December 2015 Budget & Goals for the First 90 Days of 2016

January 4, 2016

december-2015

Happy New Year, friends! I have to start 2016 by thanking you all for leaving such sweet and thoughtful comments on last week’s post. I had wanted to write about so many of those things all year, but couldn’t do it until I’d gotten some distance from everything. On New Year’s Eve, I took an idea from Elizabeth Gilbert, grabbed a piece of paper, wrote down all the events in 2015 that I needed to let go of and threw it in the fire. It’s more symbolic than anything, but it felt good to see some of those things disappear. I’m ready for – no, I need – a simpler year in 2016

Before it can truly begin, though, I still have a few things to wrap-up so I can put 2015 behind me – and it starts with the numbers.

As I mentioned last week, the planners were my full-time job in December. I also told you I sold 350 copies. In doing the math, you probably won’t be surprised to see that means I earned ~$17,500 from the planners alone… but I also had massive expenses. Printing 350 copies of a book isn’t cheap, nor is shipping them all over the world. In the end, I was almost surprised to see that I still managed to profit ~$5,700 from the whole thing; I was guessing I’d get ~$4,000, when it was all said and done. Anyway, that’s a full month’s salary for me, and it was a month of work I loved doing.

On top of the $5,700 I profited, I did manage to do some freelance work and send out final invoices for the year. Altogether, I profited $9,475 in December and set aside $2,843 (30%) for taxes. Here’s what I did with the leftover $6,632…

December Budget

Life Expenses – $3,845 (58%)

While November was one of the cheapest months I had all year, December was quite literally the most expensive. Before you assume I went on a shopping spree (I actually bought nothing in December), the largest chunk of my spending was under one category of my budget: charitable donations. When I launched the planners, I committed to donating 5% ($2 USD) of all sales up to Christmas Day to Joshua Becker’s new non-profit, The Hope Effect. My goal was to donate $700 USD, which is enough to provide a child with education for one year. In the end, I sold exactly 350 planners, so was able to donate the full amount (which worked out to $1,016 CAD or 18% of my profits). I made a few donations to other charities, as well, which brought my total up to $1,322.

The leftover $2,523 was spent on “life”, so rent, groceries, gas, entertainment, etc. I can usually keep this around $2,000, but had to pay for Christmas ($455) and massage therapy ($100).

Travel – $209 (3%)

The only trip I went on last month was an overnight adventure to Vancouver to see my doctors re: the car accident and upcoming surgery. From the time I left to the time I got home, I was gone for all of 36 hours. I managed to scoop up one of the cheaper trips BC Ferries was offering during certain days/hours in December, so lowered that cost slightly… but I also drove to 4 cities in the Lower Mainland, while I was there, had to pay a few tolls and used a full tank of gas.

Savings – $2,578 (39%)

Finally, because my income was irregularly high last month, I obviously managed to save a lot more than usual… but I’m not ready to invest it all for retirement just yet. Even though I “profited” $9,475 last month, I technically earned over $21,000 (whoa). If I wanted to set aside 30% of that for taxes, I should’ve saved $6,383, which is $3,540 more than I set aside last week. However, because of all the business expenses I had in the latter half of the year, I’m guessing I won’t need to give the government the full 30% I’ve been saving for taxes all year… but just to be safe, I’m going to hold onto this money until after I file my taxes and invest what’s leftover. Since I’m currently focused on maxing out my TFSA, there are no dates/deadlines for when I can make contributions (as I’m nowhere near the limit).

And now that you know how complicated my finances have gotten (ha!), you’ll understand where my goals for the first 90 days of 2016 came from…

Goals for Q1 2016

As I mentioned last week, I’m done with setting big goals for the year, because I’ve learned that a lot can change in a single moment… and I hate getting to the end of a year and seeing how many goals I did not achieve. Instead, I’ve decided to set goals for 90 days at a time. Last week, I took a day off to map out everything I want to accomplish in the first 90 days of 2016 and separated it all into 4 categories: business, money, health and personal. As you’ll see, there’s a general theme for the first quarter of the year: to create routine + simple systems. Here are my goals:

Business: Create/use/maintain weekly and monthly task sheets for all clients and blogs.

Money (2): Separate my business and personal finances, and file my taxes.

Health: Schedule workouts so I’m active 4x/week, with a focus on strengthening my lower back/hip before surgery.

Personal (2): Take a pottery class (make some new mugs!) and read 12 books. (I’ll be sharing a weekly book review every Sunday on Instagram, where I’m documenting a #simpleyear.)

The other thing I’m going to do is share my numbers quarterly, not monthly… so maybe one of my other goals is to not share my numbers again until after the first 90 days of 2016. The main reason I want to try this is because I know the next few months are going to be very irregular – with not much income coming in January, a good amount coming in February and no idea what will be happening in March. I’ll still be writing and maintaining a monthly budget in my new planner, but don’t think I’ll be sharing numbers again until early April.

Now, I’m dying to hear what some of your immediate goals are for 2016… :)

PS – Carrie Smith and I are launching our brand new podcast, Budgets and Cents… TOMORROW! If you want to be notified when we release new episodes, you can sign up on our site. I am SO excited about this project!

PPS – I’m publishing a free guide on how to start and complete a successful shopping ban next week! If you’re one of the many people who have told me you started one on January 1st, I’ll be including a downloadable version of the post for you to keep – and a little something you can print off and keep in your wallet, to help you stay on track! 

90 Comments

  • Reply Katie January 4, 2016 at 4:28 am

    I LOVE how clear you are being with what you’re bringing in and what your expenses are! Keep up the good work!!!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks, Katie!

  • Reply Isabel Marcelo January 4, 2016 at 4:38 am

    I’ve been using your mindful budgeting for a few months now and I absolutely love it! It’s been so helpful with keeping track of my money with a different light on it.

    Thank you so much for everything you’re doing!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      I’m so glad to hear it’s helping, Isabel! If you ever want to share some of the discoveries you’ve made, since you started using it, I’d love to hear them. Email me anytime :)

  • Reply John January 4, 2016 at 4:40 am

    You’re an absolute inspiration. Looking forward to starting the shopping ban in 2016 and to see all your tips. All the best and keep doing the great work…

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you so much, John. I’m excited to hear more about the plans for your shopping ban!

  • Reply Elizabeth | Something Saturdays January 4, 2016 at 4:57 am

    My goal is to use my new planner every day! Going well and loving it so far! :)

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      Oh, that’s definitely one of my goals too, Elizabeth! Glad you’re liking it so far! :)

  • Reply Elle January 4, 2016 at 5:05 am

    We’re looking forward to prepping for our move next month! We’re on a tighter normal budget (thinking of it as 31 day challenge!) to make sure we have a little more buffer in savings.

    Yep, I also got taxes to do this month. That will be my weekend project as 1099s and paperwork come in.

    Looking forward to rocking 2016!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Woo hoo! Sounds like you have a plan to make it all happen, Elle. Good luck! :)

  • Reply Lisa January 4, 2016 at 5:15 am

    Cait, you are such an inspiration! My goals for 2016 are to simplify, be mindful & practice gratitude, be frugal & participate in the shopping ban and lastly to take care of myself physically and mentally. I have actually created a list with each of the above as headings as a reminder of things I really want to accomplish this year. I have never been so excited to start a new year!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      I can read the excitement in your words, Lisa! Be sure to check-in with us here periodically… perhaps quarterly!? :)

  • Reply Steve Miller January 4, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Nice month indeed. Very inspiring what you are doing with charity.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks, Steve!

  • Reply Tyler January 4, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Great month of December their Cait, I’m thinking there will be many many more just like it for you. I’m doing something similar to you in setting them for every 90 days, but I do have two goals that are year long I want to lose weight, and I want to have my credit card paid off. Those two things will take up the majority of my time this year as well as all the other side projects I’m working on. There is just not enough time in a year to get everything done.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      It was an interesting experiment/lesson, Tyler… earning all the money for the planners *seemed* great, but I now need to pay tax on all of that. My expenses will help counter some of it, but certainly not all of it. For that reason, I’ve set it up so people now buy the planners directly through the print shop. It’s not that I minded doing all the shipping. I just don’t want to have to pay tax on $17K, when I’m only profiting $5K – you know? Anyway, it’s all good! I learned a lot from the past month and look forward to implementing more changes from those lessons in the new year. To add to your comment, I would add that we actually have 1 extra day in 2016! ;) Automate your goals (meal plan, schedule workouts and be diligent about debt repayment) and you’ll make great progress, no matter what!

      • Reply Morgan January 9, 2016 at 3:13 am

        Hi Cait, I might be wrong (I’m from Australia- I do own a business though)- I believe only the profit is taxable? :)

  • Reply Lauren @ Lauren, Etc. January 4, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Wow, your finances have gotten a little complicated! But you are working for yourself and with that comes so much freedom and opportunity, it definitely makes it worthwhile to add the complications. It’s so interesting to me how different the lives we lead are and how that effects our resolutions. I feel like the second half of my 2015 was so simplified that I’m resolving to add more, richer experiences in 2016. More new recipes, more books, more time with friends, and more sightseeing. And on top of that, resolving to save more money so that my husband and I can finally buy a home in 2017. Here’s to a happy, prosperous 2016!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Oh my gosh, you’re not kidding haha… going forward, I’ll just be earning the profits, which will make things MUCH simpler. Reading about your past 6 months + plans for 2016 is so inspiring, Lauren! I’m craving less less less, and you are opening yourself up to MORE but in such a healthy way. I love it! Can’t wait to hear MORE about what you do, as time goes on ;)

  • Reply Melissa January 4, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I only recently found your blog and I just have to tell you how inspiring I find your determination. In 2016 I plan to be rid of my car loan. I’m on schedule for a debt free life and I can’t wait!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Bam! You can do it, Melissa! :D

  • Reply Marrianna January 4, 2016 at 6:35 am

    It’s Monday, January 4, 2016, and I haven’t bought anything new, yet. Sounds good, right? But then when I look at my credit card statement, I did all the buying the last week of 2015 that I don’t want to repeat in 2016. I was also able to cancel an Amazon order before it started to ship. I DO NOT need more self-help books. I don’t have your budget planner so I’m going to be winging it in my daily planner and my Every Dollar budget online. I had already set some 2016 intentions, however, I’ve already decided to back off on a couple of them. If I haven’t carried through on some of these ideas in the last 5+ years, it is time to let them go and let my life be about enjoying myself and staying healthy. For my “book” fixes, I hope to find them used to purchase with trade credit at our local used bookseller. Then there is the library. I decided to cancel my Amazon Prime membership which is only $99/year but still, it is $99 that I won’t spend AND it won’t be quite so easy to keep ordering things I absolutely MUST HAVE. My spending habits are terrible and your blog posts are very inspiring. BTW, good luck with the upcoming surgery. Congratulations on a successful December 2015.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Marrianna, I feel like you have let go of some serious stuff already, and we’re only 5 days into the year! YES to letting go of all the intentions/resolutions we make and never keep… just toss them out and focus on the one thing that TRULY matters right now. It sounds like that’s tracking your spending / budgeting and figuring out what you WANT to spend money on, and letting go of the rest. Just focus on that for the next 2-3 months, and I bet it’ll help you set more goals for the rest of the year. :)

    • Reply Maggie January 7, 2016 at 9:38 am

      This comment just motivated me to cancel my Amazon Prime membership as well (and get a $30 refund on the remaining time). Having this membership just doesn’t fit with my budget and plans for 2016, and will definitely keep me from being tempted to buy unnecessary things. Thank you!

  • Reply Suzanne January 4, 2016 at 6:59 am

    I too have started a shopping ban and some of my friends don’t seem to understand it’s about simplicity and finances. I’m excited to challenge myself and to see how much I can live without. Looking forward to de-cluttering!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Love that you’re tackling both your “stuff” and your finances, Suzanne! That’s what it’s all about for now… but I’m guessing you’ll learn a lot, throughout the process. How long are you planning on doing your shopping ban for?

  • Reply Meg January 4, 2016 at 7:26 am

    That’s a pretty good December, all said and done! Congrats on a successful planner launch, Cait!

    My main goal for this quarter is to get as much as of the pre-wedding stuff done. For all that it is a small wedding, there’s still plenty still to do! And sadly, plenty still to pay for! (Although a lot of that is coming from savings for this purpose), so to go along side that is a 1st quarter requirement to spend less on everything else!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Woo hoo! When is the big day, Meg? :)

      • Reply Meg January 6, 2016 at 2:01 am

        12th of May for the tiny wedding, 14th for the small party. Seems both far away and yet waaaaay too soon! Just under a year between engage/wedding (although we’ve been together 6 years now).

  • Reply Giovina January 4, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I probably have too many goals this year but my most important financial goal is to save 1/3 of my income. I am finally debt-free and want to reach at least 5 figure savings this year. Health-wise I want to actually use my gym membership this year and go at least 3x/week. In my personal life, I want to call and send more letters to the people I love, since so many of my friends live in different cities and I rarely get to see them. I also really want to de-clutter my house, I started reading the magic of tidying up and need to actually do what I’ve read. There are a few other things too but those are the main ones. Usually I don’t like to change on so many fronts but I’m thinking this year maybe if I do everything at once the positive changes will build on each other, as opposed to keeping some bad habits and letting that drag down the rest. All the best in 2016 Cait, I love reading your blog and I’m sure you will accomplish your goals.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      I think it’s ok that you have all those goals! If you don’t mind me making one suggestion though, I’d say start really small… and maybe just tackle 1-2 in January. So maybe you schedule in workouts 2x/week in January, and write 1 letter to someone. Or workout 2x/week and tackle 1 room in your home. HUGE congrats on being debt-free! I think 5-figure savings is an amazing goal, and have no doubt you’ll do that. So start small with the rest, build these things into your routine, and add more and more as time goes on. :)

  • Reply AshleyD January 4, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I do not really have any New Year Resolutions. Aside from continuing to do my best to stay in budget, save for and start the renovations planned and to make sure I keep being active.
    Nothing new, but more of a restart.

    Immediate goals would be to schedule items to be completed on the renovation list.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      That’s still a great goal, Ashley! Renovations are a big undertaking, so mapping it out seems like the best thing to do, before you just jump into it. Good luck!

  • Reply Theresa January 4, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Hi Cait! I’m starting 2016 with a shopping ban. I’m still working out what will go on my approved shopping list, but it’s not much. I just finished my first college semester at 46 and will be starting spring soon. I’m attending full time and trying to balance school with being a single parent. I live a fairly minimalist life style but need to save more. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Thank YOU for sharing some of your story with us, Theresa! Congrats on going back to school! What are you taking? :)

  • Reply Kate @ Cashville Skyline January 4, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I would LOVE to take a pottery class, Cait. I definitely want to work with my hands more in 2016 — gardening, weaving, painting. Ever heard of Jo Boyer? I saw some of her work at a local show last year and totally fell in love with her stuff! http://joboyer.com/

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Ok, you don’t know this but I have the most irrational fear… it’s called trypophobia and the sight of dots makes my skin crawl/makes me throw up, haha. Some of her stuff does that for me! (I know, I’m a freak! You can Google it!) But anyway, I am REALLY excited to take the pottery class… I just signed up, it starts on the 21st!

  • Reply Maggie @ Creative Clarity January 4, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Very exciting, Cait! It might not fit this blog, but I’d love to hear about the whole process of creating the planners. Congrats for taking on such a huge endeavour, and for your success!
    I’m also experimenting with quarterly goal setting. Mine are:
    Q1 Work: Develop a business plan for 2016 (aiming to have this done in January). Sell 30 seats for Camp Ignite, a 3 day summer camp style retreat for women who are changing the world.
    Personal: KonMari house. Exercise 150 mins per week, minimum.
    So far, I’m really enjoying the motivation that comes with quarterly goals, which seem so much more doable than yearly goals. I worked a few hours each day this long weekend, and am about 1/4 of the way through my business plan and have KonMari’d three rooms of my house, out of 7. It’s already feeling lighter and more expansive, and I’ve taken 3 huge boxes of donations to the Salvation Army!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Yes, it fits! I’ve been taking little notes of things I’ve learned and want to share, and fully plan to write a post about what it cost/took to create/sell a planner. I hope to share it this month! And your goals sound awesome. Can we talk about Camp Ignite!? Is it in BC? I need to go to this!

      • Reply Maggie @ Creative Clarity January 6, 2016 at 7:59 pm

        Website and Facebook page are undergoing final edits, and then they’ll be released to the world.
        Basics: Shawnigan Lake, September 2016. Thus far, an AMAZING group of women. Some entrepreneurs, some non-profit, some creative pros… I am so looking forward to it.
        I’ll share the website as soon as it’s ready :)

  • Reply Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless January 4, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Congrats on the planners, Cait, that’s awesome!
    I like your idea of planning and goal-setting for just 90 days at a time rather than for the whole year. Honestly, I can’t even think that far ahead right now, so I’m only setting intentions for 30 days. :) Maybe after I get a job I’ll be able to think towards the future a bit more.
    I’m definitely excited to hear what books you’ll be reading! Maybe this is my cue to consider joining Instagram. :)

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I’d love to say “JOIN INSTAGRAM” but you could also just check out my Instagram feed online, from time-to-time. I won’t pressure anyone to join yet another social media network, hehe. ;)

  • Reply Michelle January 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Love everything you’re doing Cait! You are rocking it and giving back so much. Happy to hear that the Mindful budgeting tool was a success! The 90 day goals are a great idea, it’s way too easy to get overwhelmed by setting too many at the beginning of the year. You’re going to have an awesome 2016!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you so much, Michelle! Happy New Year! :)

  • Reply Shari January 4, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I’m using a word of the year theme as I find I resonate more with that than with resolutions. My word last year was vibrant which led me to finally kicking dairy to the curb (I’m lactose intolerant).
    This year the word is positivity and it is leading me to leading a clean eating group, starting a new side business with a long term goal to quit my job and live on my two side incomes. I’m hoping this word will also lead to some budgeting motivation :)

  • Reply Breanna Carey January 4, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hi Cait!

    I’m a regular consumer of your blog and I think you are awesome. The idea of a shopping ban in 2016 is so appealing that I’ve actually committed to doing so and have been successful for the first four days – buying only gifts and groceries. It feels so good to have such a solid handle on my wants and a willingness to purge all of the things that clutter my home and headspace. Thanks for all of your brilliant tips and I’ve just signed up for your podcast too. Excited to hear what you’ve got to say and Happy New Year!!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      Hey girl! Happy New Year! So cool to see you over here :) I LOVE that you’re doing a shopping ban! How long are you doing it for? All year? We should connect in Victoria sometime and chat about that. I see Courtney regularly and she loves chatting about this stuff too!

  • Reply Mike @ TipYourself.com January 4, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Congrats Cait! Great way to wrap up the year. I love your goal of a pottery class for the next 90-days. Personally, I’m guilty of focusing all of my goals on heath/fitness or work/productivity. This blog post is a great reminder, that there’s much more to life than health and business. Cheers!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      Oh, thank goodness… I was worried it was too business-focused, haha. But we have to find some balance, right? Good luck with your goals, Mike!

  • Reply Stephanie January 4, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Subscribed to your podcast! I have recently starting using the Podcast app and love it!! Looking forward to yours!!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      I’m going to send out a little update to my email list on Friday with a list of my personal favourite podcasts, Stephanie! You might be subscribing to some more soon, hehe. :)

      • Reply Michelle Smith January 17, 2016 at 3:42 am

        Hi, Cait. I’ve been listening to your podcast, too. And I’m looking forward to the next one. I was wondering about the shopping ban guide. I’ve been checking for it all week and I hope I didn’t miss it! I ‘m really interested in the list of favorite podcasts,too. We’re trying to pay off our mortgage in the next 15 months and your story has been such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing with all of us. Michelle

  • Reply Alyssa @ Generation YRA January 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Cait – this is AMAZING! So proud of you & your accomplishments – look how far you have come since taking the leap into full time freelancing. I think the 90 day goals are outstanding, and I am seriously so thrilled to check in on Sundays for all your book reviews (I was giddy last night when I saw that post of yours on instagram)! One of my immediate goals for 2016 is definitely health related. I’ve been on a great routine of 3x+ a week for work outs (even though the holidays!) and it’s given me such mental clarity. :) I also have a big change in the works, but will find out real soon which may switch around my goals! Cheers to 2016, Cait – so excited for you!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      I don’t know how to reply to any of the other sweet and thoughtful comments in this reply (except to say thank you!) because I am now just DYING to know what this big change is! Keep me posted, girl! Can’t wait to hear about it :)

  • Reply Nadia January 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Love the idea of doing the 90 day goals! I’m considering monthly ones as well. This month is to have as many no spend days as possible. So far so good. I’m at 3/4 (ordered some soap meant for wool to wash my sheepskin slippers). I know I’ll have at least one more spend day (need 2 birthday cards and gifts and my bus pass for February). If I can go 26/31 I’ll be pretty darn happy. Good thing I have my planner to keep track!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      26 no spend days – that would be amazing, Nadia! It’s funny, I’ve already had 2 no spend days and I look at my planner feeling bad it’s full of blank spots, haha… but it’s also proof that we’re doing the best thing for us. :)

      • Reply Nadia January 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm

        I quite happily write NO SPEND DAY! It’s great motivation seeing it written down. A good reminder when I’m on the edge of spending if that makes sense.

  • Reply Annie January 4, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Congrats on you endeavour with the planners! I love to hear about your goals.

    My goals this year are in continuity with what I’ve achieved last year, all greatly inspired by you. I am now debt free and intend to keep it thay way this year with an added challenge, a brand new baby arriving any day now, which means increased expenses in some areas and less income for a year as I’ll be on parental leave. More than being debt free, I now have an emergency fund (in a TFSA) which I would like to continue to grow this year, even if it’s with lesser amounts, and also continue contributing to my RRSP, also with smaller contributions. Point is, the goal is to keep saving even if it’s less than usual.

    I also intend to stay away from buying too much for the baby. Up to now, we have bought mostly used stuff (that is just like brand new…) or received stuff from friends with babies. We are not going crazy with all kinds of unnecessary accessories, and do not intend to fill our apartment with babystuff and toys we’ll barely use. This seems to be harder to have some members understand, but we made huge efforts to declutter and spend less and keep only the necessary or what is meaningful to us… I hate stuff for stuff. And people, although always with good intentions, tend to go crazy with stuff when it comes to babies. But we already have toys. And blankets. And clothes. We have all we need. Just come spend time with the baby, as he won’t remember those things we’ll get rid of in a few months… Oh well. I’m getting carried away. But you get the point : goal is to stay debt-free, continue saving and keep the clutter to a minimum, with the added novelty in our lives of our baby to come!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      You’re not getting carried away, Annie! In fact, I’d say you have all the best intentions set, and know exactly what you need (and don’t need) to get through the next year… that kind of clarity is inspiring! I don’t have any kids of my own, but have many nieces/nephews through my friends, and can tell you that you’re right – you won’t need any of the toys, haha. You might not even need all the clothes people give you! Kids grow so darn fast, it’ll probably be impossible to make them wear every single item of clothing you have for them (unless you make them a minimalist, hehe). Anyway, congrats on the new addition! Make sure you take some YOU time, even if it’s just for some fresh air or a bubble bath. What an exciting start to the new year :)

  • Reply Ashlee Michelle January 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve been working on Budgeting lately. We are in our first home and trying to manage our spendings has been a work in progress. Now that we have more bills to pay we have had to learn what we can and cant splurge on. You blog makes it easier to figure out our budgeting because of explain everything so well.

    We are currently working on “What we NEED to buy for the house” VS “What we WANT to buy for the house”…It’s going pretty well. But we are also learning that decorating a new house is something you have to do in time and not all at once! LOL

    I do monthly goals and this month I’m focusing on our Kitchen. Its the room that is set up the most but I have a few items I want to hang up and set out. Luckily, they are items we already have!

    Good Luck with your Goals!

    -Ashlee Michelle

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad you mentioned the decorating part, Ashlee… I watched a friend spend upwards of $10K on all brand new everything within the first few weeks of when she moved into her home – it was so unnecessary. I STILL don’t have anything on my walls, and it doesn’t make my home feel any less comfortable… if anything, it gives me so much more space to be creative. Anyway, it’s always best to spend some time in a new home first, so you can figure out what you really need and what will make it better. Good luck!

  • Reply Formative Fortunes January 4, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Some of my 2016 goals including buying 20 oz more silver for my collection/investment and growing my etrade portfolio by %20! Theres also do good and school and quit drinking soda! Goals are always hard to achieve but you gotta be in to win it.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      No soda is a great goal! I don’t drink it often, but there’s a craft soda scene here (yes, seriously) and I’m guilty of occasionally picking up 1 bottle of ginger ale, haha.

  • Reply Emilie January 4, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Cait, You’ve inspired my husband and me to try a shopping ban in ways we would like to be more disciplined. We’ve set up a new budget to accommodate that. I purchased the Mindful Budgeting pdf and it has been great. When you wrote a while back, that at times you didn’t purchase because you didn’t want to have to write it down — I now get that! We’re 4 days in and so far, so good.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      That’s awesome, Emilie! Can’t wait to hear more about the shopping ban. What are the rules? How long are you planning on doing it for?

  • Reply Tre January 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Congrats on the success of your planners! Hope you find the simple life you are seeking in 2016.

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      I think I will, Tre! Some of it involves less travel (kinda sad, but also better for my sanity) and more time at home… setting up processes for everything I do here will just help streamline things, so I’m not stressed with a million to-dos every week!

  • Reply giulia January 5, 2016 at 4:07 am

    Congrats for all success from past year, your post are a grat font of inspiration:D

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks, Giulia!

  • Reply Beth Hannum January 5, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Love this! Can’t wait to listen to the podcast I really need a new one to listen to during my commute. My biggest goal for this year is to pay down the debt my husband and I have accrued while building a house. We are still in the building process so its harder but I know it is doable! xx, Beth

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      Wow, how exciting, Beth! When will it be done? :)

  • Reply Mira January 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of writing things down and throwing them into the fire, is really not her idea.
    She got it from Hinduism and it is called Maha Vasana Daha Tantra. Google it and you will see that the proper way of doing it is very powerful. People do it for their entire life time and turn their lives around :-)

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Yes, I knew she’d gotten it from somewhere, but couldn’t remember the story… thank you for sharing it here, Mira! (Have you read Big Magic? I think I’m going to re-read it next.)

  • Reply Jennifer January 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I can’t wait to read your post about the shopping ban! And congrats on the Budget Planners. I admire your charitable contributions!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer!

  • Reply Isabelle January 5, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    My personal goals for 2016 are:
    – To take better care of my health by getting more sleep (aiming for 7h/night) and lose weight (I have about 80 pounds to lose to be at an healthy weight…). How : by going to the gym at least 3 times/week for at least 60 minutes and by drastically reducing my intake of grains and sugar, and by skipping eating out as much as possible
    – To keep under budget (personal and couple/family)
    – To be less controlling with my husband (I micromanage….)
    – To stop screaming and cursing completely. Not that I do it that often, but I find it so ugly…. so I don’t want to be that person.

    That’s about it.
    My biggest challenge is changing my eating paterns, so if I can only get this under control it would still be awesome! I’ve turned 35 today, I have 2 amazing little girls that I want to see grow, so this needs to be done now!

    • Reply Cait Flanders January 5, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Cursing… oh man. I don’t know if any readers would guess this, but I actually swear a lot. It’s obviously easy to not use them when you write, but when I speak? Yea, that’s something I’d like to work on too… maybe that’ll be one of my goals for Q2, Isabelle! Can you remind me then? ;) I’d love to know how you plan to stop. Any tricks? Or punishments that would encourage you to break the habit?

  • Reply Tim January 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Cait,
    Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s speech “The flight of the hummingbird’ a curiosity driven life”? It is really good. I showed it to my high school classes I teach. Here is the address: http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-sessions/what-a-soul-mate-truly-is-and-why-you-might-not-want-to-marry-him-2/

  • Reply Amelia January 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    This post and all the comments are so inspiring! I’m motivated to come up with some goals of my own for the next little while.

  • Reply Maggie January 7, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I just wanted to say that finding this blog in these first few days of 2016 has been a big help to me and motivated me to start with a shopping ban. I am a young professional, but thanks to my nine years of post-grad education have six figure debt to show for it. It will be awhile before I can make a big impact on the debt as I am still training – but I am feeling more committed than ever to keep the beast under control!

  • Reply Abigail @ipickuppennies January 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Smart to only plan for 3 months at a time. Too many ups and downs to realistically plan otherwise. That’s our problem over here, since both my husband and myself have chronic health conditions. It’s a gamble how any given week will go, though things have been calmer lately.

    My goal this year is to increase my blogging income to anything resembling a profit. And we’re trying to figure out how to live on $766 less than normal. Yet another reason to increase blog income, I suppose.

  • Reply Laura Beth January 7, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    You’re an inspiration to all of us Cait. You’re creative, smart and a real go-getter. But you also know what you want out of life. I’ve been following your journey for a while and will be doing so going forward. Happy new year!

  • Reply Leanne January 8, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I announced my ~not quite~ shopping ban today! http://brokeinthebigsmoke.com/lifestyle/money/not-quite-shopping-ban/ I’m really enjoying using your planner to keep track. I keep it in my office drawer and keep all my receipts so I can write everything down. Wish me luck! x

  • Reply Christine January 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Have you heard of the Travel Assistance Program (TAP) in BC? If you travel out of your area to see a specialist that you can’t see locally you may be eligible for funds to cover certain carriers (i.e. BC Ferries). Your GP would have to refer you and would have the information and form or you can go online to get more info. Unfortunately you can’t do it retroactively.

  • Reply Jessica January 9, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Hey Cait, I’m Jess from Australia.

    I came across your blog the day I decided to get my finances in order (it was fate!) and I’ve loved trawling through your posts. I currently have a $4.5k credit card bill (the balance of which I’ve just transferred over to a 0% interest CC for the first 18 months) that I’m working to pay off in 12 months, and then I’ve also gotten a car loan as my previous car I owned outright just died. :(

    It’s so heartening to see that aggressively paying off debts CAN be done, so long as you have the determination to make it happen. I’ve also subscribed to train of thought re: simplifying your life- I’ve just sold a heap of my (never-worn, brand new with tags) designer accessories on eBay and am in the process of clearing out all the other junk I have too. I thought I’d feel stressed having less, but it’s actually weirdly liberating!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you- your blog is awesome and I hope 2016 brings you everything you desire. x

  • Reply leah January 10, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Wow, you are killing it! Looking forward to the podcast.

  • Reply Bonnie January 13, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Just ordered my planner!

  • Reply Caitlin January 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Looking forward to listening to your podcast! You are such an inspiration – not someone with a pinterest life, but a flesh and bones, “by golly, if Cait did it, so can I” sort. I hope that makes sense.

    We have a shopping ban of sorts happening in our house this year. Amazon Prime and the lure of Chase Sapphire Travel Awards really got us over the holidays. The good news is that we have the credit card paid off and we have at least one airline ticket to Europe paid for. The bad news is that we dipped into savings. Oops.

    So goals –

    Financial –
    – Learn to live UNDER budget.
    – Get the savings/emergency account up to 10k by September.

    Fun –
    – Travel to Europe by September.
    – Plant a vegetable garden.

  • Reply noemi January 17, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    My goals for the next three months are to use your Mindful Budgeting Planner EVERY DAY (I have so far–I absolutely love it–THANK YOU!) and to work through Joshua Becker’s Uncluttered coarse. I KonMari’ed my home over a year ago but the clutter is encroaching again and I want my home to be more of a peaceful sanctuary and less of a stressful mess. So those are my current goals. ;)

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