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Personal finance

IMG soure below

I’ve already seen this list covered on another handful of blogs, and recently read about it on GenY Wealth and Little Miss Moneybags and I thought it might be fun for me to do, mostly for myself to see what my progress is. It’s a list of 20 ‘milestones’ you want to reach in your twenties.

# 1 – Finance a dream vacation…in cash
Haven’t done this yet, but I definitely think that I will do this in my 20’s although probably not this year 🙁

# 2 – Pay off your student loans
This is a work in progress that WILL be completed in my 20’s. My 2011 goal is to have my student loan balance below $10,000. Maybe I can have this paid off in 2012? I don’t want to look too far ahead but I am working on this and will have it done in my twenties.

# 3 – Automate paying your credit card bill in full
I won’t be doing this and don’t really see it as a milestone. I believe creditcard debt is bad debt and while I still use my card from time to time I intend to stop using the card and lock it away in my safe semi-permanently. Whenever I use it to buy something, usually online, I pay myself back the same day.

# 4 – Get rid of all bad debt
I did this! Well, I’m still working on my student loan which I consider to be a burden but it’s not a bad debt, I needed the loan to be able to go to university and it will or should eventually increase my earning power.

# 5 – Build an adequate emergency fund
I did this! I completed my baby e-fund of $500 on November 30, 2010. I currently have about $650 in my E-fund and I am planning to/will have $1,500 in my emergency fund by the end of 2011.

# 6 – Make your first, and last, investment mistake
I did this! (Unfortunately) I invested in mutual funds, mainly energy companies, for almost 5 years, after learning more about the exact companies I was investing in I withdrew the money and used it elsewhere. The money was used wisely and I didn’t want to invest in some of the companies in the funds any more but I regret stopping investing all together, I just never set up another apointment to talk about a new strategy… oops

# 7 – Develop a statement of cash flows
I did this! Thank you YNAB!

# 8 & 9 Max out a Roth & Contribute to your 401(k)
Uhh, those don’t exist in Canada, do they? Are there Canadian equivalents? (RRSP’s, RSP’s the same thing?)*

# 10 – Get a degree or certification that increases your earning power
I did this! I received my college diploma in April 2005, by the time I turn 30 I will also have received a university degree in business. Woohoo!

# 11 – Take a career risk
I did this! I worked from cashier up to shift leader to assistant manager and  was being trained to be a store manager in a retail industry. I quit that to move home to mom & dad and go back to school, I started working for the family company and a lot of stuff’s happened since then.

# 12 – Negotiate something
I do this regularly. I haggle for discounts on damaged merchandise and retailers are usually happy to accomodate. I recently- well more like this week hah-put a new floor in my living room and found one of the boxes of flooring had a damaged plank in it while I was still in the store. I got a 25% discount on that box even though all the other planks in the box were 100% ok.

# 13 – Earn your first side grand
Haven’t done this but I think I probably will do this before I’m 30, I usually generate a little extra income each tax season by helping others with their tax returns but that doesn’t usually amount to more than a few bucks here and there.

# 14 – Start a sub-savings account for an upcoming financial goal
Done, done and done! ———————>

# 15 – Set a target retirement date
I don’t think I want to do this, I don’t expect to  retire until I am physically incapable of continuing to work in some capacity and I won’t know when that will be till I get there. I will always continue to work at a job I enjoy full-time or part-time because I believe it’s good for me to do so, that doesn’t mean I will be stuck at a miserable job when I’m 65 though. I do have a plan for that, but I don’t want to ever formally retire!

# 16 – Monitor your credit
I did this! I check and have checked my credit-report every 6 months for the past 4-5 years. I once had fraud committed on once of my accounts not due to any fault of my own so I will continue to do this to infinity I suppose.

# 17 – Say no to a financial salesman
Oh, I have no problem saying no. :p

# 18 – Give just enough to make it hurt
I have not done this, I will do this in my twenties.

# 19 – Invest $1 for every $1 you spend
Well, I’m not really at the investing stage yet but I think I may be able to achieve this before I turn 30?

# 20 – Start a 529 College Savings Plan
I don’t think this one applies to me, do we even have 529’s in Canada? I do plan on having kids and saving for their education, though I have no intention of funding my children’s full education. (an RESP?)**

I’m quite surprised at how many of these I’ve hit (11) and will hit before I turn 30! Are there any other milestones you think one should achieve in their twenties?

PS: IMG source here.
** As you can tell I’m not at all familiar with retirement plans or education savings plans, if you have any great links or books to read for me on these topics any suggestions are welcomed! I need to set up some sort of retirement savings plan in the next few months so I definitely need to get informed, I guess this serves as a reminder.

Week (Nov 29 – Dec 5)

This week was the second week I consciously spent every dollar on paper, ermmm, computer screen I mean, before I received my pay. In one of my last posts I wrote that I started reading one of Dave Ramsey’s books and in another post I mentioned that I’m now following his plan to become debt-free. While I have always planned my bills in my day planner I hadn’t actually taken my total pay and spent every penny on paper before aka a concrete budget.

Combining my new plans with the spending reports I have been posting for the past 6 weeks is having a marked difference on my spending. It’s not that I don’t spend but rather that I know my limits, don’t impulse buy and I’m not afraid to spend a certain dollar amount on a gift because for once, the money is there in my bank account and I do not have to rely on my credit-card any longer to cover any shortages. (And, the money is now budgeted, if it’s not budgeted I need to take a close look to see if it fits and if it doesn’t I’ll have to wait – more on that later this week! month)
Yes, I can officially say I am D-O-N-E with that credit-card. I am living within my means and have over the past two months built up a total of $1100 in savings. I am still running the paycheque-to-paycheque treadmill but I believe that in another good three months I may be able to survive one missed cheque… Improvement is improvement at any rate! 🙂

Anyway, for this week there will be NO spending report. This is NOT because I haven’t kept track of my spending but  rather that I have switched to  a desktop computer program for my budget and will be keeping track of my spending there. This week was also quite busy so I haven’t had the time to record all the transactions for the blog and doing it twice would simply be too time consuming!

All is well though, I stayed within my limits and stuck to the budget! I will be writing a post about the program I chose and the hows and whys of course and will probably replace the weekly spending posts with a monthly or bi-weekly budget update to keep that accountability thing going.

Speaking of budget programs, I am curious what type of program (if any) you guys use?

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Spend spend spend! Spending seems to be the theme of this week, good thing it’s payday Monday!

Week 6 (Nov 22 – 28)

Monday:
– $ 17.31 Snowbrush – I lost the one I’ve had for years, had to buy one at the gas station to be able to go to work

Tuesday:
– $ 1.43 Coffee (CASH)

Wednesday:
– $ 1.43 Tea (CASH)
– $ 93.45 Gym Membership, valid until April!
– $ 16.38 Subway

Thursday:
– $ 1.43 Tea (CASH)

Friday:
– $ 1.43 Tea (CASH)

Saturday:
– $ 253.82 Shed reno materials
– $ 1.43 TEA (CASH)

Sunday:
– $ 100.00 Birthday Gift boyfriend

Total: – $ 488.11
January 10, 2011; I just found the dang snow brush hidden behind a basket in the trunk of my car. I thought I combed my car from top to bottom… UGH! The new snow brush is way longer and better but it still sucks that I spent money when I really didn’t have to…. and before you all think I’m a slob, the rest of my car is empty and clean but I keep a few containers and a bin in my car along with an emergency kit and it was just jammed underneath and behind everything so I only found it when I took it all out…  Hmpf!!