Around a year ago, I set up my 2009 goals. Anyone else curious about how I did? Probably not, but let’s go for it anyway.
1. Increase savings by 10%.
Close. 9%. Admittedly, I didn’t bother to calculate how much this would be, so I wasn’t working towards it.
2. Fully fund Roth IRA for 2009.
Done! Now to figure out my contributions for next year. Automatic contributions make this pretty awesome.
3. Save at least half of this year’s “extra” paychecks plus half of any work-related bonus checks.
Done! I saved a little more than half of the “extra” paychecks.
4. Place a minimum of 10% of my after-tax income directly into savings.
Well… this didn’t go quite as planned. I was placing 10% of my after-tax income into my savings account, but when my roommate moved out, I had to tweak that a little, so November and December didn’t make it. I’m still trying to decide what I want to do about next year. On one hand, it’s awesome to save. On the other hand, I’m also funding my Roth IRA, my 401(k) (or rather, my TSP), and continuing to grow my emergency fund. So maybe I can get away with saving less than 10%.
5. No YNAB overages for at least 6 months.
I don’t know how I did it, but I made it. I got a little spendy during the last half of the year, and I’ll need to watch that this year.
6. Increase Charitable Donations by 50%.
62% increase, baby! This year, I decided approximately what I wanted to donate to charity and set up a budget category for this purpose. It ended up being a lot of fun getting to contribute to all sorts of charities. Of course, once you start donating, you’ll find yourself on all sorts of random mailing lists, which I’m working my way back off of, but all in all, I’m pleased. I’ve been using Its Deductible, a free site from TurboTax, to track my donations. One neat thing this site does is figure out just what your tax savings is as you keep donating.
7. Finish 2009 with 80 hours of sick leave accumulated.
Not even close. I started the year with 33.5 hours of sick leave and am ending the year with 44.5 hours. I’ll be honest, some of this is because I loathe my job and when I’m feeling a bit under the weather and probably could go to work, I just don’t. I also had a series of dentist appointments to finish a minor problem that took a number of hours. I think this is a good goal for 2010.
4 out of 7. Not great, but not bad. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so an A+ on this project would have been nice (Really, I could have told you all that I did all seven and you would never know. One of the joys of blogging.), but I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out. As I have said before, the end of 2009 kind of got away from me, so while in previous years, I already had my new goals laid out by the time the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, this year, I still have some thinking to do.
Megan is a 30-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.