I’m expecting big things for 2012. Most importantly, I’m going to be preparing for the end of civilization. I’ll be freezing Furbies and other great human accomplishments that I want to be preserved. However, I think it would be prudent to plan for my future. I know, I know…there’s a 99% chance that civilization will end, but I still shouldn’t ignore the 1% chance that somehow we avert disaster and survive.
Similar to last year, I’m going to break my goals into three separate categories: financial, personal, and blog-related. Since this is a personal finance blog, I tend to focus my goals around the financial aspects of my life.
#1: Save $5,000 toward new car
Right now I have $1,000 in my car savings account. I’m expecting to need a new car sometime in the next year so I want to save an additional $5,000 toward the cause. Used car prices are quite high right now, but I’m hoping they drop a bit as new car sales have picked up. If used car prices haven’t come back down, I may find myself looking to buy a used car. With only having $6k to go toward it I’d need to take out a car loan. I haven’t decided how I feel about that having made the strides to conquer my debt that I have. The benefit of a car loan is that it would enable me to manage my cash flow better, which is something I need while I’m young. I haven’t built up a large pile of cash, but I have good future earnings potential and a lot of big short-term expenses.
#2: Save $5,000 toward wedding
I got engaged in 2011, and I plan to get married in the summer of 2013. This year I’m going to save $5k toward the wedding as I wait to get a better idea of what financial help we’ll receive and how much the wedding will cost.
#3: Save $5,000 toward honeymoon
I’m going to save up to pay for the honeymoon after we get married. We aren’t sure on the destination, but wherever we go, it’s going to be good (read: not cheap).
#4: Save $5,000 to contribute to my Roth IRA
I’ve contributed the maximum to my IRA each year since 2008 and that isn’t going to stop anytime soon. I’ll be making the maximum contribution again this year.
#5: Save at least $10,000 toward a house
If we could afford to move into a house today we would. House prices are low, as are interest rates. However, houses are still pretty expensive here in California and we don’t have the money saved (nor do we have the income to qualify). So, we’re stuck dreaming for now. But until then, I’m going to be saving toward that house. This year I have a lot of other expenses to save for (car and wedding), but I’m going to try to save $10k toward the house. And then next year, I’ll really be throwing money at our house savings.
#6: Earn an average of $1,500 per month in side income
Last year my goal was $1,000/mo and I made it. This year I’m increasing that to push myself more.
As you can see, the total savings goals of $30,000 on my $54,000 base salary is quite aggressive. But after last year’s progress I figure that it’s doable, especially if I’m able to increase my side income as I’m hoping.
#7: Publish an average of 5 posts per month
Last year I utterly failed in updating this blog. I really want to make time to make it into something I can be proud of. I need to update it with valuable posts more often.
#8: Monetize my blog
It’s time to make an effort to monetize this blog. However, I won’t sell-out. I won’t advertise products that I don’t agree with or support. I also won’t fill the website up with ads; I’ll keep the site clean. No doubt this will harm my earnings potential from the site, but it’s the way it’s going to be.
#9: Lose 52 pounds
This works out to be a pound per week, which is a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. I’ve always been good at shedding weight quickly over 2 weeks or so, but I’ve never been good at sustaining the drive and continuing for long periods of time. With a goal of losing 52 pounds in a year, I’m going to have to be diligent. But even more important, I’m going to have to be able to pick myself up and get back on the horse. There will be times when I have a slice of cheesecake or a piece of pizza. The important thing is that I don’t let it spiral away. Taking five steps forward and one step back still moves me forward four steps. To help me get there, I’ll be weighing myself each Sunday morning. I’ll be graphing my weight on a piece of posterboard. I’ll also be rewarding myself each 10 pounds that I lose. Unlike previous diets, I won’t be “rewarding” myself with a pizza or ice cream. I’ll find something to reward myself with that costs $50-100.
#10: Track and report on my progress every month
I’m going to do a better job this year of tracking and reporting my progress on my goals. I’ll work on a new template for reporting my progress besides just posting my balance sheet. I really want to hold myself accountable for sticking with all of my goals. Even if I gain 10 pounds for the year I’m going to be tracking and reporting that failure. Please, help me out by holding me accountable.
I think that these 10 goals are going to keep me busy for the year and really push me in the right direction. Assuming I meet my savings goals I’ll finish the year with a net worth of approximately $65,000. If I’m able to increase my net worth $30,000 and shed 52 pounds I’ll consider the year extremely successful. I think you achieve the most out of life by setting aggressive goals and pursuing them with passion, and that’s exactly what I intend on doing. I hope you’ll join me on my journey this year.