New Years Resolutions 2014: My Health, My Money

stop-smoking-New-Years-ResolutionsNEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS TO STAY

 

With the arrival of 2014, New Years Resolutions are on the minds of many people right now.

Whether you are striving to meet a new fitness goal, quit smoking or better your finances, staying on track throughout the year to meet these goals can be a challenge.

While many people give up on their New Years Resolutions pretty quick, writing down your resolutions and the reasons why you chose these goals can be helpful in motivating you throughout the year.

Whatever your resolutions have a plan and you will find the confidence that you will need to achieve them. I have a couple of New Year Resolutions for the year of 2014 to improve my quality of life.

 

My health

 

As a single mom of two very busy, active children it isn’t hard to overlook taking care of myself adequately.

As the kids get older so do I. I may only be 31 now but I want grandchildren one day and if I am not taking care of myself properly now I may not be around as long as I hope.

Being on the go all the time and not always making the best meal choices for myself I often find myself tired so as part of my New Years Resolutions I am working towards making some lifestyle changes to improve my overall health and build some energy.

 

Eating better

 

Diabetes is very common in my family with multiple family members in both my mom and dads’ side of the family having been diagnosed.

Reducing the amount of sugar I consume in a day is on my priority list this year and another one of my New Years Resolutions. Having an extensive family history of diabetes I am only speeding up the process by ingesting the amount of sugar that I currently do.

After watching an episode of The Fifth Estate all about sugar, I was terrified and it really opened my eyes to just how much sugar is in some of the food that we eat and drink.

Cutting all pop out of my diet and replacing my daily French Vanilla from Tim Horton’s with tea will give me a good start at reducing my sugar intake while discovering other food and drinks to remove from not only my diet but the kids as well.

 

Quitting smoking

 

I am not one to watch a lot of television though in the last 24 hours being New Year’s day and with everyone making their New Year Resolutions, I have seen at least 5 commercials advertising quit smoking aids and promoting a nicotine free life.

I am not proud of the fact that I have smoked for many years and these last few years it has been something that hasn’t been common knowledge to many people. Not only for my health but also to open up more money in my budget I need to quit once and for all.

Mr. CBB shared in a previous post how him and his wife beat the addiction to nicotine coming up for 2 years at the end of January. Not only did they quit, save their health they also saved money on their life insurance premiums which went down after one year of being smoke-free.

While having someone to quit with and support each other along the way can make the whole experience easier to get through, I am doing it alone and after many attempts over the years this will be my last.

Although I have more than enough reasons to quit along with wanting to be in better shape, as something to work towards I have registered for Tough Mudder 2014 and I am determined to bring home that orange headband!

What is Tough Mudder?

For those who are unfamiliar with Tough Mudder, it is a 10-12 mile military-style obstacle and each participant who completes the challenges receives an orange Tough Mudder headband along with bragging rights.

I will not be able to complete this 10-12 mile obstacle course if I am still smoking. With 8 months until the big day I am saying goodbye to cigarettes, this relationship is over!!! The best way to quit is to not pick one up and put it in my hand.

I will not be spending anymore of my hard-earned money to shorten my life expectancy. I started cutting back significantly during November and December of 2013, and 2014 (I know it’s only been a day) to this point has been cigarette free!!!

 

More coupons

 

I have to admit that the last few months of 2013 my coupon use slowed down quite a bit. I also missed many opportunities throughout the year to obtain coupon inserts in local newspapers.

Though I did manage to get my hands on a few of them, I will get a lot more this year having printed the insert schedule from Coupon Christine so I will now have a heads up when they are coming out and can plan accordingly to get my hands on them.

As I grow up I appreciate practical gifts a lot more and so for my birthday this year my parents asked what I wanted and I responded with a new printer.

Previously having an inkjet printer, the amount of printing that I am required to do for my job was becoming more expensive than what I was being reimbursed for so printing coupons was definitely out of the question.

Now having a laser printer that will print around 3000 pages per toner cartridge, compared to approximately 200 copies for ink cartridge, a lot more printable coupons will be finding a home in my coupon binder.

 

Smart goals

 

Being realistic and setting achievable goals will give you a better chance at meeting them. If getting out of debt is a New Years Resolution for you depending how much money you owe becoming debt free in one year may not be possible.

Set a goal to pay down a certain amount of debt for that year that is doable and then re-evaluate that goal the next year. Our lives will not change and improve overnight but by setting attainable goals you will start out on a better path.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? How do you plan to stick to them?

 

New-Years-Recolution-Money-Quote

 

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Our Goals 2012 and a look back at 2011!

As we look back in 2011 we can see many areas we could have saved more money but that’s what budgeting is all about, learning. Keep in mind we don’t make huge incomes so the frugal lifestyle we lead is imperative to our savings whilst still enjoying life.

I don’t predict the same extra income in 2012 so a tighter budget has been put in place. We are hoping to get a bathroom renovation completed and landscaping of our yard by the end of the year.

Our main goals for 2012 although I’m sure this list will grow!

  • Spend less on grocery $190 a month. Save more with a shop free week each month and playing our grocery game challenge.
  • Collect enough Optimum Points at Shoppers Drugmart for 2 Redemptions. We accomplished 4 at top-level in 2011.
  • Figure out what to do with our Savings
  • Max out both TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account)
  • Invest more in RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)
  • Pay down Mortgage currently $157k, $164K was 265K when purchased in 2009. Current Market Value Aprox $339k. Accelerated Weekly 3.9% 5yr fixed 25 yr Amortization
  • Build Emergency Savings by $ 8k
  • Renovate Bathroom under 5k
  • Educate myself on Investing, read more books
  • Continue using coupons $2k with new budget
  • Search for deals on Kijiji and Craigslist and sell what I don’t need
  • Earn more income
  • Lower Utility bills with new time of use (is that possible?)
  • Invest in purchasing new energy star appliances
  • Quit smoking We are ready for this January 30,2012!   DONE
  • Work on what to do with excess savings
  • Spend less at Tim Horton’s
  • Landscaping project $2k
  • Track our overtime hours
  • Cook from scratch, create new recipes and meal planning

In 2011 the numbers will show you we did a fair job at saving but strive for better numbers in 2012. We really need to work on what to do with our savings allocation as it is so unbalanced at the minute.

Below are some of our final 2011 figures as of Dec 31,2011- keep in mind we have no debt but the mortgage. All vehicles are paid and no credit card debt, school loans etc. You can read our up to date numbers by following our Monthly Net Worth Update Posts.

  • Savings +$15,921
  • TFSA +$5804- both of us
  • RRSP +$2600
  • Mortgage Paid down extra $5004
  • Coupon Savings +$7429
  • Extra income made ie: Mail in rebates, focus groups,overtime etc+$16411
  • Rogers-$2030 down from $2072 in 2010
  • Hydro-$1790.49 down from $1882.60 in 2010
  • Union Gas-$710.24 up from $634.90 in 2010
  • Reliance-$433.00 up from $411.00 in 2010
  • Grocery- $6274 this will be improved in 2012
  • Miscellaneous-$12,248.50 lots of renovations in 2011
  • Clothing-$287.00
  • Eating Out-$53.00
  • Entertainment-$185
  • Allowance-$122 (Tim Horton’s and Beer) working on this too
  • Lottery-$96 (I know, I know but you can’t win if you don’t play. This year I plan to track any winnings.
  • Smoking-$2007.00 (can’t wait to save this in 2012) Quit smoking as of February 29,2012 and still smoke free today!

Well there you have it, our goals for 2012 and comparisons from 2011. I’m sure I will visit this page often and update it as goals change and unexpected events occur in everyone’s lives. I have to be prepared for that and so should you.

As you can see the figures once in front of you truly opens your eyes to the amount of money being spent.  I’ve posted Step 1  of 10 on how we designed our budget. Check it out to see how we started out and how you can to!

What do you think of our 2011 spending and our 2012 goals?

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