2016 in Review: Financial Goals

At the beginning of 2016 I laid out 4 financial goals for 2016:
(I will label them 1 to 4 here, but they were actually goals 3 to 6 for 2016.  You can see a review of the rest of my goals for 2016 here and here…)

  1. Emergency Fund at $10,000
  2. Save for Planned Spending
  3. Net Worth & Retirement Savings
  4. Mortgage Renewal & Account Consolidation

And, though I didn’t give if an official goal, I also had the goal of keeping our monthly spending under the monthly average of 2015.  So, for the purpose of this review, we will give that the number 5.

5. Keep Monthly Spending Under $7700

I’ve reviewed them often enough throughout the year in my monthly financial updates, but here’s the year-end final review. Continue reading

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2016 in Review: My Misc. Goals

Happy New Year!  And, another delayed post… Holidays and schedules really don’t mix… I hope you had a great new year’s eve and had a fun time welcoming in the new year.  Hopefully I’ll be more successful this year in keeping my Tuesday/Thursday schedule.  Anyway… 

I went over Goal #1 & Goal #2 for 2016 in my last post, and I’m leaving my financial goals (Goals #3 to #6) for later in the week when I can get actual year-end numbers, so that leaves the last 4 goals to review… the random miscellaneous goals… So, let’s quickly go over these now that 2016 has ended so I can move on to my goals for 2017.

Goal #7 – Visit 1 Family Member per Month

As I mentioned when I started this goal at the beginning of the year, I figured that this goal would be pretty easy and fun to do.  I did a mid-year update on this goal in June.  I felt good about it at that point.  Since then, I have done at least one family related thing each month.  Some months a bit more.  So I totally met this goal.  I am not sure exactly what I was exactly hoping for with this goal in terms of feeling, but even though the numbers show I was successful, sometimes I feel like my intention wasn’t quite there or that I took the easy route, rather than actually take this challenge and roll with it.  But we will call this goal a success in any case. Continue reading

2016 in Review: My Bullet Journal

This post was supposed to go up yesterday… but, well, it didn’t… Here it is a day late… 

2016 was the year I started my bullet journal.  Okay, if we get technical, I experimented with it briefly during the holidays in 2015 so that I would have a better idea of what I liked for the start of 2016, but really it was started in earnest in 2016.

For my first two goals of 2016 I was basically wanting to start using a bullet journal in earnest to organize my life and to also create good habits.  So, while these “goals” were only #1 and #2 on my list of goals, and #1 was really vague and not “SMART”, goal #2 actually consisted of various goals that grew and changed over the year.

Goal #1 – Bullet Journaling

To review this goal for a specific pass/fail type result would be very difficult because, as I mentioned already, it was not a “SMART” goal, so I had no definition of the end result.  However, I have indeed stuck with my bullet journaling and can definitely say that I feel it has helped me stay organized and focused, as much as is possible with a scatterbrain like myself.  (Ooh, shiny!)

I reviewed my bullet journal set up, back in September, and honestly it hasn’t changed much, and I don’t foresee any major changes in the near future because it is working for me.  I don’t think that “using my bullet journal” will be a goal for 2017, but it will be what helps me keep with my goals and I am definitely not going to stop, so I figured I’d give it another review for the end of the year… Continue reading

December 2016 Financial Update

Here it is, the last month of 2016.  I can’t believe how fast time flies by… Does that make me sound old?  I feel old.  Ha ha ha!  In any case, it is time to do the last financial update before the new year.  This is the last month for me to get all my financial goals completed… Fingers crossed, right?

November Spending

The goal is to be below the average from last year of $7700, but November came in at $8800… We are over again… But all hope is not lost… Because of the low spending months at the beginning of the year, if we keep December spending under $5700 we could average about the same over the year… Of course, everyone knows that December is the spendy-est month of the year, so I’m not exactly expecting success on this front.  Anyway…  This total includes our mortgage, utilities and normal monthly costs, but doesn’t count special spending that we saved up for (planned spending as I call it).

november-2016-spending

We once again had some extra mortgage expenses that I wasn’t totally expecting because I didn’t really take a good look at the dates…  We took both the dog and one of the cats to the vet this month, so that was a bit of a bigger expense, and we also got life insurance on both myself and my husband now, so we started the monthly payments on that this month.  (Hmmm… Should I do a post about our life insurance?)  And another reason for the higher expenses is that we started buying Christmas gifts and we sent some gifts to family overseas.

Last year, November was another very frugal month for us (lowest month in 2015!).  We came in just over $6000.  But as I mentioned in the last update, I was away for work for a lot of October and November last year, so I am not sure that it is truly representative of our lifestyle or just a fluke…

And now for a quick recap of my finance-related goals for 2016:

Continue reading

My Mortgage Renewal – Part 2

mortgage-part-2

Earlier this week I posted the first part of this process, which was going through the original plan and seeing what I did or didn’t actually complete.  I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  I actually did do most of the list!

But, that post didn’t cover any of the specific details of our renewal, so I promised I would share that in another post.  So let’s get to it.

First up, let’s do a little background.  My husband and I bought our house in the December of 2013.  We bought it the first day on the market and though we paid slightly over asking price, we asked for a long closing time because we had to sell my townhouse and I still think we got a great deal.  So we moved in to the house in March of 2014.

The house itself was pretty clean, well maintained and livable, but definitely not updated.  We had big dreams of renovations, but had to wait a while before we could fund anything major.  But even without any updates to the house, the market has done what the market has done, and the value of the house has increased substantially. Continue reading

My Mortgage Renewal – Part 1

mortgage

As I’ve mentioned since the beginning of the year, our mortgage was up for renewal November 1st.  Well that date has come and gone, so you might be wondering what happened?

Way back in February I put together a plan of 17 steps to follow in preparation of everything that I thought we’d need and want to do before the renewal.  We didn’t exactly follow the plan, but we did do quite a bit…

  1. Discuss the plan with my husband.
    I’m not totally sure that I actually shared the full plan with him at any point, but we did discuss all the things we wanted to do as preparation for the renewal.  So… Done!
  2. Research Bank Accounts.
    I did do some research for bank accounts, and posted about it… so… Done!
  3. Ask Current Bank About Cancellation Fees.
    Yeah, I never really did that… And it didn’t really matter because we waited until the end to get our new mortgage, so we didn’t need to worry about the cancellation fees… Not Done, but OK.
  4. Ask Current Bank About Property Tax Account
    I asked my current bank and they informed me that whatever cash is left in that fund would be rolled in to the payout amount, and that my new mortgage would have to start from scratch if we choose to go with the same set up.  So… Done!
  5. Research Advertised Mortgage Rates at Some of the Major Banks
    Thanks to Jordann at My Alternate Life, I learned about RateHub.ca and did quite a bit of research through them to figure out what the going rates were.  Another one Done!
  6. Visit 2-3 Banks/Brokers to Discuss Options for Mortgages Continue reading

November 2016 Financial Update

October was a crazy month… Lots going on and so it flew by while I struggled to keep up with life… As such, the blog fell to the side and I only published a few posts.  But, here we are in a new month, so time for another financial update.

October Spending

After successfully bringing our spending down in September, we have come back up again for October.  The goal is to be below the average from last year of $7700, but October came in at $8300… This total includes our mortgage, utilities and normal monthly costs, but didn’t count special spending that we saved up for (planned spending as I call it).

october-2016-spending

Because of the mortgage renewal process that we are finishing up right now, we had some one time expenses related to the mortgage, so that category is up a bit from normal… That of course will level out again for another 5 years of consistent payments after this month.  The other category that was crazy high was our food & drink spending.  Lots of eating out… Bad us!  Hopefully we can bring November down because you know December is always an expensive month.

Continue reading