The holidays are over and the end of 2013 has arrived. Already?! Yup, this year has flown by, and it is time to reflect on the events of this past year. I feel as though this was my first year as an actual “grown-up”. It was my first full year of employment, my first full year of living on my own, and I just recently hit the quarter-century-age mark.
As I mentioned, this was my first full year of full-time work. I spent a lot of time working and sometimes it feels like that’s all I did this year. Although the first few months of the year were a little slow, things picked up in the spring and I had a very busy summer and fall. I’ve taken on much more responsibility and am really enjoying my work. I have grown my professional network and there are many opportunities that lie ahead in my career.
I took three trips this year. We went to Las Vegas to go see the Rolling Stones live in concert, we spent 2 weeks traveling around England and Amsterdam visiting friends, and we had a road trip down to Minneapolis with a group of friends to attend an NHL game and do some shopping. Although this does sound like a good amount of traveling, it’s actually only 2 weeks and a couple long weekends. I would like to travel more in the coming years, and am busy planning my upcoming trip to South America. I would love to be able to travel at least 6 weeks of the year.
My boyfriend (also known as B) and I are now technically in a common-law relationship as of October, since we’ve been living together for more than a year. We didn’t really think much of it, since we’ve been together for around 7 or 8 years already, but we have figured out how to live happily together and we are in a really good place right now.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time with family and friends over the past year, and for that I am grateful. I always take it for granted that we have so many friends and family members in the same city as us. It makes it so much easier to see everyone without having to make a trip out to see them.
2013 was the first year where I actually tracked my income, expenses, and savings rate. It’s also the first time I ever really made an official budget. The bigger success here is that I was able to get B onboard with tracking his own finances, since we have shared expenses but all our accounts are separate. This will be a good step towards one day merging our finances. We’ve also held monthly finance meetings where we go over the budget and see where the money went, and set goals and expectations for the upcoming month. This has seriously been the best thing for our finances and helps make sure we won’t fight over anything money-related!
2013 was a big year for investing for me. Not because I had any big gains, but because this year I decided to learn how to invest and took the plunge into DIY investing. I opened a discount brokerage account and transferred my high-cost mutual funds to low-cost index funds. I now manage all my investments myself and have been doing a ton of reading on the subject.
At the beginning of 2013, I barely knew what a blog was, let alone how to start one and operate one. I started reading a whole bunch of blogs this year when I started my quest to invest, and eventually got this blog off the ground with some motivation from Kraig from Create My Independence. I’ve learnt a lot in the process, including how to write a post, how to promote content, and how to use WordPress, however I still have a lot to learn and am looking forward to progressing with this whole blogging thing!
Health and Nutrition
I went through a nutrition program through work where I discussed 1-on-1 with a nutritionist on a weekly basis. I learned a lot about what I should be doing and have adjusted a few of my eating habits in order to be healthier. I now eat fish once a week and stick to whole grains! However, even though I know what I should be eating, I could definitely eat a healthier diet.
This year was the first full year I got a gym membership, and my goal was to go to the gym 3 times per week. I got through the first 4 months without missing a week, but then our travels got in the way and I failed on the New Year’s resolution. I didn’t use my membership as much in the summer either since I would prefer doing activities outside. I am still going 1-2 times per week but I could really improve on this.
I started getting into photography this year, since I got a DSLR camera for my birthday at the end of last year. I can’t say I’ve mastered the craft but I did register for an online photography course. Although I watched all the content I didn’t hand in all the assignments so I didn’t successfully complete the course. But I did learn all how to operate my camera and can actually use the manual mode to get a decent picture!
I also started reading a lot more this year, and have read about 20 books this year. A lot of the books I have read this year were non-fiction investing or personal finance related books. I’ve taken a keen interest to this topic over the last year and I will continue to read as much as I can.
If you asked me how my year went, I would tell you that I think it was pretty mundane; I mostly just worked and went about my everyday life. I’ve never had such a routine year before since in the past I was always in school while working and traveling as much as possible. But after a quick review it seems that I’ve made quite a bit of progress towards achieving financial independence, and I have a lot to be grateful for: 2013 you were good to me!
How was your year? Did you achieve all your goals? Tell me in the comments or leave a link to your 2013 summary.