I've been having a little too much fun this month. My monthly report is going to be black (unless I go crazy in this last week), but it won't be a report about my restraint and self-denial.
I've just been living it up and lazy with my money this month.
But I have a lot of things I want to do AND I realize that without a specific plan for my finances, I can leave myself wide open to make a big mess. I don't want that, so I need to figure out what it is I want to do.
We've talked many times before on this blog that big, ambiguous goals are impossible to achieve. So, I could say "I want to save money," but what does that mean? How much money? How long? Save it for what?
But before I get really specific, I need to know what's important to me and I what I'd like to accomplish by year end.
What is important to me right now?
- I want to be completely out of debt. I have only the car loan left and will pay it off by September, but I'm wondering if there's a really good reason to just pay it off by July.
- I want to go on a big trip for my 2009 birthday.
- My guy and I have some commitments to keep to each other and they're going to cost money.
- I want to work on building my cash reserves. Right now, I'd like to have $3,000 saved by the end of the year.
- I don't want to be blindsided by Christmas. I want to either save a certain amount of money and work with it to buy gifts, or buy gifts little by little through the rest of the year (keeping the total under a certain amount).
- I want to work up to saving 20% of my income... right now, I routinely save 4.7% of my gross income (but if you added in what I was paying on my credit card, that would be 21% right there).
- I want to have fun!
Now I have to prioritize these and turn the Top 3 into S.M.A.R.T. goals (remember, thats Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-oriented) and attach real time and money to them.
After that, I need to figure out what my next, big, grand, important goal is.
Until then, I'll continue my little vacation through the end of May.