2016 Goals

Goals - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is the time of year to set new goals and challenges so I am jumping in with both feet.  It has been years since I have formally resolved to act a certain way based on the beginning of the new year.  I am excited to see how sharing my goals in a blog helps me to progress.

Research and participate in at least six 30 day challenges in 2016

This is big for me. With the exception of the Paleo Whole 30 I did in 2014 with my sister, I have not ever been one for this type of activity.  But I am excited!  I have already started my first – the 30 day water challenge (more on this in a later post).  I think breaking in new habits through manageable challenges like this will work for me.  I don’t have all the challenges picked out, yet, but six is the goal.  The financial windfalls here are already embedded in the challenges themselves.

Spend more money 

Okay, relax.  It is not as simple as that one statement.  For years, since I started my family basically,  I have been a little afraid when it comes to spending money.  Afraid of being laid off and not having a salary, afraid of not being able to help send Mirror Image to college without the aid of student loans, afraid of not being able to pay the mortgage, etc.  So for years, I have been a squirrel.  Savings were squirreled away into various accounts for the day when the EMERGENCY came.  It was the right thing to do and I stand by it. I will always continue to save. But it was a little extreme and there has been a cost.  And in 2016, I am going to force myself to pay the cost.

I plan to spend more money on my house and health.  Specifically:

  1. Hire contractors to completely rip apart my bathroom and build it back up.  This is not just for cosmetics. I am pretty sure there is mold growing and that is no good for anyone.  Plus, it is the only bathroom in the house and the smallest bathroom I have ever lived with in my life so, it must be improved – for resale value and more importantly, health value.
  2. Hire contractors to insulate my attic.  This one I am just embarrassed by.  I should have had this done before I moved into the house 9 years ago.  (I didn’t know the importance – really!) Before all the junk that doesn’t fit anywhere else in the house got piled up there.  And before the outrageous energy bills that come with an un-insulated house built in the 40’s facing northeastern U.S. weather.  But, I can’t dwell on the past.  My goal is to get it done in 2016.
  3. Hire painters.  I bought a Groupon last year to have my living room and dining room painted and I still swoon at how awesome Groupon is and how awesome it was to have a fresh paint job with fresh colors and a professional touch.  Well, I have been putting off the  rest of the house and it is time to get the last 3 rooms complete – 2 bedrooms and a hallway.  And yes, Groupon will be my vehicle of choice for that. (Groupon will totally get it’s own post one day I am sure.  It is perfect for the thrifty minded).
  4. Participate in at least five 5Ks.  The fees for these range and take some actual budgeting and planning but I don’t see a financial barrier this goal. Also, this really should not be a stretch goal because I have done this before.  However, it is a stretch because I want Mirror Image. to participate and she is anti 5K.  Not sure why.  At home she is a bundle of energy streaking around the house with her loving German Shepherd by her side.  But, tell her it is an organized event that we have to get up at 6am for?  No bueno.  No matter, in 2016, I will tickle drag her to at least five such events and somehow get her to admit just how awesome the experience is :).

Donate more money

This has been a goal for over a year now and I think I am ready.  Currently, I set aside 10% of my income for charitable giving through my Church.  Since last year when I paid off my car, I have wanted to redirect some of that money to an additional charitable organization on a monthly basis. Unfortunately some unexpected blows sucked those funds up with blinding speed.  However, with those things settled, I plan to do it in 2016 beginning no later than March. (I will be sharing a post on my research of the finalist charities.)

Spend less money

Well, duh.  This is largely a personal finance blog after all.  Of course living frugally and thriftily would be part of the mix.  I have always been a pretty good money manager but this goal is about wisdom and not just management.  I want to purposely use money this year. Not reactively or impulsively. Therefore, I have a goal to spend less in the following categories:

Food – We are foodies and like being foodies but the amount of money I spend for 2 people needs a second look.

Energy – The amount I spend on energy is directly related to how energy inefficient my house is.  I am putting some measures in place to combat this (See the Spend More Money goal for details)

Clothing – There is really nothing I can do about Mirror Image’s clothing budget line except catch the best sales and buy off-season.  At 11 years old, she grows every time she wakes up, it seems.  But as for me, I plan to organize my closets and all the off-season clothing in the attic to make sure I am always aware of what I have for each season and  the USE WHAT I ALREADY HAVE.  This combined with keeping my clothing size stable should keep me from needing to supplement my wardrobe unnecessarily.

Expand my garden

Last year I committed more time and space to gardening and loved the results!  I grew watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and Italian eggplant.  Plus, a mix of herbs in pots.  Now this may not seem like a big deal to many but I have the tiniest garden space and was still able to grow some substantial produce.  And the best part?  Mirror Image would occasionally help me in the garden, or just pop outside to pick fruit to snack on rather than candy or other junk food,  And, she is ravenous over fresh cantaloupe.  How could I not make plans to indulge this hobby?  I plan to purchase and or build some raised beds for this year’s garden to really get the biggest bang from this goal.

Get my automobile insurance lowered

If you read the previous post then, you know I had an unfortunate incident almost 3 years ago.  Well, I am happy to report I am incident for 2 1/2 years.  That puts me six months from being able to get my insurance lowered.  And that is my goal.  I think it is worthy of a goal because I expect the insurance company to resist.  Why not make me pay more rather than less?  Bring it on, I say!

There you have it.  My major goals for 2016.  I expect some new thoughts to arise as the year goes on but, these areas above are me putting my money where my goals are.

What are your 2016 goals?

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Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

Speedometer Icon

Years ago, I had a job that required that I commute to Philly from my home office 2 times per week. I went to school in Philly and lived there after college so I love the town, the memories and the cheese steak. So it shouldn’t have been an issue. Except there kinda was an issue. Picking up Thrifty Image, Jr. from her after care, on time. Because if I don’t pick her up on time, I would get charged a fee. Plus, it’s rude and disrespectful to delay the after care workers. After all, they have spent their time watching the kiddies as agreed. They deserve to get home, too. Right?
So in order to get to her on time, I would manage my schedule that gave me just enough time to leave Philly and arrive on aftercare’s doorstep with seconds to spare. Unless I didn’t leave on time. Then, I might resort to speeding. Because it is better to speed than to pay $5 or $10 in fees, right? Well, no. In fact, it is better to make the hands free call to the aftercare center, apologize that you are running late and safely and legally drive on. That’s smart, right?

Here’s dumb.

No surprise that in this scenario, I sped to get to mini me on time as I was waylaid by a malicious traffic jam somewhere before crossing into Delaware. No pun intended. So I tried to make up the time by ever so slightly nudging to accelerator. I was caught. I was ticketed. I was ashamed. I never speed. I am known in my family as the speed police. But it doesn’t matter. Once was enough. I was caught red-handed. Or lead footed as it were. I think the ticket was about $100. Far more than the $5 or $10 I would have spent in fees is what you are thinking? Well you are right but it doesn’t stop there.
Traffic violations have a STRONG impact on you insurance rates. (they could also have a negative impact on your credit score if they go unpaid but who would do that?). At the time, I was paying $85 per month for my monthly premium with a new insurer I had just switched to (combined with home for a bundle discount , naturally). Soon, I noticed that my premium went up to $115! Error? Slipped discount? Bait and switch? No. Speeding violation that had made it onto my record. That would stay on my record for 3 years.
3 years.
Let’s do the math shall we?
$100 – speeding ticket
+$1080 – $30 per month increase on insurance premium x 36 months
=$1,180 – amount I will not be using for umbrella topped drinks on my vacation, or adding to additional principal on my mortgage or watching grow in a high-yield savings account
Use this tale of warning to help yourself. Watch the speed limit or watch your money get run down to the ground. Click here to learn more about how premiums can be impacted by traffic tickets and how to contest tickets.

Keep it 55!

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New Year, New Blog

Keep Calm and Set New Goals

Well, there is no going back and that is a good thing!

Welcome to 2016 and my new blog — where I will share some random goodness, hard earned lessons, some occasional angst, and a funny story or two as I record and keep my personal finance goals.

This has been over one year in planning but I really feel the need to click this forward now that the holidays have subsided. Gift giving is great but whew! Expensive.

Plus, there are some stomach churning conversations happening in the Thrifty Image household regarding conspicuous consumption and the acquisition of STUFF!

I plan to work through some of this pain with you, right here on this blog (thank you very much!).

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I have found the PF Blogger community to be awesome and full of great ideas and wisdom and together, 2016 will be the beginning of great things!

Happy New Year!

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