Happy 2009! Let me just start by saying that if your New Year’s resolution involves budgeting, try out this simple budget spreadsheet: 2009 Budget Spreadsheet (5979).
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions because they provide another opportunity for me to let myself down. I suppose that the New Year isn’t something that motivates me. Other factors may motivate a successful resolution, but they have to carry weight. For some people, perhaps that’s realizing that another year has passed and they still haven’t done whatever it is they now resolve to do.
I prefer New Year’s goals or simply looking into the New Year and making plans. So here are my financial plans for 2009:
- Pay off the car. We’re almost there in paying off the car. I had plans to pay it off by May based on using my blog/consulting income as well as part of Micah’s teaching stipend. Over Christmas I learned that I’ll probably (I don’t like to count on things until I have them) be receiving a legacy in January which should help us pay most or all of it off.
I’ll write more about that and what we’re doing next as things occur. Pretty excited, because an extra $250 minimum (the minimum payment, not including the snowflakes) a month is awesome. Plus, it’ll make student loans the only debts we have left. And that $250 will be a powerful snowflake. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
- Hire an accountant to do my taxes. Something else I plan to write more about…taxes for bloggers and other freelancers. I opted for high withholding and set aside money for taxes, so I’m not worried about being able to pay taxes. But I’m quite overwhelmed by having to sort them out.
I include this as a goal because finding one will be a brave step for me. I really like to be financially independent and manage my own money and I’ve always done my own taxes (until last year, I did them manually too!). Also, this should be a learning experience. I can find out what parts I did right, what I should do for the next year, etc. I plan to get on this goal in January, right after we get our W-2s.
- Open a 401(k) retirement account. My employer won’t match until I’ve been there 2 years, but they offer the Vanguard funds I’ve been interested in. And I won’t need a lump sum up front if I commit to monthly amounts. Plus, once I’m there for 2 years there’s an awesome employer match, so I might as well get started.
Not going to let this economy keep me from saving for retirement.
Those are the main goals. Then I have some personal ones, like embarking on a writing project I’ve been meaning to do for a while, finishing an eBook I’m writing (WordPress-related, not personal finance), continuing the exercise routine Micah and I have gotten into, becoming an even awesomer blogger , maintaining a regular sleep schedule, staying social…those are the ones I can think of offhand.
Oh, and keeping up my offline diary (where I go into the goals in more detail). I started it just a couple months ago and it’s a wonderful release after all the pressure of writing a blog. Blogging is fun, but some days I feel a need to be interesting, insightful, and to control my content. I wouldn’t want to write something which would hurt a reader that I know personally, or a member of my family (who all seem to read this blog…).
Writing in it makes me feel so good. I don’t have to worry if anyone but me cares or if it sounds stupid. Blogs will probably never replace personal journals and diaries, and I don’t think they should try to.