Well, it’s not quite mid-year, but I thought I would do a quick check at my progress on my 2009 goals.
1. Increase savings by 10%.
I’m measuring this in cash accounts and CDs, because basing my goals on the market was a little too uncertain. As of right now, I’m doing really well on this one. My Net Worth’s even up for the year, which is a nice thing to see. Of course, I just need to keep saving and spending wisely.
2. Fully fund Roth IRA for 2009.
I set up automatic contributions for this starting in March, so unless I make some major changes, this should be a no-brainer.
3. Save at least half of this year’s “extra” paychecks plus half of any work-related bonus checks.
So far, so good. I’ve actually been saving a bit more than half, which is a good feeling.
4. Place a minimum of 10% of my after-tax income directly into savings.
Yep! Good work, self. It’s really nice to see how well my savings is growing.
5. No YNAB overages for at least 6 months.
Well, I went a bit over this month, but January, February, and March were all well within budget, so I’m doing well. I just need to make sure that May is a very good budget month, after my vacation spending in April.
6. Increase Charitable Donations by 50%.
I’ve got this planned out, and figure that there will probably be a few donations beyond my plan as well, such as when a friend is running a charity race and looking for sponsors. I’m actually probably going to increase my donations by more than 50%, as my choir’s annual fundraiser did not do so well, so I’m trying to do what I can to help them out. Every dollar helps.
7. Finish 2009 with 80 hours of sick leave accumulated.
I look to be doing just fine on this one. Thanks to my handy dandy accumulated leave spreadsheets (man, I love spreadsheets), as of today, I can take 40 hours of sick leave this year and still finish the year with 80 hours of sick leave. While I hope to not need 40 hours of sick leave for the rest of the year, with doctor and dentist appointments, it’s entirely possible that I will use all of these and more if I do get sick. I’m not going to come into work feeling like death just to meet this goal. But I have been using my sick days more wisely, so I think I’m on track.
So it looks like the first third of the year has been pretty good for me. I’m glad that i decided to set my goals on things I can control, unlike 2008, where some of my goals (increase Net Worth, etc.) were somewhat tied to the market. I’m actually surprised at how easily I’ve been able to keep these goals, and think that I should consider something a bit more difficult for next year.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.