Friday, December 14, 2007

2008 Financial Resolutions

It's that time of year, isn't it? Several of the other blogs I frequent (including Might Bargain Hunter, My Open Wallet, and The Simple Dollar--see also Cash Money Life's resolution roundup) have already done this, and given me some ideas. So below, in no particular order, things I'd like to accomplish with my money in 2008.

1. Cut my living expenses. While technically, yes, I can afford the rent that I'm currently paying (in that I'm not going into debt to do so), it's just about 50% of my monthly takehome pay (not including utilities). I don't know what I was thinking--I need to be saving more money at this time in my life, especially since I'm at work more than I'm at home! Luckily, my plans to move in with Mr. Boyfriend in the first quarter of the year will result in a lower rent payment by probably two to three hundred dollars per month.

2. Continue with my on-paper, on-purpose budget. Once my rent goes down, I will up a few categories in my budget (like groceries/eating out) and add a few more categories (like clothing replacement--I need a real winter coat!).

3. Add another $1,000 to my emergency fund. While I can live off what I've got for about four months in true emergency fashion (ie, no money coming in from anywhere else) and more than six months in a scenario where I lose my main paycheck but would work part time at Starbucks or something, my goal right now is to build it up to a nice, round $10,000.

4. Begin setting aside money for Lasik surgery. I went for a consultation earlier this year and discovered that I am a perfect candidate for the surgery--and that it's going to cost me about $5,000 out of pocket. I did not set up my 2008 HCRA account for this type of expenditure, but I will do so for 2009. That still means that I have to have the cash on hand to shell out before I get reimbursed. I'm scared of the procedure (medical stuff makes me very nervous) but it will be SO worth it. My vision is pretty bad, and about two years ago I lost the ability to wear contacts for more than an hour or so at a time. Glasses are fine, I guess, but I can't even rememember what it's like to wake up, get out of bed, and just fumbling around for glasses before I can find the floor.

5. Pay for school. I will be starting a Master's degree program in January. I got a departmental scholarship that will give me nearly $2,000 towards tuition for the spring and fall semesters, plus a $5,000 annual tuition reimbursement from work. This will leave me with about $4,000 in loans per year (the degree should take two years, maybe two and a half), and I'd like to pay them off as I accumulate them. So far, all my loans are federally subsidized, which is great--I'm hoping I can really make this an interest-free loan. I will be paying for books, fees, etc, out of pocket as they come up. This is all new to me--I've never taken out loans of any type before, so I'm interested in learning how this works.

As far as paperwork goes, I think this year I finally refined all my systems for keeping track of money coming in and going out. It's possible I may give up mystery shopping in 2008--I won't know for sure until I do my taxes, but it seems that the money I brought in this year was not quite equal to a lot of the hassle I went through with some of the companies. I may just continue with a few of my favorite regular jobs to pad my Paypal account for extraneous eBay shopping.

From where I'm standing right now, 2008 looks to be a pretty good year--financially-speaking and otherwise.


  1. It looks like you've got some very good goals for 2008! I wish you the best of luck with reaching them. :)

    By the way, you should submit this article to the Carnival of Financial Goals!

  2. Thanks, Patrick!

    I didn't know how to do that before, but now I'll definitely keep up with it.

  3. I happen to chance upon this blog.

    Guess 2007 is coming to an end soon and its time for people to set resolutions.

    I guess you have defined yours clearly in your post and with determination you can certainly achieve it.

    For that I wish you the best in reaching them!


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