Five Midsummer Goals

Funny about Money challenged me and other bloggers to come up with five new goals or ideas to improve our financial life, here in midsummer 2008. Then we’ll see, come the end of the year, whether any of these bear fruit.

Five new goals, huh?

Hmmm.

Okay, here’s we go…

1. Increase deposits to savings account by $250 per month. On the surface this should be easy since I’ll be saving the $200-$250 per month I was paying for Son’s preschool. Then again I am about to quit my job, so it’s a good goal.

2. Monetize a blog. I’m not sure if this one should be monetized, but I’ve been wanting to start a profit-making blog for awhile.  Stay tuned.

3. Sell all of my saleable stock. I have a bunch of baby clothes, toys and other miscellanea that needs to go on Craigslist or be sold in some other way. Gee, wonder why no one’s buying it. Oh, that’s right. It has to be listed so they know it’s for sale…

4. Get Quicken, or another money management software (suggestions welcome!). It’s embarrassing that I have not done so yet. I have my own method of random organization bolstered by masses of receipts. It’s quite effective, as you can imagine. I’d like to be able to get my taxes ready for filing by February 1 next year, instead of this year’s April 13th chaos (hey, I was two full days early!).

5. Cut restaurant spending. This is the largest area of waste in our budget. Between Husband ordering lunches and me having pleading that I’m too tired/busy/pre-menstrual too cook, we could save considerable moolah by cutting down this unnecessary spending. My new goal will be two dinners and two lunches per month. Think I should run that by Husband first? Nah.

Those are my five midsummer goals. I’m going to tag five more people, and they’ll tell five friends, and they’ll tell five friends, and so on and so on and so on…

If you aren’t tagged and would like to participate just link back to this post and I’ll post your link here. Ifyou don’t have a blog go ahead and tell us your goals in the comments!

Five bloggers who will have terrific goals and ideas:

Called on the Carpet: January 30th Financial Goals Checkup

Uh oh. It’s January 30th and I am waaaaaaaaay behind schedule for the year.

PaidTwice over at I’ve Paid For This Twice Already wrote a post checking in on her 2008 financial goals, then asked me and two others how we were doing with ours. I’d entered a really great carnival with my post It’s About the Money, Honey where I outlined my financial goals for 2008. PaidTwice wants to know how I’m doing.

The answer is not great. I got waylaid for much of December with my son getting very sick, and then I had to deal with my own version of InfectionsRUs. Then vacation, and, and…

All of which is really irrelevant, because the real reason I’m behind is that I’ve got a serious case of the “I just don’t wanna!”s. I’ve always just had a loose budget in my head, and since we have no debt and considerable savings on a single, modest income, I’ve been doing okay so far.

But I could do better. Much better.

So, here it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

1. Draw up an actual budget by January 5, 2008. I’ve finally done one. Late. Very late. Okay, today. After I saw PaidTwice’s post. I’m sure it will need tweaking, but at least it’s done. Honestly, I’m abhorring the whole process, and the thought of entering my receipts has me, on January 30th, looking for just about any distraction. Still, I will persevere. Tomorrow. Hey, American Idol is on! Grade: C-

2. Install the Peachtree Accounting program (bought for $120 and then got a $140 rebate, thank you very much) by January 5, 2008. Um, yeah. Not done. It’s sitting here right by my computer. I’ve decided to wait on this and just start small, with simple software, so as not to overwhelm me even more than I already am. My new target date for this is July 1, 2008, but I may put it off longer, depending on how things go. Grade: Incomplete

3. Review all of our IRAs and other retirement and savings accounts by March 31, 2008. Well, finally one I’m not late on. As I get my tax info together I’ll get this stuff together, and make an appointment with…someone…to go over all this stuff. Grade: Incomplete

4. Pay ourselves first. Find at least $100 per month to put into our non-401k savings, and $20 per month to put into our son’s savings account per month. I have enough left in checking this month to do both things. Yahoo! Grade: A- (saving a full A for saving more than the goal amount)

5. Learn about the stock market. Read at least one book per quarter, and at least one online article per week. I haven’t read a book yet (suggestions, anyone?), but I have been reading lots of financial articles, and even a few on the market. Blech. Grade: B

6. Enter the stock market by the end of the year. Not a thing done yet. Grade: Incomplete

So, that’s one A-, a B, a C- and three incompletes.

Not a stellar start, but a start it is.

Sometimes one needs to get called on the carpet to get back on track. So, thanks PaidTwice. I take back all the things I said to my computer screen when I read your post. 😉

It’s About the Money, Honey

It’s the first day of December, and a good time to start thinking about our finances, and our goals for next year. I was inspired to do so by the folks over at Cash Money Life , who have set up a Carnival to encourage people to share their Financial Resolutions for 2008. Horefully we can learn something in the sharing.

We’re in pretty good shape financially. Even though we’ve been a single income household for the past three years we have no debt, besides our mortgage. We have credit cards, but we pay them off every month. We have a nice amount in savings. It’s not easy to live on one moderate income without accruing debt, but we feel blessed and grateful that we’ve been able to do it.

Still, we should be saving more money than we are, and we want to change that in 2008.

Here’s the plan.

1. Draw up an actual budget by January 5, 2008. This is something I have always resisted. I have a vague budget in my head, but nothing drawn up on paper. I’m not promising to use it for the whole year, but I do promise to try living by a budget for six months and see how it fits.

2. Install the Peachtree Accounting program (bought for $120 and then got a $140 rebate, thank you very much) by January 5, 2008. And start using it for budgeting and to keep track of receipts and expenses and such. My taxes will be soooo much easier to do next year!

3. Review all of our IRAs and other retirement and savings accounts by March 31, 2008. Consolidate and eliminate as needed to reduce fees and maximize profitability. Our biggest issue with this is not knowing who to trust with our money. Everyone seems to have an agenda. We may have to bite the bullet and just consult a financial planner – the kind that charges you an hourly rate but isn’t tied to any company, so hopefully they’ve no agenda of their own). Again, though – who to trust?

4. Pay ourselves first. Find at least $100 per month to put into our non-401k savings, and $20 per month to put into our son’s savings account per month. We haven’t been putting much into savings since I stopped working – we’ve just been maintaining the status quo. Note: These numbers may be adjusted once the budget is set.

5. Learn about the stock market. Read at least one book per quarter, and at least one online article per week.

6. Enter the stock market by the end of the year. Do the research, set a budget and jump in. Again – who to trust?

We also hope to sell our house and move out of state in 2008. I’m going to cry if that doesn’t happen. Cry a lot.

By reaching these goals our financial picture will be much more focused than it is the way it stands now. That’s a good thing.

See how I’m doing on my goals! Check out Called on the Carpet: January 30th Financial Goals Checkup!

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