I’d like to think I grew as a person last year – I definitely think I understand myself, my money and have a clear (for now) idea of an end goal and how I want to get there.
There are several goals that I would like to achieve over the next year in order to continue the process I started, they are as follows – listed from what I see as the most difficult and moving to the easiest (and perhaps least financially responsible):
1.) Eat mostly (if at all possible) “real” food
I’m not sure if I’m the only one, maybe I’m having a pre-midlife crisis(having just turned 30), but I have gotten hypersensitive about ingredients in my food. Looking at package listings, there are things that I can’t even pronounce that I have been putting into my body, in some cases for years. Although the chemicals and preservatives may have been approved by Health Canada or the FDA in the US, I’m thinking that for the most part this “stuff” really isn’t adding to the betterment of my health. Having gotten more into cooking and baking over the past year, I know what should go into such things as a loaf of bread (generally around 5 ingredients, one of which is water), but generally a loaf of bread from the grocery store has upwards of 15 to 20 different items going into it, which to me is kind of scary. In general, I’m hoping to take on the mindset that if a food isn’t going to build my health in some way, I probably don’t need to eat it and carry on from there.
Impact on my life: Better health
Impact on finances: Most food made from scratch (in my experience) can be made significantly cheaper and definitely healthier then its processed counterpart – it may not be a significant gain on my bottom line, but coupled with other added benefits, it’s probably worth the extra time to make it myself.
2.) Pay down my mortgage:
This task is essentially automated and doesn’t require a lot of effort on my part, other then ensuring there is enough money in my account to cover the aggressive payback schedule I have set up (paying the entire balance off in 5 years).
I would love to not have the approximately $150,000 debt I have right now. Once the house is paid off, free cash can go to investing, which is probably going to be as equally boring, but much more satisfying – watching wealth grow rather then debt decrease.
Impact on my life: Being closer to financial freedom
Impact on finances: In the long-run, paying back this debt will have a very positive impact on my finances, for the next few years it may seem negative as it won’t seem like I’m getting anywhere.
3.) Bolster Emergency Fund:
My spouse and I have separate finances. We split the bills evenly, and each have our own goals every month. My goal is to hammer away at our mortgage, while my spouse has taken on the job of creating a robust savings account. With our low monthly fixed bills, we are hoping to have approximately 6-8 months of expenses covered in savings by the end of this year.
Impact on my life: Feeling of security
Impact on finances: Positive – having liquid assets available when unforeseen circumstances occur is never a bad thing, and having savings would allow a much more aggressive attack on debt and in the future savings.
4.) Save for a vacation to happen early 2011:
This goal should be the easiest of all those listed, given it won’t take very much money to achieve, however with most of the money coming in being allocated towards debt and savings – it may be tricky to scrape together a couple of thousand dollars for an unnecessary trip. I will freely acknowledge that a trip is wasteful – for the most part I could achieve the same end-goal of a trip someplace warm by staying at home and making blender drinks for myself for a week, but in the middle of February and March I love nothing more then getting away to a beach for a week or so to get away from winter.
Impact on life: Minimal, a nice break, but nothing major.
Impact on finances: Negative – essentially flushing money away.
Those are my four main goals for 2010 – how about you? Do you have anything major planned for the year? Something that goes against your main goal (like my trip) that you’re going to do anyway?