January is the time when my husband and I sit down and plan our financial goals for the year. These are goals, so we may not meet all of them, but it gives us something to work towards. I’m also throwing in a few personal goals, just for good measure.

Financial Goals:
Boost Our Emergency Fund: We’ve got a decent cash cushion aside from the funds we need for property taxes, insurance, etc. However, a good portion of that will be spent on new furniture and my husband’s surgery. Once those bills are paid, I want to get us up to $15,000 in emergency savings. I’m not sure we’ll reach that goal entirely this year, but we should get pretty close.

Increase Our Retirement Savings to 10%: This will have to wait until my husband returns to work, but after that I’m finally getting serious. We have a couple advantages this year. First, my employer now offers a Roth 401K, so I can save more there. I’ll also open a Roth IRA for my husband. He gets a defined contribution from his employer, but we won’t contribute to that account.

Buy a New Car: This year, I will get a new car. My car has served me well, but it’s time. I’ve been waiting for three years. I know what I said just a few days ago, but I want a new car!

Personal Goals:
Furnish Our House: We still have three rooms to furnish, our china, and a new fridge to buy. It will all have to wait until after the surgery, but those are high on our list of things to do. It may not be a true “financial goal,” but we’ll have to save up some money for those purchases. Fortunately we’re also getting a sizable tax refund, most of which will go toward furniture and rugs. It’s pretty pathetic watching our cats lie on the doormat because it’s the only rug in the house. We expect to spend around $12,000 on furniture this year, but we’ll do it over time, not all in one big chunk.

Finish Painting My House: I’ve got one bathroom ceiling, one ceiling patch, a hallway, a full bath, and a half bath left to paint. I want to have it all done by the end of the spring. If I do just one room a weekend, I can get it done in five weeks. I think that’s manageable.

Fix Up the Backyard: Our backyard is overgrown and missing steps. Come spring, I’ll be planting my vegetable garden and we’ll spend a little money on repairs. We may apply for a home improvement show to do some of this work, which would help reduce our effort and budget.

Lose Five Pounds: It wouldn’t be New Year’s if I didn’t resolve to lose weight, now would it?
I’ll be generous and say I accomplished one and a half financial goals this year. Not great, but since one of those was buying a house, I’ll pat myself on the back anyway. Hopefully I can do better in 2010.

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