Okay guys, we’re two-thirds into 2016. I’ve got four more months to hustle at my following financial goals. Here’s how I’m doing so far!
(If you’re curious, here’s the post I wrote back in January, 2016 – declaring what my money goals are for the year.)
1. Save up a down payment for our first house.
So when my partner and I first decided we wanted to buy a house together, we originally wanted to save up 5% of a down payment. Why? Because this was the minimum requirement and that’s how much most people would put down for a house. We thought that’s just the way it was done.
Also, our financial advisor told us to put down 5% for the house and save the rest of our money in our RRSPs… well, more on that later! (Spoiler: We are not doing this. I see where he’s coming from and why he was suggesting this. However, the numbers look much better to us if we put down a bigger down payment up front.)
Anyways… we decided we wanted to save at least 10% of a down payment for our first house. This works out to about $42,000 to $45,000 (maximum purchase price being $450,000) but including closing fees, legal fees and moving costs, we’ll round this up to $50,000 for our goal.
So far, we have saved $47,100 of our $50,000 goal.
This was saved from over two years’ worth of living at home with our families and socking away as much money as we could. I was working full-time for the last two years while my partner was laid off for half a year before he landed a new job earlier this year.
Putting down 10% on a home is a good start. However, crunching up the numbers, it still makes it expensive to buy a single, detached home here in Calgary. We are better off renting, truthfully… or saving up a 20% down payment before buying.
As it stands, we have yet to find a house that fits our desires and our financial plan anyways. And this isn’t the only reason we haven’t yet bought – I wrote a post last month about my personal reasons why I haven’t committed to buying. Read it by clicking the link below. I’m curious if you share some of my concerns as a millennial trying to buy a house in this economy.
Related Post: The Real Reasons Why We Haven’t Bought A House Yet
2. Put another $12,000 towards my student loans in 2016.
When I graduated from university in April, 2014, I walked away with $40,578 of student loans over four years.
Now, I’ve got a plan to pay this all off by September, 2018. That means I need to put $12,000 towards my student loans in 2016 to make this goal.
By April of this year, I was able to make a payment of $5,077 over four months! (which puts me ahead of schedule slightly!)
At the end of August, I’ve repaid $9,163 in total over 2016. The balance left on my student loans is now $19,400.
Guys, I’ve repaid over half of my student loans two years after graduating! I’m so psyched about this. At the beginning, looking at my $40k student loan bill, I felt horrible. I was angry at myself for allowing it to get that bad and at the same time I looked at some of my peers whose education were paid for by their parents and be just so jealous of them.
I came up with a plan, starting with paying off the smaller of my two loans and then things got easier from there. I’ve gotten into a comfortable pace of repaying this loan and no longer hold resentful feelings. In fact, I’m grateful now for having my student loans!
3. Travel plans in 2016.
The plan was to save up money for our travels before we left for them and to NOT rely on debt to fund these trips.
I estimated the cost to be $5,000 for a month-long trip to Asia and a week-long trip to Vegas for the Electric Daisy Carnival. So far, these were the only major and costly trips we had planned for 2016.
Well, we have enjoyed and returned from both these trips!
And I’m happy to report, we’ve managed to fund them without going into debt… whoop, whoop!
You can read the summary of our Asia trip and the final costs of it below… plus pictures!:
Related Post: A Month in the Philippines (Part III)
I didn’t write about our Vegas trip but we were able to stay within budget for that one also. This was thanks to my Auntie allowing us to live in her vacation home in Vegas for free and for a friend of ours who was able to help us save money on our flights by lending us his Family & Friends deal for the airline he works for.
Besides these, we haven’t planned any other major trips for the rest of 2016. But we do have some idea of where we’d like to go in 2017… stay tuned guys!
4. Save up tuition for CFP courses.
This is one goal that has fallen by the way-side. As the year progressed, I haven’t been as excited about making this goal a reality as I have about my other goals.
I should explain myself. I first set this goal because I wanted to help others become wealthy by becoming a financial advisor to them! I thought that I might be able to start my own financial planning business after I got the appropriate credentials.
However, as my blog grows, I’m finding other ways I can help my peers improve their financial situation… without putting myself back through school again (although this isn’t completely eliminated as an option).
For now, I think I’m happy talking about money stuff through my blog and current collaborations I’ve been cultivating. When and if this changes, we’ll see in the future!
I had just over $1,000 saved up in my CFP courses account. I withdrew this amount to pay for part of my student loans and took the following course (I actually enjoy studying which is why I can’t get enough of online courses for things I’m interested in!).
Here are the courses I’ve taken/taking this year:
- Guest Blogging Certification Program by Smart Blogger
- This is a tough one and I’d like to go back and re-do this course again. I took it the first time to help improve my writing skills.
- Build A Better Budget by Money After Graduation
- I had fun with Bridget’s course. I thought I had the whole budgeting down pat but I learned some new lessons and tips to help me optimize my budget from taking this course. If you’ve never had a budget or if you’ve followed your budget for years, I’m sure you’ll learn something new from Bridget. (And yes, this is the same ‘wine-inspired’ Bridget who does the ‘Drinks & Dollars’ videos on YouTube 😛 )
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Making Sense of Cents
- Okay, I have been a fan of Michelle’s ever since I found her. In fact, she is the reason for Smart Woman’s existence. This powerhouse knows how to make money online – and that’s what I wanted to learn from her by taking this course.
5. Expansion of the Smart Woman Blog
Over the last year and a half, I’ve allowed Smart Woman to grow organically. I never really sat down and created a “business plan” for it. I didn’t have goals for page views or revenue or an editorial calendar… mostly because I didn’t want to create that pressure when I wanted to ENJOY writing this blog first.
I’d say I surprised myself with how far I’ve come. I never expected my blog to become such a huge part of my everyday life or source of happiness and accomplishment… but it has done both.
Related Post: Smart Woman – Around the Web
My goal had always been to beat myself yesterday. And I think I’ve done a decent job of doing that.
I feel that right now, my blog has been selfish – focused on my own achievements and money challenges. As this website grows, I’m aiming to become more helpful to you guys and take the focus off of me.
In some ways, I feel like I haven’t really figured out what my blog is supposed to do for you. I have some idea and I know that part of it is because I want to see you all become rich and financially independent!
Beyond that, I figured that my “clear purpose” will come to me the more I write about money.
But hey, if you need help with anything at all, just give me a shout! Maybe what you have to say will push me in the right direction.
So that’s where I am with my goals. How about you guys? How are you doing with your goals for the year? Tell me in the comments section below!