Friday, January 2, 2009

My Resolutions For 2009!

I spent a long time yesterday reading the resolutions from many of my blogging compadres and it made mine feel a tad inadequate. Beachgirl, for example, posted 109 resolutions for 2009. Wow. I'm not too keen on the word "resolution" and as I've explained, it's sort of hard to post financial resolutions/goals when so much could happen in the next several weeks that would impact these goals. But I decided to buck up and post some goals to keep my honest. Here they are:

  1. Save up a $2000 Emergency Fund
  2. Eliminate Law School Loan (Current Balance = $1932)
  3. Save up a Christmas Fund of $300.
  4. Save $1000 for Special Event* in 2010.
  5. Continue to save 10% of my salary for retirement.**
  6. Pay off all short term debt - don't acquire new debt.
Last year started out disastrously (payday loans, overdraft fees, etc.). Then I started the blog, started budgeting, started paying Aunt Sallie and it's been pretty much just keeping my head above water since then. In 2009 I need to step it up and achieve some fiscal responsibility. The Emergency Fund is of course the most important and I don't care if I fail at everything else if I can get this one goal accomplished. Ideally, I should be saving $167 each month in order to reach this goal. This probably won't happen until at least February so don't hold your breath.

Second, my law school in an act of extreme benevolence decided to give me a $2000 loan in my third year of school. For this they are charging me a whopping 8% interest. If I stick to their payment plan of $40 a month, I will only reduce this debt by $72. Yes, you read that right friends. This loan has got to go bye bye. Starting immediately I will increase my payment to $54 a month, which would put me on track to pay the entire balance in 3 years and 5 months (instead of 8 years) and will throw any additional money (I'm looking at you, Extra Paycheck) in order to achieve this goal.

Christmas didn't bankrupt me this year, yay! But it still wasn't planned for in advance and I incurred even more debt ($60) to Boyfriend for our joint gifts. Next year I will be prepared by saving a mere $25 a month.

Special Event* to be named later though you may be able to guess the nature of this event. Sigh. Why did I have to fall in love? Not gonna start this goal until after the move. If I move in May as planned, I would need to save $142 a month.

There's an asterisk next to my goal of saving 10% for retirement since I am currently only voluntarily saving 7% of my salary and the other 3% is saved for me by my pension. If I lose my job, I will roll over this money to a Roth IRA. If I stay a public employee it will stay as is. If I join the private sector I may decide something else entirely.

And lastly, I will pay off all my Short Term Debt (why, oh why did I choose that name for this category?) in 2009. This includes Boyfriend (who has to give me a full accurate accounting please), overdue water ($300), overdue utilities ($125), Friend C ($60), and Capital One ($400). Getting rid of these debts will let me breathe a little easier ($105 in regular payments gone) and focus on the rest of my goals. Also Nice Collection Agency will be paid in full early into 2010 (currently paying $125).

And onto personal goals, which I'm fairly excited to write about:
  1. Read 109 books
  2. Get wisdom teeth extracted
  3. Simplify my life
  4. Move!
  5. Be a better friend
  6. Learn how to use eye liner
You read that right, I've resolved to read 109 books in 2009. In fact, I am happy to announce that I have created a new blog solely devoted to books. Check it out! I will be posting under my alter ego, Reading Diva. The blog will have a frugal theme as well - I will not spend money acquiring new books. This is actually a resolution I made several years ago when I realized how much money I was spending on books. I'm excited to have a new topic to write about since I don't always have something personal finance related to say and entries saying "hi, I'm still broke" may get a little boring.

And sadly, yes, I will enter my 29th year of life without being able to use eye liner. I'm not a big makeup person to begin with but this is something I need to learn!

I'll have to write separate posts on "simplifying my life" and moving but here they are, my ambitious and maybe slightly crazy 2009 goals. Wish me luck! Now I've got a lot of reading to do.


Unknown said...

Wow sounds like you do have a lot that could change your plans in 2009 but your resolutions sound great. Getting rid of those smaller debts frees up money and eases your mind, not have 3 or 4 debts your always thinking about. Good luck!

Shtinkykat said...

That's so coolio about your new book blog. It seems like you and I have similar tastes in books (e.g., David Sedaris, Harry Potter, etc.), so if you'll write a review of the books you read, it'll give me an idea of what to borrow at the library! With respect to your resolutions, you've come a long way. Once you tackle the smaller debts, I think you'll find that things will fall into place re: your other goals. Go, Sallie, go!

Daizy said...

You have a lot to do this year! Now that you put them in writing we are going to keep you accountable :) I like #6-Learn how to use eyeliner. I should add one for myself...learn how to use eyeshadow. I just can't get it.

Sallie's Niece said...

Yes eyeliner I only learned a couple of years ago after my classmate, a Mary Kay rep, gave me a free facial.

Anonymous said...

Great Goals. I feel like Beachgirl with a bunch of resolutions, but I think it will definitely be worth the time and energy to work on them.

I look forward to your book reviews. Love ready new books! Nice site, too!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Wow! Great goals! I think it's wise to focus on the smaller debts and try to get rid of them first. I'm looking forward to reading your new blog, too - I've made a goal not to buy any new books this year as, like so many, I spend far too muchh on them.

If it helps at all, I'll be 42 this year and still have no idea how to put on eyeliner...or eyeshadow! Ha!

Good luck! :)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to read more this year to so I just might have to join the book challenge to keep me focused. your goals sound great!

Kezia said...

I just stumbled across your blog -- I relate to you so much! In my mind, I'm the only educated professional who has problems with overdrafting, collection agencies and overdue utilities. I've let my shame override accountability for so long. It's wonderful to see someone who's making postive changes while remaining human. :-)

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your resolutions, I hope 2009 is a great year for you!

Escape Brooklyn said...

I got a makeover from a Bobbi Brown make-up artist years ago before my wedding, and then took my sister to their counter at Bergdorf's for her birthday one year. They did a great job and can be very helpful in the eyeliner department! ;)

Your other resolutions sound great, too!