Though I've always cared about saving, 2008 was the first year I truly dedicated myself to personal finance.
In 2008, I:
~Landed into this amazing rent-free opportunity!
~ Began using the debt snowball method to eliminate my student loan debt as quickly as possible. You can find a great debt snowball spreadsheet here; I've come across many of these types of spreadsheets, and this was the most useful one I've encountered.
~ Split my savings account into separate accounts to reflect my savings goals, almost meeting my $7k emergency fund goal, and reaching the halfway points of my down payment and fun funds.
~ Fully funded my Roth IRA for 2008, and saved up the full amount for my 2009 contribution, with a little leftover to go towards the beginning my of my 2010 fund.
~ Continued to put 6% of each paycheck toward my 401k. My company matches 100% of the first 3%, and 50% of the next 3%. Since I'm still relatively broke, and investing in a Roth IRA each year in addition to my 401k, this is as much as I'm willing to put into it at this point.
~ Began investing monthly in company stock and individual stocks of well-established companies that pay dividends in order to capitalize on low stock prices during a down market, and to continue diversifying my overall investment portfolio.
~ Finished the year reducing my federal student loan debt at a rate of 3% per month, and my private student loan debt at a rate of 0.3% per month. If I continue at this rate, loans will be completely paid off by the end of 2014. This sounds like a very long time from now, but I will be extremely impressed with myself if I can manage to pay off $77k, plus interest, in less than 10 years.
In non-financial 2008 accomplishments, I also:
~Got a promotion and 5% raise at my full-time job, and a dollar-per-hour raise at my part time job (I guess this one is finance-related, too :)) This was almost a year ago, and I'm hoping to add this to my 2009 accomplishments soon.
~Hung out more with co-workers (from both jobs) and attended more social gatherings. Sounds boring, but I'm a pretty shy person who feels most comfortable alone or one-on-one, so this was a pretty big deal for me. Hopefully I can continue on this path in 2009.
~Went on my first business trip - alone. I was really nervous about having to talk to people I didn't know for five days, but it went surprisingly well, and I even made a few friends out of it. Of course, my company (like most companies) is cutting its travel budget, so who knows when I'll get to go on another business trip, but it was still a good experience.
~Read over 30 books. I hope to increase that number in 2009. In fact, I should have at least one finished by the end of the day.
~Began to learn how to knit. So much fun! I'll be writing a separate post about this soon.
I'll be posting my 2009 goals this afternoon- stay tuned...