Earlier today, I wrote about some of my accomplishments from 2008. Here are my goals for 2009.
~I started repaying my student loans in November, 2006. Since then, I've paid off $12,000 of the combined $77,000 principal, reducing my total debt by over 15%. My goal is match this 15% reduction in 2009, so that my total debt at the end of the year is $55k or less. That's still an outrageous amount of debt, to be sure, but if I can do it (and I know I can), I'll have paid off 30% of my total debt (about $22,000) in just three years.
This will mean that I'll have just 45% of my federal student loan debt left to pay at the end of the year. I'll still have about 87% of my private student loan debt, and about 58% of my Perkins loan remaining at the end of 2009. Currently, those loans have much lower rates (3.5% for my private loan, and 5% for the Perkins loan), vs. a 6.6% rate for my federal loan, so this makes the most sense right now. However, my federal loan rate will drop to 5.6% next December, and the adjustable rate on my private loan is sure to go up this year, so this may change slightly. However the rates adjust, I'll be throwing the same amount at my loans each month, so I should be able to meet my goal.
~Get a promotion at work, and at least a 5% raise. I'd really love to get a 7% raise, and I think I deserve it, but the economic crisis is the perfect excuse for companies to screw their employees out of raises, and I'm sure mine will be no exception. I'm going to work on my self-evaluation today and try to make the case for the promotion/raise, based on all of the extra work and responsibility I've had this year. Cross your fingers for me.
~Fully fund Roth IRA for 2009. I've got the full amount in CDs right now, and I'll start contributing to my Roth in February or March.
~Fully fund Roth 2010 fund by the end of the year. My parents gave me $1,000 at Christmas for my Roth, which was wonderful. I'm now well on my way toward getting this funded for the year. The rest of the money (a little over $3,000) will come from small amounts each month and/or my annual bonus, depending on how that plays out.
~With the economy the way it is, and my job in an unstable industry (publishing), I'm increasing my emergency fund to $11,000. I will fully fund this by the end of the year.
~I will fully fund my fun fund by the end of the year. The money in there now will remain in there until the next gift-buying occasion pops up. I've already bought my brother's birthday gift and allotted money for my dad's birthday gift (both birthdays are this month), and C and I typically exchange small inexpensive gifts for Valentine's day, so I think I can do this pretty easily within a few months. After this is funded, I'll throw the extra money each month at my 2010 Roth fund.
~I'll contribute another $5,000 to my downpayment fund. At this rate, I should be close to $19,000 at the end of the year.
~Begin seriously looking at condos/extremely cheap houses. The market's only going to go down for so long, and I'd like to buy while things are still within my (extremely low) price range. I can afford to buy now, but only in less than desirable areas. Even so, I'd like to go see some of these places in person to get an idea of what my tiny fistful of dollars can buy.
~Continue to pull in an extra $7 - $10k from part time jobs. This year I made about $9k from my part time jobs, before taxes. I'd love to keep this going, as it provides a great cushion for my savings as I use my primary job to pay down my student loan debt.
~My number one goal is to be more comfortable with my myself, in general. I often feel uneasy in my own skin, which makes me want to hide from the world. Sometimes when I'm out, I'll suddenly, out of nowhere, feel so uncomfortable and gross that I'm forced to go home. I have no idea where this comes from, but it needs to stop because it's ruined too many days for me. This might the hardest of my goals, but I think it's probably the most important to my happiness and well-being.
~Continue to be physically active and stay in shape. I'm currently at my ideal weight, and I would love to maintain it by continuing to do all of my spring/summer/fall commuting by foot and eating healthfully. It's tough to get exercise in during the winter, since I don't belong to a gym, but I know I'll be right back on track by March (I hope it's warm enough to walk to/from work by then!).
~Finish at least one song. C and I have been doing some Sunday afternoon songwriting, which is a lot of fun. I'm not particularly musically inclined, but it's still a lot of fun to write lyrics/melodies/sing/etc. Most of what we've written so far are short snippets of incomplete songs – I'd love to get a few completed works under our belts!
~Successfully learn to knit, and complete at least three projects. It would be great to be able to give some of these as gifts next year and save some money on Christmas.
~Read 40 books. I think I can do this, provided I don't get stuck on the same book for weeks like I did a few times this year (I'm looking at you, Tom Friedman...).
~Go to more concerts of bands I like while they're still playing small clubs. I always talk myself out of doing this for one reason or another (no one to go with, don't want to spend the money, too tired in the middle of the week, etc.), but it seriously sucks to miss out an opportunity to see a band you like in a small venue, only to have them return a few months later playing a giant show that you can't afford. This is not happening to me anymore!
I think I can achieve all of these goals, with a lot of hard work and energy. Wish me luck!