Financial Resolutions for the New Year

by Dual Income No Kids on December 31, 2009 · 0 comments

I suppose it’s that time again, when people everywhere promise to stop smoking, go back to school, get a new job, master a new hobby, lose weight, etc… etc.. etc… While there is no shortage of personal improvement projects I could undertake in 2010, I think I’m going to focus on my finances this year. My current system has been humming along just fine for the last year or two, but I think it’s time I refresh my goals and habits, with the hope of being in a better place come 2011 as far as my finances are concerned.

When I sat down to list the things I could be doing different, my list quickly grew to nearly 20 actionable items. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about undertaking a new task, it’s to keep it simple, and once you’ve mastered the basics, then add more components. So for the time being, I’m going to focus on three things that I can do to improve my financial situation.
I love being a software engineer. My work is both interesting and challenging, and although I sort of fell into this career, I feel as if in many ways it is the perfect one for me. However, my ultimate goal is to open up a bar with a friend of mine. This is obviously a huge undertaking, and many steps and challenges must be met and conquered before I can realize that dream. At the moment, the only thing I’m doing to advance myself towards that goal is saving money. While this is a significant part of the overall task, there are many other things that I need to learn and skills I must master before I move forward. In 2010, I’m going to focus on one of those skills, whether that be taking a business class or learning how to be a bartender, or even just familiarizing myself with the overall process of opening and operating a bar. I’ll spend the upcoming months deciding on which area I want to focus on, and then by the end of the year I will accomplish it, thus bringing me closer to fulfilling that dream.
This is a goal that serves two purposes: curbing my discretionary spending and working towards a more active lifestyle. After I reviewed my finances for 2009, I found that I often went over my budget when it came to eating out. That overage was easily covered by a buffer that I’ve placed in my overall budget, but over a year, the amount of money I spent outside the home on food was staggering. While this of course will drive up my grocery bill, I think it’ll still save me some money and make me healthier. This might be the most difficult task out of the three, as it requires day-to-day monitoring, but I hope once I establish the habit it’ll take care of itself.
As I’ve mentioned before in my posts, I’m much better at looking at the short term, while my wife is more focused on the future. My attitude in the past has always been to take care of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. Well, that’s not exactly effective, and while I may still be a DINK in my 20’s, things like a house, kids and retirement loom on the horizon, and it’s best that I address those now. Time passes quickly, and the sooner I can get ahead of those major life events (along with other long-term goals and aspirations) the better off I’ll be. I understand that this is not as tangible a goal as my other two, but a shift is attitude is necessary and will benefit me more long-term.
While any time of the year is the right time to make a positive change, January 1st represents a cultural turning point, a fresh start and an incentive to make that positive change. Readers: What are your goals for 2010? Do you think you achieved your goals for 2009? What goals are you looking forward to achieving in order to bring about a positive change in your life?
Twitter: @michael_dink

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