My budget is in place (in Excel anyways) and so far it looks pretty good. I'm saving an average of $350 in rent and bills thanks to the smart decision to move to the apartment. I have also canceled my internet cable (hello to the kind person who is currently supplying the wireless network, when I find out who you are I will make you some banana bread), which saves me another $35 a month.
My Emergency Fund is almost complete and I have made arrangements to "pay myself first" by deducting 10% of my gross pay each month and transferring it to an ING-type account. The transfer is made only once a month because, well, have I ever mentioned that I get paid only once a month? Yeah.
I have my $20 a week set aside for personal spending, and 20% of that goes to my version of titheing: $2 to my self-help group and another $2 to the offering plate at the UU church. I aim to be able to offer more to each once my savings account is established and I can skim a percentage from that account to give to each group, plus a third cause that is to be determined.
My employer deducts 6.5% of my gross pay and invests it in a pension fund, and I am going to do my part by putting another 3.5% into my RRSP. This year I hope to learn how to invest RRSP money instead of just letting it sit in the account, as it has been doing the past five years. I recently bought a 5-year RRSP GIC before I knew what to do with it. This year rather than putting a set amount aside each month I am going to take the 3.5% annual amount from my income tax return and deposit it immediately.
I am going to continue with my $40 group-RESP payment, but have decided to forgo increasing the shares, and am going to try to self-direct a new RESP account with funds from the Slush Fund. This way we will have the best of both worlds when it is time for Bean to attend post-secondary. As well, I hope to encourage him to take a year off in between high school and uni to earn his first year tuition, or two or three years off if he wants to save up and travel. I'll do my best to help him out but realistically at this rate I won't be able to fully bankroll his endeavors and besides, I think he might appreciate the value of his education and travel if he learns to pay for some or most of it himself. I'll probably be blogging about this a lot in the future.
I'll continue to pay out $50 a month for life insurance: $25 is my 5-year Term policy and $25 is for Bean's Universal policy (which might be worth something like $400 000 by the time he is forty, or is it $800 000?).
This is a stretch, but I have found a yoga teacher training course in Chiang Mai, Thailand and I hope to attend the six weeks of classes in 2010. I spent two months in Chiang Mai in 2005 and would love to return. I also have had yoga teacher training on my to-do list for years, not so much to teach but to deepen my practice. I'll discuss this more in my "Personal Goals for 2009 bandwagon" post later.
Last and certainly not least, I will reduce my consumer debts by between $500 and $700 a month this year, and plan to continue to do so until the debts are fully paid. I have started a semi-'snowflaking' schedule to reach this goal and reduce the burden of trying to make the full payment when I get paid each month on the 28th. Have I mentioned already that I get paid only once a month? :)