Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Revisiting 2010 goals!

This week I have been so tired. I've been sleeping in until 9am, which is super late for me, and makes it incredibly difficult to get my run in before the sun melts me. I'm also in the middle of 6 days off! Don't ask how I accomplished that! No complaints here.
I had planned on Week 6, Day 3 this am, but woke up too late! Since I will be meeting another blogger for a bike ride this evening, I've decided to postpone the run until tomorrow morning.

This post is about goals. If some of you were reading over 6 months ago, I made my 2010 goals. Since it is halfway through the year, let's revisit some of those goals and see how I am doing, shall we?

Blue indicates that I have met this goal.
Purple will indicate that I am on the right track.
Red means I might need some work.

Continue to eat healthy and exercise
I would say I am doing excellent on this goal, especially since becoming vegetarian and signing up for two sprint triathlons. I have actually surprised myself! Isn't that the best?

Go on vacation somewhere.
My original goal was to go somewhere with Mirza for fun. I am going to count the trip to DC as a vacation because even though my hospital paid for it and I had a conference to attend, we still managed to squeeze in a lot of activities. And considering that we never go anywhere together as a couple without involving family, I would say it was a pretty successful vacation. Since Mirza is still in school, I do not expect us to be traveling too much.

Read more books!  I've been a reading machine this year! I honestly do not know how many books I have read since January, but I would say somewhere in the 15-20 range.

I'm currently reading:
(Note: I'm a big advocate of the library! I hardly ever pay for books anymore.)

Start grad school!  I have placed this goal in red because I am not quite sure when I will start school. My original goal was to enter the Adult Master's in Nursing program in Fall 2010, but right now, it is up in the air for me. I am quite conflicted because 1. I want to start school and get it finished before I get to the point in my life when I will be having children, etc. 2. But Mirza doesn't graduate until May 2011, and with his degree in Music education, I'm concerned about him finding a job and us having to relocate. 
For now, I am thinking that perhaps I will go ahead and begin Spring 2011.
Stay tidy and organized! 
Get on the day shift!  
Goal #1: Save money and pay off bills

My original post:
  • Ideally, I want an 8 months emergency fund, but quite frankly, that is impossible at this point, but I am saving up slowly. I would like to save another $2,000 for 2010. That isn't too crazy, to me, anyway.
  • Continue to contribute to my 401K. I started with $689 at the beginning of the year and I now have over $6900! woohooooo.
  • I want to pay off 75% of my car loan. Based on my tax return, this would be quite feasible, but a challenge in self-resistance. I would need about $3,000 towards the car, and then another like $375/ mo to accomplish this goal. Ultimate goal is to pay off the car completely by January 2011 from that tax return. Seeing as this is a 5 year loan, I would be paying it off in two years, which would be a huge accomplishment for me! Because of my limited credit history, I did not get the best financing options, unfortunately, but I needed a car and I did not go all out and purchase some brand-new fancy car.
  • I will have my computer paid off by mid-February, if not sooner. No biggie.
  • I know all of this will be difficult once I start school because that means more expenses, but...BUT!! Some news: I may still be eligible (for the first semester anyway, until I turn 26) to receive Veterans educational benefits because of my father (even though he died). I received > $800 a month while in undergrad because of his 100% disability (all mental), and if I go part time, I could be getting close to $400 a month, which would help A LOT!!!
  • (PS: I have no credit card debt. Only debt to name is in the form of my car and student loans, which are minimal, like $2,000).
Let's go through this, as some things have changed...

 My goal is to make 2010 the year of saving, but it is turning out to be more 'the year of spending.' I have made a few money blunders. I would not call them mistakes.

For one, I received a large chunk of money from my parents because they owed me money (they won a law suit), and instead of being completely smart and putting it all into my savings to build my emergency fund, I bought a road bike.
 However, seeing as now I can compete in triathlons and it gives me a second hobby that is mostly free (riding the bike), I take this for what it is and I try not sweat it too much.

 Second, a few months ago, I received about $500 in bonus from work! I chalked it up to "free" money since I never knew I would be getting it anyway, so it was as if the money did not exist. That is what I told myself and how I justified my purchase. That is not a good perspective to have on money. What did I buy? A VITAMIX! Hey, I love that machine, but I could have just as easily had a nice, $500 sitting in my saving's, or saved it for next year's CSA cost ($500).

As far as the whole "pay 75% of my car loan" goes, a few things have changed there, as well. When I wrote that post, I had a 5 year car loan at over 11% interest rate (I did not buy new)! I would have never paid that damn thing off. I ended up joining my credit union at work, transferred the loan, and now pay 5% over 3 years. I am saving hundreds at this point. I am still working out in my head a way to pay it off earlier than 3 years. In addition to that, when I joined the credit union, I was approved for a Visa with a limit much higher than I have on any of my other credit cards with a lower rate. Since I NEVER carry a balance on my card, I jumped at this chance as a way to boost my credit score.

The computer? I paid it off within weeks of writing that post. Gotta love the extra cash from night shift!

I still continue to contribute to my 401K at the company's match. I almost have $10,000.

To review, I could have made some better choices. I think the first half of this year can be chalked up to a rebellious act! For my entire life, I have been responsible with money. I never go out and buy expensive, frivolous things. I can distinguish between want and need! I save! I'm the saver. I know how important it is to have an emergency fund, but damnit, I WANTED some STUFF. I never get to do anything, waaaaah! I never want stuff!! What happened to me!? aaaah<---internal dialogue.

What's done is done and now I am focused on smart budgeting and contributing to my emergency fund as much as possible. Ideally, I would like $20,000 set aside, but that would take me years. For me, that is about 8 months of living expenses, which Suze Orman says we need!!  For now, I am going to focus on obtaining 3 months worth of living expenses to feel comfortable.

As for distinguishing between WANTS and NEEDS, I do not have any issues with this. However, I am struggling right now with deciding to  continue my CSA for 2010-2011. It is $500 and they are offering monthly payments. I have a feeling that for now, I need to give this up and focus on being responsible, but the other side of me loves to support my local farmers and help myself and the environment. But $500 is still $500. Will I be happier in the long run with $500 stashed safely away or will I feel guilt every time I bite into a gorgeous carrot that was picked that morning? I'm still not sure.

My question for you guys:
Have you made any money "mistakes" and what did you do to fix it?

 Do you have an emergency fund? If so, how many months of living could you get out of it...3, 6,8...1 year? And how long it take for you meet this goal, and your age?

For right now, I am still listening to Suze Orman:

I do not need things to feel fulfilled!


Christine said...

have you done cost analysis of your CSA vs cost of monthly produce/organic v nonorg? how many months is the growing year there? I spend a lot on produce everytime I shop and it adds up fast.

Raspberry Stethoscope said...

Christine, overall, it is most definitely cheaper to get my produce through the CSA because it equals about $33/week from November to May. If you divided this for the whole year, it would be cheaper. But it is the money up front that is difficult for me. And even though i am paying for fresh veggies, it did not lowert my grocery bill. I still over spent in the grocery department because i have no self control there, haha! i dunno

Rachael said...

I am having similar money saving woes. It's hard... and you know, I want a VitaMix *soo* bad! I can hardly blame you for the justification! :)

Journey_On said...

Enjoyed reading this post! It sounds like you are doing great with your goals.