Saturday, February 2, 2008

2008 Goals: February Update Edition

Can you believe January has come and gone? Me neither.

Here’s a brief update on the goals I committed myself to in January.

1. Pay off additional 40% of my debt. My debt is pretty stable. Not working much in December and early January extracted a toll on my debt reduction in January. I've made more than the minimum payments, but haven't been able to make much of a dent.
2. Diversify my income. This is in-progress. I’m slowly racking up a couple dollars from this blog, I’m in the midst of doing some pet-sitting, and I’m gathering materials to start making some jewelry.
3. Make more money. Also in-progress. I successfully negotiated a rate increase that raised my rate by just over 11%.
4. Work more. This has definitely started happening in the last couple weeks. Though early in the January, I didn’t use my spare time as wisely as I could have, so I missed some opportunities there (e.g. with the jewelry project).
5. Invest. This hasn’t started yet. I’m still re-stabilizing after the lull in work, and still re-funding my emergency fund.
6. Open and fully fund a Roth IRA. Sorta in-progress. If you've been reading lately, you'll have read about my current IRA woes here and the advice I received here. I’ve started doing a bit of Roth IRA research, and I already have several hundred dollars in my IRA savings account. I’d really like to open a Vanguard Roth, but the minimum initial deposit is $3k, and I don’t have that quite yet.
7. Use cash only. I’ve done pretty well with this. I definitely use cash more, though my debit card comes in to play occasionally. When I was briefly in Canada last week, I didn’t get any Canadian cash. I used my debit card for the few things I bought, my credit card for the hotel, and the friendly loan system from my best friend. I also “paid” for things in cash, by giving my best friend US dollars, while he paid with Canadian dollars. It was strange to be in a foreign country and not carry any national currency.
8. Travel. Well, I did go to Vancouver for about a day last week, so that was nice. But that’s not the type of travel I meant. I’m thinking of a trip in late March, and I’ll write more about that as it gets planned.
9. Build this blog’s readership. This is slowly happening. There are a handful of you reading via RSS (yay!), and a variety of readers that come other days. Readership spikes on days when I post, so I’m amending this goal to also include posting more often, and write more posts when I have work lulls, so there are fewer sparse weeks. I’ve haven’t looked at the official numbers, though I estimate there is an average of 30 readers per day.
10. Help my mother sort her finances. I haven’t yet made more progress with this, than the progress I made at the end of last year when I first looked at them. I definitely want to get this done sooner than later.

And for something not included previously:

11. Snowflake. I kept pretty good track of when I was saving money on regular purchases in January, and I snowflaked $45 towards my student loan. I have some receipts that I haven't transferred the savings from to my snowflake account, so that number would be higher if I was a little more on the ball...

So overall, I think I’m making headway with the goals, though there is obviously room for me to be a bit more aggressive about reaching these goals.

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