Do you like the picture? I've been playing around with adding more pictures to the posts for some visual interest. I thought this would tie in nicely with Financial Goals posts, the small change really does add up.
Yesterday I shared where we ended our 2011, today I'm going to share our plans for 2012. While we aren't necessarily big on "down to the penny budgeting", I have found that setting financial goals and tracking them monthly has been a great way to stay on track. This will be our third year of doing so and I'm quite excited about doing so.
1. Create a vacation account
Traveling is high on our list of wants but not something that we regularly save for. Typically we pay for our vacations by paying large chunks with disposable income, but that's not really the best way to plan for something if it's important to you. While it may have worked out for this vacation, I want to make sure that we are covered and have money for our future vacations.
My plan for this year is to open up a savings account specifically for vacations. We'll most likely pull from it for our trip this spring, but after that we'll be saving for the next family trip. Hopefully that will be sooner than five years from now!
2. Create a decorating account
I wrote about my twelve decorating/organizing projects for 2012 here and have decided that the best way to finance this is to set money aside every paycheck for it. Most of these projects aren't terribly expensive, but it would be nice to have $500 accrued in an account for my new window treatments instead of juggling our finances around to purchase them.
3. Increase our retirement savings
Time flies by and before we know it we'll be retiring, I'd love to do so earlier versus later. While we are doing fairly well, at least according to various Internet resources, I would like to ensure that our retirement is well funded so that we aren't financially strapped in our later years.
I don't know for sure what this increase will look like but one I can say that if I get a raise this year I will up my retirement by that amount. We'll see what we can do over and above that.
4. Decrease our debt
Paying down debt is important to us and something we want to keep on our radar. The arbitrary number that I have chosen for this year is 55%. If we hit the end of the year at that number we will have made up for the amount that we missed in 2011 and be on track for our four year plan.
With that being said, we may need a couple of vehicles this year. I was hoping to pay off our vehicle loans and save to pay cash for a new vehicle but I don't know that we'll be able to hold off much longer. My husband's truck is a bit of a lemon and he is really chomping at the bit to get a new one. I've been able to talk him out of it for the last year but I don't know if I'll be able to do so much longer. Also, our daughter will be getting her driver's license at the end of the year and we'll be buying her a car. Many may see her getting a car as an unnecessary expense and get by without their children having vehicles, but with my husband's schedule and my long commute it is a necessity for us.
5. Buy a motorcycle for me
My husband got a motorcycle a few years ago for his fortieth birthday. Since then we've wanted to get one for me but there always seemed to be something else that we needed to get instead. My husband's bike is to small for us both to ride comfortably for long distances, we'd like to be able to take weekend rides and the only way we'll be able to do so is with me getting my own bike. Of course, he did offer to buy himself a larger bike so I could ride comfortably but what fun would there be in that? Besides, a bike specifically for me would actually be cheaper than going with a larger bike for him.
6. Complete my list from "Getting Your Financial House in Order in 2012"
I wrote about 12 things I wanted to do to get our financial house in order this year, you can read about that here. Re-writing that list here seemed a little redundant but in addition to writing each month about them I'll post my updates here.
I'm actually excited about this series, I plan on doing some research to determine the best approach to each task. Hopefully I'll be able to write a post that you will find information and meaningful when it's time to share.
That's pretty much it for our goals this year. Keeping the list reasonable and targeting a few items that we can apply laser focus is important for our success.
What are your financial goals for 2012? Feel free to share in comments.