What is a budget? | 2018 Financial Goals and Quarterly Check In

Every year I set financial goals for myself. This year’s list is on a crumbled piece of paper but don’t let its shabby appearance fool you. I am extremely committed to accomplishing my money goals. However instead of keeping my financial goals to myself or sharing them privately with family and friends, I’m going public!

I’ve decided to share my top five money goals with you and as a bonus, I’m checking in periodically (after each quarter) to measure my progress, identify any setbacks and refine my strategy if need be.

This year’s money goals are grouped into three major buckets: paying off consumer debt, saving money and financial literacy. Although you may have missed the goal setting parties for the new year, remember it’s never too late to get started working on your financial goals.

 2018 Financial Goals

My Top 5 Money Goals

Financial Literacy

Listen to more personal finance podcasts

This year I  want to immerse myself more in the ins and outs of personal finance by reading more personal finance books and listening to personal finance podcasts.

With my busy schedule, podcasts have been the easiest way for me to educate myself on the go.

So far in Q1, I’ve subscribed to:

I really enjoy these personal finance podcasts and listen to new episodes daily. I’ve learned so much about investing in real estate, accomplishing financial independence, creatively paying off debt, starting a side hustle and so much more.

I’m also reading Wealth by Virtue by Chad Gordon which breaks down the most important financial concepts and empowers you to be someone who makes informed investments rather than just mindlessly buying financial products.

I’m also reading DontPayFull blog for money saving tips and advice.

Saving Money

Save $5,000 in Emergency Fund

Although conventional wisdom recommend having six months worth of expenses saved in an emergency fund, for if you lose your job, my goal is to consistently have at least $5,000 in my emergency fund.

Having an emergency fund has been extremly important to me but since I purchased my home almost a year ago, it’s been a struggle.

Last year I was well on my way towards achieving my emergency fund goal but my savings took a serious nose dive in Q1 when I had to cover some unexpected car expenses like changing my tires and replacing some rusted parts, this should be expected when you drive a 17-year-old car. Ugh!

Technically I should have saved for car repairs all along so this was my emergency fund faux pas but for more emergency fund tips, check out these emergency fund dos and don’ts.    

Although I spent instead of saved this quarter, I’m confident that I’ll make progress next quarter. 

What am I doing to help save?

In Q1 I re-downloaded the Digit app, and since February 2018, I saved $69.79 towards my “rainy day fund” without even thinking about it! Try Digit free for 100 days.

I also intend to save at least $500 of my tax refund towards my emergency savings.

Lastly, I’m going to increase my savings rate by contributing at least $50 a month towards rebuilding my emergency stash via automatic direct deposit.

Increase retirement contribution

This year I want to contribute more to my employee sponsored 403(b).

Although maximizing my 403(b) isn’t financially feasible, I plan to incrementally increase my contribution over the course of the year by $50 every quarter. In Q2 (starting April 2018), I plan to increase my contribution by $50.

The most you can contribute in 2018 to a 401(k) or 403(b) is $18,500.

Calculate net worth

Years ago when I had student loans, I calculated my net worth but with $63,000 of student loan debt at the time, I was in the negative – no surprise there!

However, since it has been a while since I last ran the numbers, one of my financial goals is to calculate my net worth and use it as a financial tool to measure my progress.

In a nutshell, net worth takes a close look at your savings, investments and debts.

Research shows that the average 27-year-old has a net worth of (-$14,447) primarily due to student loans, so I wonder where I fall now that I own a home and paid off my debt.

Here’s how to calculate your net worth:

Net Worth= Assets – Liabilities 

Assets: the value of everything you own including the value of properties, investments, 401(k) and IRAs.

Liabilities: the value of everything you owe including student loans, car loans, mortgages and credit cards.

My goal is to calculate my net worth periodically and track the changes over time – I plan to start in Q2.

Pay Off Debt 

Pay off furniture and appliances

To be fully transparent, another one of my financial goals is to pay off my credit card balance of $4,551.35. It hurts to think about how much debt I’ve taken on to furnish my new place but it is what it is.

Unbeknownst to me when I moved out, I wasn’t entirely financially ready. I forgot one small-but-big thing.

Seriously though, why did no one ever tell me that I’d have to stash money away for furniture!

Sometimes we miss the most obvious things!

Although I saved for a down payment on the house and some repairs, I forgot to save for other important things like furniture and appliances. So I had to finance these with credit cards or small personal online loans. Some credit cards are interest free while others have an APR of 26%!

Here’s a list of the new furniture and appliances I bought:

  • Bedroom set – Paid
  • Mattress – Paid
  • Television – Paid
  • Office desk and chair – Paid
  • Dinning room set
  • Couch
  • Appliances (stove, fridge, washer and dryer)

Paying off my debt will become more of a priority later this year.

What are your financial goals for 2018? And have you checked in recently?

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