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Happy Tax Day! Did you max out your IRA for 2016?
I find it’s easier to accomplish goals if I write them down. It acts as a reminder and makes me more accountable as well. So, I am going to start listing my goals for this year (and every year) here, so that you all can also keep me accountable and on track.
I will also do periodic updates throughout the year, so you can keep track of my progress.
Max out my Roth IRA contributions for 2017. I have been doing this every year since 2014. I can put $5500/year into my IRA, but so far I am a bit behind on this. I have only contributed a measly $236 so far this year. Yikes – I definitely need to work on this.
Increase my 401(k) contributions. I can contribute up to $18,000/year to my 401(k), however, this is not my goal (yet). I have been only contributing up to my employer match (which is 4% currently). I just increased it to 5% this month, with the plan to increase it by 1-2% every month to every other month. So my goal by the end of this year is to increase it to at least 10%. Why am I contributing so much to retirement accounts at my age? Read this post here about compounding interest.
Increase contributions to my investment (taxable) account. I have been really bad about keeping most of my savings in liquid savings, which is only at 1.20% APY. I say only because this is not beating inflation. My goal is keep only 3-6 months of monthly expenses liquid and put the rest into investments, so that I can take advantage of potentially better gains.
This leads me to my next goal: to increase my monthly savings rate to at least 50%. I have been incredibly inspired by all the other financial bloggers who are able to save 60-80% of their monthly take-home income. I have been averaging 25-40% a month, which is not bad, but I think I can step it up since I am dedicated to a more frugal/minimalist lifestyle. Which leads me to my next goal.
Continue to detach myself from “stuff” and “things”. I have always had an inclination towards minimalism, since my mother was a shopping-addict and my father is a borderline hoarder. I have decided to make this a passion and lifestyle. I believe objects/stuff/things do not make us any happier, in some cases they can make us unhappy and unsatisfied. My goal is to limit my spending on things I don’t need and learn to live with less. The money I save can then be invested.
DIY my kitchen counter tops. I bought my first condo in 2015. You can read about why I chose to buy instead of rent here. It came with very ugly brown, laminate countertops. I have lived with them for 20 months at this point and I hate them. My dream would be to have white, sparkly quartz counters installed, but a) I don’t want to pay that much money for new counters and b) see goal #4 and c) the old countertops would probably just end up in a landfill. My plan is to DIY them – so far I am loving the concrete-look. My goal is to spend less than $150 on this project. By my estimation, I will be saving over $4-5k over having quartz intalled. I also, want to paint my kitchen cabinets. I painted my bathroom cabinets, and they turned out beautiful (read here). Just waiting for late spring/summer, so I can open the windows for ventilation.
My ugly Brown Kitchen! I hate the counters!
Create a second income stream. I can easily pick up extra shifts at work for some extra cash, but this is exhausting – an extra 12-hr shift per week leaves me feeling drained. It’s not something I can physically/emotionally do on a regular basis. I just started this blog, so no financial gains at this point, but maybe later this year (if I ever figure out SEO). If not, I have a weird interest in working part-time at Starbucks. Free coffee anyone?
Try not to kill Grow a vegetable garden. I only have a balcony area to grow plants/flowers/veggies in large pots/planters. I already started this month growing them inside with a kit. I think I started way too early. I have now had to turn my spare bedroom into a mini-greenhouse (and to delight of my 2 cats).
I have planted so far summer squash, spinach, carrots, kale, and green beans. I am really hoping I am successful with this endeavor- I love garden-fresh veggies and it should greatly decrease my grocery expenses this summer.
Your Turn: What financial goals do you have for 2017? How do you stay accountable to your goals?