Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear ISaved5K blog. Happy birthday to you. It’s hard to imagine that this blog just turned 1 year old recently. It was at this time about 1 year ago that I decided to start a Canadian personal finance blog to share my financial journey and experience with this community.
For this 1 year anniversary, I would like to take the time to thank all my readers for coming along for the ride and sharing your valuable thoughts on every post. Without you, my financial journey for the last year wouldn’t have been as exciting and rewarding as it is. For that, I am grateful to have connected with you and reading your feedback on each post.
You’ve made me a better writer, a responsible investor, a conscious money manager and most importantly, a more reliable and accountable person. Ever since I started blogging, I’ve posted at least 1 post per week and had not missed a post in any week. I truly enjoy sharing my two cents with you and will continue to do so as long as I feel that my posts are making a difference in your financial life and mine.
To celebrate this special 1 year anniversary, I am going to share the #1 financial goals that everyone can and should try to achieve. That’s right, all 12 goals that I am sharing will be related to #1. Can you try to do 1 better than what you are doing now? Let’s get started.
12 – Pay Off 1 Credit Card Balance
To start off, let’s take a look at our personal debt first. If you have multiple credit cards and you are currently carrying a balance on your cards, can you start off by paying off the balance of 1 card? Don’t cheat now. You can’t transfer your balance from one card to another. That doesn’t count.
There is a caveat to this goal. It’s actually, “pay off 1 credit card balance at a time until you have paid off all the balances on your credit cards”. To help you find the best debt elimination strategy, here’s the best way to way to get out of debt.
11 – Make 1 Extra Student Loan Payment
From an income tax efficiency perspective, interest paid on your student loans are tax deductible. You get a portion of the interest back in the form of a tax refund and most financial advisors will classify a student loan as a good form of debt.
From a pure finance point of view, debt is debt. If your debt is costing you money and it’s not helping you earn more money, it should be paid back as soon as possible. So why not try to eliminate your student loan debt faster by making 1 extra payment quarterly or semi-annually?
10 – Make 1 Extra Car Loan Payment
Unless you have a business that requires the use of a vehicle, the interest on your car loan will be a personal expense rather than a business expense. If the car loan is a personal expense, you cannot use it to lower your income tax. To keep more money in our pocket, why not try to pay it off a bit faster?
The faster you pay off your car loan, the sooner you get to allocate this money to income generating assets. Wouldn’t you rather have your money working hard to earn more money instead of earning more profit for the car company or the bank?
9 – Make 1 Extra Mortgage Payment
If you are a homeowner and you are currently paying your mortgage on a monthly basis, there is an easy way to make 1 extra mortgage payment. By updating your payment schedule from monthly to bi-weekly, you can accomplish this. The good part of this schedule change is that the extra payment can shave years off your mortgage and potentially save you thousands.
8 – Spend 1 Percent Less Of Your Income
This goal may seem simple, but cutting your spending by any amount is no easy feat. For example, if you are making $50,000 per year and your total annual spending is $25,000, you’ll need to reduce your spending by $500 to $24,500 per year. If you divide up this $500 into 52 weeks, you’ll only need to cut your spending by $9.62 (=$500/52) per week. Pretty much equivalent to brown bagging your lunch to work once per week. Can you do it?
7 – Earn 1 Percent More In Extra Income
Alternatively, if you don’t want to cut your spending, you can always increase your earning. However, since your expenses are after-tax money, you’ll have to increase your earning by about $666.67 per year assuming your tax rate is about 25% at $50,000 annual income. If you divide $666.67 into 52 weeks, you only need to earn an extra $12.82 (=$666.67/52) per week. You can easily do two online surveys per week and earn that $12.82 per week.
6 – Read 1 More Personal Finance Book
To improve your financial knowledge, you can read 1 more personal finance book per year. Be it debt management, real estate investment, stock market investment or savings, pick the area that you are motivated to improve the most. The next personal finance book may change your life forever. If you are looking for recommendations, check out the Rockstar Finance book list.
5 – Read 1 More Blog Post Per Week
You’re already reading my weekly post, isn’t that the 1 blog post per week? Well, I would definitely want to think that by reading my weekly post is sufficient for you to accomplish this goal, but I’ll be doing you a disservice. What I am sharing is only a small amount of information and experience. You need to broaden your financial horizon and give other brands of personal finance blog a try. Here is a list of other Canadian personal finance bloggers that I would recommend.
4 – Save 1 Extra Paycheque
Can you challenge yourself to save 1 extra paycheque on top of what you are saving now? You don’t have to save all of it at once. To make it easier, just divide up your extra saving evenly throughout the year. For example, if your bi-weekly paycheque is $2,000 per period, then you just need to sock away $76.92 (=$2,000/26) for each pay cycle. By the end of the year, you’ll have 1 extra paycheque saved.
3 – Get 1 Percent Of Your Income In Free Money
Some people say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, those people are dining at the wrong restaurant. There are lots of free money available out there. If you look hard enough, you’ll definitely be able to find at least three sources of free money easily.
To start you off, you can get free money from your employer matching when you save. You can get free money from the government when you contribute to your kid’s RESP. You can get free money when you shop with your cashback credit cards. You can get free money when you start your online shopping with Ebates.ca. Heck, you can even get free money when you pay your bills. So getting 1 percent of your income in free money is almost as easy as 1-2-3.
2 – Contribute 1 Thousand Dollars Per Year To Your Kid’s RESP
The cost of education keeps on going up. The average Canadian student graduated with about $26,819 in student loan debt based on an article from National Post. If you are a parent, investing in your kid’s education will definitely provide you with a great return in the future. On top of that, your RESP contribution will get a 20% government grant and grow tax-deferred. Only the grants and gains will be taxed. It’s taxed based on the beneficiary’s income on the year it’s withdrawn.
1 – Donate 1 Percent Of Your Income To Charity
Once you’ve kept your debt in checked and your savings growing, what else should you do with your money? How about using your wealth to assist others in need by donating to charities that support people in need? If you are financially stabled and are in a position to give, I would recommend giving 1 percent of your earning to charity on an annual basis.
My Two Cents
The millionaire next door doesn’t become a millionaire overnight. Those millionaires became wealthy by taking small steps to achieve their big financial goals over a long period of time. Every small step that you take to improve your finance, builds on top of another step. This will eventually help you take major leaps and strides to achieve any major financial goals that you have set for yourself.
So readers, can you try to do 1 better than what you doing right now? Start small and pick any of the 12 goals and try to achieve it as soon as you can. Come back for another one until you have achieved all 12.