I've been thinking a lot about goals for the new year. I have to believe, deep in my heart, that 2009 is going to be a better year for all of us. This last year has been a hard one for so many people, including many of my friends and loved ones. In some ways it has been a year of education for all of us. I have had so much personal growth, and I know others who can say the same, but it didn't come without a price. That, however, is a topic for another day. Today I want to write about New Years resolutions - except I am not going to call them that. Resolutions always seemed doomed for failure. Instead, I am going to have 2009 Goals.
Here's a working list of what I have so far:
- One Month of Emergency Savings - Before the end of 2009 I will have (at a minimum) the equivalent of one month's worth of emergency savings set aside in my emergency fund. This amount will be the sum of my regular paycheck, my tenant's rent and the $900 I need each month.
- Credit Card Paid Off - I will have my credit card completely paid off. It is currently less that $950. At the rate I am paying ($75.00) it would take me just about a year to complete. However, I will have it paid off early.
- Car Paid Off - In some ways this is a given, my current loan is scheduled to be paid off in June. Still, I am putting it in the goals because I plan on keeping my car for a long time - no new car loans for me!
- Three eBay Items Per Week - Of all the many things I do to raise cash, eBay is one of the more profitable - and least desirable. I can't deny that it regularly raises a nice amount of money, but for a variety of reasons, I don't enjoy doing it nearly as much as everything else I do. I regularly find myself with a mental block and don't work on it as much as I should, so, in addition to my other sales opportunities, I am going to list 3 items on eBay each week.
- Get an Additional $900 Per Month - You knew this had to be in there, right?? In 2009 through either savings or additional income, I will make all my financial goals.
- Repaint My House - My house has to be repainted. In fact, it is at the point where the longer I wait, the more it is going to cost me due to wood rot. Last week I met with a loan officer for a state specific homeowner's loan, designed to help people in Michigan with home repairs. I will investigate a few options for similar type loans and have it all in place to repaint the home in the spring.* This will increase property value and make me feel a whole lot better.
- Create a Compost Pile - In 2009 I have a few home improvement projects I would like to complete, one is making an area for compost. I have a weedy unused area behind the garage. It is not pleasant looking and a waste of space. This would be a perfect place for a compost pile, which would make my yard and home more environmentally friendly, would be great for my garden and would be a good use of bad space.
- Winterize the Home - I thought I was doing a pretty good job of winterizing this fall, but now that it is 14 degrees out, I can see I really over estimated what I did. I will have more than a couple winters in this home before I sell it, so one of my home improvement goals is to make a list in January of all the things I can see that would help (caulking windows, adding weatherstripping, etc.) and starting as soon as possible go room to room making the old girl a little more draft resistant.
- Paint My Bedroom - This goal has two facets: 1) Make the home more "sale-able." This room is currently painted a light mint color and shows dirt and scuffs. One of my long term goals is to prepare the home to go back on the market, so this is part of that plan. But 2) might be more important - repainting is just one more step in reclaiming the home for myself and wiping out the grief from my past marriage.
- Fix Up the Attic - This is a goal fits hand and hand with the above two goals. My attic has a little storage/office area. I have recently realized that this area is very poorly winterized. I am going to clean out the room, give it a paint job and make it into a desirable storage area while at the same time 1) winterizing it, 2) making it a selling feature and 3) practicing my new home improvement skills. This will be a great room to get my feet wet in DIY projects, since it is only the attic it won't be quite as painful if I make a few learning "blunders" along the way.
- Self Schooling - This semester I was not able to afford to take a college course. Instead I am going to design my own course and read books and work on projects in my chosen field. Next summer I will be back taking courses.
- Gratitude Journal - A few years ago I had a gratitude journal. Each night I would write down 10 things that happened during the day I was grateful for. They could be big things like my health and loved ones or little things like hearing bird song or seeing the first crocus of spring. Somewhere in all the busyness I got away from my journal. In 2009 I am going to make sure to write in my gratitude journal every night ( or every night I can.) I found it to be a very peaceful and helpful tool for happiness. I'm going back to it.
- Thank Friends and Family - In the goal above I acknowledge the wonderful things I have in my life to myself. I am also going to take time to acknowledge the special people in my life to them, whether through a note, email, phone call, cup of coffee, or a comment in their blog.
- Go through the house room by room making it more comfortable for me while also making it market ready. This is so that when the housing crises is over and things settle down again, I will be ready to list my home.
- Create a portfolio of experience to make myself an ideal candidate for the master's program I want to attend.
- Go to school for my master's degree.
- Have a fully funded emergency fund. (Year 1 - 1 month, Year 2 - 3 months, Year 3 - 6 months.) This will allow me greater flexibility for returning to school.
- Be living in a place I love doing work that makes me happy.
* In case you are wondering, no, this is not a project I can do myself. I own a huge Victorian home built in 1847. It is all wood and massive. This has to be done by a professional.
Photo by: Covs97