2015 was a year of transition. My husband and I made some big changes in our lives (that I outlined in my net worth update) and that meant I was pretty conservative with my 2015 goals. I planned to save just $11,000 this year. I set this conservative amount because I didn’t want to set any goals I couldn’t keep.
Fortunately, the year ended up going very well, so I blew my financial goals out of the water in a major way. Let’s have a look at the goals I set for 2015.
Accumulate $14,000 in My Retirement Fund
I started out January 2015 with $7,163 in my retirement fund. I’d only been saving for retirement for a year at that point. In the first three month’s of the year, my husband was unemployed and we were living on a crash budget. That meant there was no room for savings, and we were running a budget deficit of $100 per week.
Fortunately, I made enough money freelancing that I was able to contribute my usual $500 per month to this account, even when my husband was unemployed. After he got a job, I used a “set it and forget it” mentality with this goal, and continued saving $500 per month. At the end of the year, I wasn’t quite at the $14,000 mark because the stock market was being an *%!, so I added an additional $211 to reach this goal. Easy peasy.
Save $5,000 in My “Future” Fund
I’ve since come to call this account my house fund (which you can see in the sidebar), even though I may need to use the contents to replace my aging car. I started calling it my house fund because those words are much more motivating than the vague “future” fund.
I started out 2015 with $0 in this account. I had saved over $5,000 in 2014 to cover our moving costs to Halifax and an undefined period of unemployment for my husband, but I wasn’t ready to repurpose that money until he found a job. That happened in early March, and by the end of March, I had moved $4,577 into that account as a base for the year’s contributions.
I also received my income tax return in March for $1,439. Several years ago I got into the habit of putting 100% of my tax return towards my financial goals. It had always stung a little, as I said goodbye to the possibility of a new couch, TV, or other consumer good, but as the years went by it got easier and easier. This year it didn’t hurt at all, and I deposited it into my TFSA to boost my house fund. At the end of March, the balance was $6,016.
I could’ve stopped there. After all, I achieved my goal for the year right? Yes, but that goal is part of a larger goal to save $45,000 – $50,000 for a house down payment, so I kept chugging away, making deposits from our joint budget every week and throwing the majority of my freelance income into that account as well.
In May, I took advantage of the now-discontinued New Brunswick Tuition Rebate for the last time. That netted me an additional $3,568, which I again deposited 100% into this account, bringing the balance to $11,858. I’m sad I won’t be able to take advantage of that rebate next year. It was a huge help for me on my financial journey.
(bows head for a moment of silence to mourn the passing of free money.)
After the end of May, there were no more “big” deposits. I budgeted $500 per month from our joint budget into this account, and every time I was able to find a savings opportunity in our budget, I’d funnel the extra cash into boosting that amount (it’s now up to $614 per month). Every extra paycheque I received went into this account as well. Finally, a significant portion of my freelance income went into the house down payment fund.
I ended 2015 with $16,873 in my house down payment fund or 331% of the original 2015 goal of $5,000. That might seem like a huge win, but it’s less than half of what I want to save overall, so there is still a lot of ground to cover.
Professional Development Goals
I also set a few professional development goals for the year. I didn’t accomplish all of them, which I blame on my hectic freelancing schedule, but I’m going to make them a priority in 2016.
Become Hubspot Certified
I’m level 1 certified, but there are higher levels and I’m going to attack those in 2016.
Renew My Google Analytics Certification
This is a big fail. I think I started the process about five times. No excuses.
Get Google AdWords Certified
I didn’t accomplish this goal either!
Take Three Ladies Learning Code Workshops
Pass! This one was easy because these workshops are always a blast!
Find an Additional Source of Side Hustle Income
This one is a big fat yes. I found my sources, but I still have some work to do before they become truly viable.
In the past 12 months, I managed to save $19,140. That’s not as much as last year ($23,000) but it’s a great baseline for what is possible in my new city and with my new budget (and two and a half months of living on one income). I’m so excited to share my goals for 2016 with you, it’s going to be a great year!
Did you set any goals in 2015? Did you achieve them? I want to know!