I’m not usually one to chit-chat about the weather but this cold in Canada has even got me making small talk with strangers! Now that March is here I feel like the end of the deep freeze is in sight and I’ll be sipping beers on the deck in no time.
Lent started last month (for all you god-fearin’ folk out there) and as a kid I always gave up something for the 40 days. I got away from that in my university years as I could barely tell you what day of the week it was, let alone what month, but I’ve found recently I enjoy putting a challenge out there for myself. I set up some aggressive goals for 2015 and after two months it’s a good time to review how these challenges are coming along:
- Max out TFSA – Currently I still have about $13k in contributions I still need to make to my TFSA. These contributions are currently taking a backseat to my RSP contributions. The reason for this is purely tax planning related. RSP contributions allow for an upfront tax benefit (as you get to deduct from your net income) which will allow the money to sit in my investment accounts for a longer period time and hopefully grow. I’ve been focusing on the RSP over the last two months to increase my tax refund for 2014 (NOTE: March 2nd, 2015 is the last day of RSP contributions to be used for your 2014 tax return!). If you’re having a tough time deciding between TFSA or RSP contributions check out this earlier article.
- Save 45% of Gross Income – I’ve socked away approximately 52% of my gross income to date in 2015. I was actually hoping for a bit higher as I’ll have some decent expenses coming up throughout the rest of the year, but it’s still a good start for me.
- Earn $5,000 in Side Hustles – I’ve only earned a couple hundred on side hustles thus far in 2015. With tax season coming up I’ll likely take a good chunk out of that over the next few months doing returns here and there.
- Donate $500 to Charity – I haven’t given anything to charity to date, with the exception of some empties in my recycling bin that a guy on a bike picks up on garbage day…but I don’t think that counts. I’m going to scope out a few charities over the next 2 months to see where I feel my money could best be used. There’s actually a not-for-profit organization out there that ranks charities on a bunch of different factors that I’ll be using to make my decision – Charity Intelligence.
- Pay Down an Additional $10k on the Mortgage – $Nil to date, but my tax refund should be able to cover more than half of this. I’ll be eager to file my taxes right away so I can pay it off. An interesting development is interest rates went down in February 2015, which lowered my mortgage payment (I have a variable rate mortgage). Despite the savings of a lower rate I’m still keen to pay off my mortgage, even after considering I should be able to earn more via safe fixed income investments.
Below is my net worth update for February 2015:by