Well, here we are. A new year, and a new work week. I bet you’re really pumped about being back in the office today, no?
We are now one number further along in a series of numbers that represent the span of our lives, and it can be important to people to celebrate all that has past in their last circle around the sun and to hope for good tidings to come. And from this, we have developed the cultural phenomenon known as “New Years Resolutions”.
You’ve already heard my resolution, but here’s a reminder. I plan to spend no more than $1000 CAD (about $800 USD) right now per month, all year. That’s it. My goal for the year.
I’ve laid out my budget when we started this journey, and have eliminated a few expenses in the meantime. So now I’ve gone and set the upper limit to $1,000/month, and allowed whatever remains after the “Necessities”, “Luxuries”, “Charities” and “Banking” monsters have been fed to be what remains in my “Day-to-Day” pot (groceries, gas, tacos, beer, etc.). I’ve copy/pasted my Spending Tracking spreadsheet throughout the year and have tried to project all costs for the year using this simple budget and the knowledge I have of my schedule and plans, so far. And, having given it a real honest try after spending the last few months refining and getting real about my budget and all costs that exist, I believe that my projections reflect a possible reality and that this goal is within my reach. Currently, I am projected to overshoot it by a few hundred dollars but that would effectively be the same for my financial and retirement prospects, and a huge success overall. That said, I still hope I will find a few ways to cut spending throughout the process and really exist within the budget of $12,000 for 2018.
Now, you must think that I am sacrificing a lot to try to achieve this? And that it’s completely unreasonable for most people to slash their spending so drastically? Well, you’re wrong. In fact, 6 months of this year will be spent doing what I love most – surfing – near my modest home (paid in full, also an income property) in Mexico. How many people can say that they spend 6 months of their year doing precisely what they know they love most?
Although, to be completely honest, 2 of those weeks will be spent surfing in Peru instead (oh no!), and a few more spent visiting family and friends in Canada during the summer and again over the holiday season (how horrible!). The other 6 months will be spent at work, and that is a drag, I can’t lie. But with a little luck and a lot of actiong it is looking like I may be fully retired at this time next year, if not within just a few months of it, so I can handle this particular sacrifice just fine for now, because in the meantime I am pretty damn happy with how things are going.
Of course, there’s things I can’t (i.e. choose not to) do and don’t have that others do, or have, sure. But no matter who we are, we can’t have it all and we can’t do it all. I am trying my best to be real with myself about what I want to have and what I want to do, and am chasing that down with grit while trying not to get distracted by the shiny traps along the way.
And, to be clear, I am earning more than $12,000. 2018 will probably be the year I have earned the most so far and maybe even ever. It’s just that my extra income is being invested rather than spent on things I don’t need, something we can all do on many scales. I am hopeful to make a nice return on those investments throughout the year, with the goal for those returns being to support my retirement and continue to grow. Not to spend haphazardly because it is ‘free money’.
You see, what we call sacrifice is really all relative and based on perspective. It’s like quitting smoking – you’re much better off focusing on the things you’re gaining by quitting rather than the uselessness and death you’re depriving yourself of by not. I am spending less and investing more this year in part to maximize those potential returns in order to move my retirement date forward. To me, those are not sacrifices at all, it’s just the execution of a different approach than what we have been lulled into believing is the only way to go about things. A big part of trying to do this is to demonstrate to myself just how little we need to be happy, and how much we waste when we’re not mindful about our money. And, based on how the tail end of 2017 has gone, I have no reason to believe 2018 won’t be my most pleasurable year yet, while also being my most lucrative and least expensive.
So, what is yours New Year’s resolution? I really hope you’re not saving up for a new car or something like that.
Let me know in the comments.