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Big Picture PLAN

December 22nd, 2010 at 02:59 am

My last post outlined our financial goals since I began blogging here in 2008, as well as our annual progress. We're all thinking ahead to 2011, and our goals for the new year. It's great to set hard, and lofty goals for ourselves, but they don't really mean anything until you have a solid plan for achieving them.

That said, I have put some thought into my plan for the new year. I have a lot of financial and personal goals, and I hope referring back to this post will keep me on track and motivated.

First, money:

$10,000 to house fund. This will likely come from our tax refund

$9,250 to savings. This will come from the automatic transfers we make to savings each payday.

$4620 to kid 1's 529 and $4620 to kid 2's 529. We automatically transfer $200 / kid each month to the 529. The rest --$2260/ kid, will have to come from hubby's bonus (fingers crossed we get one again), and from a portion of my monthly freelance check.

My freelance work is a huge part of the plan. I'm on track to earn about $11,400, plus extra from other projects. $11,400 is my absolute baseline.

The plan as of now, is to send 50 % of my monthly freelance income to my IRA, until it's maxed out at $4000.

Then, I will divide rest between the kids' college and paying off the car.

Once the IRA is maxed out, I plan to send 2/3 of each check to kids' college and 1/3 to paying off the car, until those goals are reached.

$700 to new car fund. I transfer $35 every payday to this account. It's small, but adds up. We used $2,000 from this account to pay part of our most recent car purchase.

Yes, most of these are automatic transfers or windfalls (tax refund/bonus), but they aren't going to be easy. They represent a huge portion of our take-home pay, and we still have big expenses, like the $700 a month we spend on babysitters, so I can make my freelance income (and keep a hand in my field so I have the option to go back full time someday, but that's another story...)

In order to keep the transfers going-- occasionally we've had to skip a couple of weeks to meet expenses-- we're going to have to seriously stick to our $400/week MAXIMUM spending cap for EVERYTHING.

The budget has worked for most weeks in the past couple of months, and my plan is to stay on track. It's a question of staying focused and diligent with my eyes on the prize.

For example, we're only going to be eating Aldi and what is on sale at the regular grocery. And hopefully, we can get one of our boys out of diapers soon.

We're also planning a No Spend Month sometime in 2011, to help us jump start extra savings. We did it in 2008 and it saved us a bundle. No idea what month yet.

Bottom line is, we're going to have to earn more and scrimp more this year to make it all happen. Hubby can only earn so much, so the extra money is going to have to come from me. Scrimping will mostly be me too, because I do most of the shopping. I'm not as diligent as I could be, because I'm often pressed for time.

As for income, My goal was to add another steady $300 a month in freelance work. Barring unforseen circumstances, that has happened. Some months, it will be $400 more. I don't want to get complacent, so I will try to take on even more projects, when time permits, to boost my annual income.

My income is gravy, and can all be used to boost savings and goals, because our one steady salary pays for all of our expenses. This is easier said than done, though, with a 2 year old and a 1 year old.

Now on the personal front.

These are the hardest, actually. After long days with babies, then staying up late working, it's hard to get and stay motivated.

Still, 2010 was a model year for personal goals. I wrote my first novel and lost 11 pounds. I'd like to keep the ball rolling. For 2011, my goals are:

To revise my first novel and attempt to get it published. This is just as time-consuming as writing it, and trust me, when you only have a couple of baby-free hours a day to do everything you need to to, seconds are precious. I'll just have to make the time again, even if it means being tired, or delaying extra freelance projects until it's finished.

Write a second novel. Ditto on this one. I'm hoping to start it by summer, at the latest, once the first novel is off to potential publishers.

Lose 15 pounds. Weight loss is always hard, but now I have a system. I participated in a 6-week weight loss and intense exercise program at the Y in Oct-Nov this year and lost almost 11 pounds. It was hard and time consuming, but that is pretty much what you have to do to see results.

I am going to do two more of these. One in January, and one in March/April, with the goal of losing 15 pounds or more total between the two of them. This will put me at my pre-MARRIAGE weight. And, it'll pretty much rule out type II diabetes in my near future.

As for the little goals, like getting a new cell plan and reallocating investments. It's just a question of setting aside the mental energy then time to actually do them. But now that they are on the list, I'm just going to have to bite the bullet.

I'm already thinking about cell phones. Maybe I'll tackle that one first thing after Christmas....

3 Responses to “Big Picture PLAN”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    This is a great idea, thriftorama. Now I'm definitely going to mention my PLAN for how I'm going to accomplish each of my goals, when I finally get around to posting mine.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    You've got some ambitious goals for the year, and I don't doubt you can meet them all!

    When you say you want to max your IRA with 4k, do you mean that 4k is your goal?

    What is your first novel about? Best of luck getting it published!

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    $4,000 is the goal. I could put $5,000 in, but I'm happy with four until my freelance income goes up more.

    My first novel is a young adult crossover (sorry for the industry speak). I guess it would fall into the paranormal category, but it isn't vampires or aliens or anything!

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