Hi guys, we are a third into 2016 and I believe I promised you a progress post about how my financial goals are going so far. So here goes!
By the way, here’s the original post I wrote in January, 2016 declaring what my goals are for this year: 2016 Financial Goals
1. Save up a down payment for our first house.
At the beginning of the year, I had saved up $17,000 in my RRSP so I can take advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan.
In January, I also took out a loan for $8,000 to put into my RRSP. That bumped the balance up to $25,000 for the HBP (the max I can borrow from my RRSP for a first house down payment).
Borrowing that money for down payment was a super risky move! With the help of the advisor I was working with, this loan was borrowed as a deferred-interest loan meaning that for the first 6 months, it wouldn’t be accruing interest and I wouldn’t be required to make payments on this loan. This would be a stupid move for most people, so I would advise against it! (I’m thinking the advisor probably received a good commission from this too which was why he suggested it.)
The only reason I went through with this plan is because I still had tuition credits from my university education for the 2015 tax year – we expected a big enough return to cover most of the loan which meant that I will have it paid off within the 6 months before interest starts accruing on it and I’m required to start making monthly payments. At the time, I thought it was a smart move.
Worst case scenario, if I didn’t receive at least $8,000 from my tax refund to pay back this loan, we had enough in our emergency fund to cover this debt now.
Well after filing my taxes, I’m hoping to receive about $6,000 from my return. This will be used to pay off that $8,000 loan (plus another $2,000 from our emergency fund) and may be the last time I’ll do something like this again.
To help make it up to our 10% down payment goal, over the first four months of the year, my partner and I managed to sock away another $6,500. This is sitting in our EQ Bank making 2.25% in interest.
Also, after discussing numbers with my partner, we decided to use our emergency fund to add to our house down payment as well. Once we reach our $45,000 goal (10% of our target purchase price + closing costs), we will start replenishing our emergency fund again.
Total to date = $40,300 for down payment
2. Put another $12,000 towards my student loans.
I formulated (ooh fancy word) a plan to pay off the rest of my $40,578 student loan: here’s my plan if you wanted to read (or borrow some of my tactics! 😉 ).
By the end of April, I anticipated to have paid another $4,000 towards these loans.
Over the last four months, I was able to squeeze more money out of my budget by doing this one thing – every time I saved money elsewhere, I made sure to apply those savings on my debt. For example, when I went out to dinner with a friend and she offered to pay for it, I put the money I didn’t spend on dinner towards my debt. Or when I skipped a night out to a social event, the money I saved by not going out went straight to my loans. I did this every time I was able to save money from other spending.
Those extra $10 or $20 payments added up and I was able to put more than the $4,000 I had planned towards my loans. I’ve also been working more night shifts at my job as a Registered Nurse which allowed me to make more money to put towards my loans. (we get paid extra for working nights and weekends)
Total repayment to student loans to date = $5,077
I must add that paying at least $1,000 every month towards my student loans has become easy to do after doing this for over 7 months now. As I mentioned before, I’m grateful for my student loans because it has taught me to live on less every month. I don’t even notice that $1,000 anymore – just that my student loan balance is coming down!
3. Travel plans in 2016.
We have budgeted $4,000 for our month-long trip to the Philippines (with possibly a week spent somewhere else in Asia) and another $1,000 towards our Vegas trip in June to the Electric Daisy Carnival – a huge rave party.
At the end of April, we were able to scrape together our goal! Phew, what a relief! I was afraid that with our other goals (the two biggest ones above), we wouldn’t be able to save this money in time.
Total saved for Travel = $5,000
As for the rest of the year, we haven’t solidified further travel plans – although both Raf and I don’t list ‘travel’ high on our financial priorities at this point in our wealth-building journey. We find that there’s plenty of opportunities to explore our city and surrounding beauties to satiate our “travel itch” for now.
4. Save up tuition for CFP courses.
With our down payment goal, travel budget goal AND student loan payments, I wasn’t as aggressive with this one.
Every time I got paid, I just transferred $100 to a separate savings account (my EQ Bank account!). Also, I recently paid for an online writing course with the money I already had saved in this account. I now have a total of just over $1,000 in that account.
Total saved for Education = $1,080
I did reach out to a CFP program in Calgary and asked them questions and did some research online – I’ve narrowed down my choices to two programs! As I suspected, job shadowing was near impossible due to the sensitive nature of information exchanged between advisor and clients… bummer!
5. Expansion of the Smart Woman Blog
Oh man, how can I even quantify how much I’ve learned just by running this website?
I can count how many hours I’ve spent (which has been a lot this year alone) between my full-time shift work and personal life and fitness goals and sleeping – but it wouldn’t be enough to express to you how much work, stress and how rewarding it has been to keep the Smart Woman Blog up!
If we’re looking at numbers alone, my traffic, social media followers and email list subscribers have steadily increased – higher than where I was at this time last year. So I know I’m on an upward growth trend and I’m happy with my progress.
I’m not drawing income from this website – nor am I sure that that’s what I want to turn this into. I’m just still trying to figure out my money stuff! 😛
Anyways, I’m just so glad you guys have chosen to stick around with me as the Smart Woman Blog continues to grow. As long as I know you guys are out there reading and listening and working to improve your own financial lives, I’m here to stay. Your lovely comments, emails and messages are fuel to my work (thank you, thank you, thank you XoXo).