve been in our home for 7 years and have always wanted a new kitchen but with it as a concrete goal I will be definitely making very frugal choices and saving towards it. I find that I can easily fall into fake frugality.

To me this is making individually frugal choices that can add up to wasting money. An early example of this is shopping grocery sales (Frugal win!) but purchasing unhealthy food or too much food and therefore wasting it (Frugal fail). My love affair with books is another example of fake frugality: I would purchase loads of books at second hand stores but as I didn’t love them they would be quickly donated. Now I only purchase books I already know that I’ll read multiple times and truly enjoy.

Do you find having goals helpful in your journey?

2017 Goal Setting

I really loved the idea of Big, Hairy Audacious Goals  and in 2016 paying off the debt to live the life we wanted was huge. Now with the consumer debt gone we want a lot of things that are all huge (new kitchen, no mortgage, vacation) and if we tackle one a year it may feel like we’re waiting forever to get to the others. So I’m taking bite sized pieces out of each of them so that we can feel good about every part of our lives.

Goal 1: Mortgage Payments

I’m going to save money every month so that at the end of 2017 I will be able to put at least an extra $1,200 towards our mortgage.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

This will be the year that we fix the sinking driveway and update our light fixtures. I feel that these are two realistic goals that can easily be achieved and will make our home seem much more welcoming. I’ll give myself until May before I think about the driveway properly since it’ll be either snow or rain covered until then. The light fixtures we can begin our search in the new year. There are at least 4 that must be replaced with a couple of others that would be nice to have done.

Goal 3: Emergency Fund

I define my emergency fund a.k.a. sky is falling account to be the account that will save us in case of job loss. I currently have 3 weeks pay (1.5 months) in that account. My aim is to save another 3 weeks pay in 2017.

I’m going to do this by throwing my budget buffer money in here starting in March.

Goal 4: Vacation/2nd Honeymoon

2018 is going to be our 10th wedding anniversary. Our wedding, while fun and the start of a fantastic chapter, was bloody stressful. We want a do-over. Sort of, we’d like to throw a big party for our friends and family and go on a vacation.

We’d also like to take a vacation out of the country that year. Knowing that this is something we’d like to do, we’re going to have to start planning and budgeting now.

 

Mini Goals

Goal 1: Conference/Vacation

I’m heading to a conference in February to a place I’ve never been before, and never intend to visit again, so I’ve tacked on a few extra days. The reason I’m never going again is because it’s frightfully expensive for me to go to this place. So expensive that the cost of adding hotel dates wiped out my vacation savings. My plan is to put leftover buffer money towards my vacation line in January and February so that I can pay for any excursions that I’d like. My aim is to return feeling relaxed and being debt free.

 

As always my overarching goal is to ensure that I stay true to myself and live a life that reflects the things that matter to me.

Are you setting goals for yourself this year?

 

Reflecting on 2016

I spent a bit of time reviewing my posts from this past year to remind myself of my plans in 2017. Boy do I have a lot of them! The really big ones that are impacting the way I craft my budget are:

So a lot of big things are on my horizon! Before delving into them I wanted to reflect on my 2016 goals and lessons. I created my first list in December 0f 2015 and then revisited them in May.Frankly, I set realistic goals for myself in 2016! I’m pleased to say that I did achieve them all: I paid off my debt, assisted ML & he’s now consumer debt free,  began my home renovation fund, and began putting more money into my emergency fund.

I also began making huge strides in being better to the environment and embracing more minimalist values. Can you believe it’s been a year since I did the me version of Project 333 ? And I’ve kept it up…well in a me way. Each month I go through all my clothes and select a month’s worth of clothing. I then pack away any clothing that didn’t make the cut or donate things that no longer suit me.

How was 2016 for you?