Well I made it about 12 whole hours into the new year before I decided that I probably should have added one more goal to my Financial Goals for 2009 list. That would be Number 5– Buy home insurance. Well, renter’s insurance, as I am currently renting an apartment and likely will be for a while yet. It’s on my 101 Things list, but on New Year’s Day, I definitely set my stove ON FIRE. I mean ACTUAL FLAMES. Whoops? Don’t worry, everything is fine… a pan boiled over into the drip pan, burnt, and then ignited. I was standing in the kitchen in front of the pot when it happened and put it out immediately. But you can’t help but think… what if I hadn’t been standing right there? What if one of my neighbors had set THEIR stove on fire, and couldn’t put it out? After all, the security of my home and my belongings also counts on 7 other people not doing something wrong, not just my own actions!
But back to the goals I DID make. I’ve been crunching the numbers and trying to figure out how to make it work so I can come to you on January 1, 2010 and say YES I accomplished them all.
1. Pay off my car — I’m counting on selling some belongings to accomplish this one. In specific, I’m selling my Wii to my mom. Like I mentioned here when I first threw out the idea of selling it, the MSRP on my Wii and the games is $480. (I may have spent a slight bit more than that due to the Wii Fit being out of stock EVERYWHERE). It was one of those purchases that was almost immediately regretted because I bought it when I couldn’t afford it, but I persisted anyways. Of course the guilt of “Do you realize what you could have done with four HUNDRED and eighty dollars?” kept me from really enjoying it. I’ve barely turned it on in a couple of months, my mom really wants a Wii, and I can use the money she’s giving me more than I can use a $480 dust collector on my TV stand. Mom’s got the money budgeted out of her next paycheck, so as long as nothing changes, hopefully within the next 2 weeks my car will be paid off.
2. Put money back in my emergency fund — my modest goal is $500 for the year. I can either put $42 a month back for this, or put the whole amount back when I get my tax refund.
3. Save money for Christmas in cash– this is basically the same as number 2.
4. Pay off WaMu Credit Card– I’ve been playing with this one alot since this is the one that I’m worried about. According to the many calculators I’ve found online, this will take $278 a month. And for those of you playing at home, no the monthly payments for all three are not in my current budget. I’m trying to decide if I’m going to use the monthly budget for my savings budgets, and put the whole tax refund on my credit card, or the other way around.
Putting the lump sum on my credit card probably makes more sense, given the interest rates in question, but I like the idea of being able to set aside the whole amounts (or just about) into savings at the beginning of the year, having the money there in case something were to happen, and being able to focus on just the one goal that’s left. That’s the way I’m leaning, but I probably won’t decide until I know just how much my tax refund is going to be (I’ve played with the numbers and have an estimate) and when it will be here.
Also, I still don’t know what a regular paycheck at the new rate is going to look like, so that will affect my numbers a little bit. It probably won’t make a huge difference, but it should make hitting those target numbers at least a little bit easier. Either way though, I’m going to have to be good about finding extra money and really snowflaking where I can… right now, when categories come in under budget, sometimes the surplus finds it’s way onto the focus debt, but sometimes it just stays in my account and becomes a checkbook leak.
We all know how quickly things can change, but at this point, I’m optimistic. And hey, even if I don’t hit all the goals, at least I’ll be in a much better position at this time next year!