Paycheck Chronicles

Reviewing 2009 Goals and Plans


Way back in January, I wrote about my goals and plans for 2009.  My primary goal was to pay off all non-mortgage debt.  My secondary goal was to put as much money as possible into my deployed husband's TSP account.  In order to meet these goals, I intended to plan my spending carefully and decrease the amounts that we're spending in each category, plus sell some stuff on eBay or at the consignment store.  So, how did I do?  That's a rather subjective question.

I did pay off all our non-mortgage debt, by October.  However, I then put our new windows on a 0% balance transfer offer on a credit card.  I have the cash to pay for the windows in my savings account.  In my mind, that counts as paying off the debt, but some people may disagree.  I feel like having the cash in my savings account provides me with more options, in case of surprises (such as a non-paying tenant).  On the other hand, it may be a false sense of security, because I simultaneously think of that money as a) an emergency fund, b) the money to pay off the credit card, and c) the money to pay off our home equity loan.  It isn't enough money to fill all three roles but I still think of it that way.  That is something I need to fix for 2010.

In addition, I started putting 10% of my husband's base pay into his TSP account.  We discussed putting more, to take advantage of his tax-free status, but he felt that it was more important to pay off our home equity loan.  As a result of his thoughts, I've been paying more than 3 times the regular payment each month and that debt is nearly retired.  I've also made some contributions to my IRA account.

I feel like I've gotten good results and I'm pretty fortunate that I was able to get such good results even though I have nearly completely failed to stick to the plans I made.  I made a spending plan, but I haven't kept up with it.  I tried writing down all my expenses one month but I did a miserable job.  I did take bags full of clothes to the consignment shop but I didn't get rid of the other things on eBay.

I have a favorite saying (I don't know the exact wording or the author, I'm sure it has been said by many people):  "You can't change the past, but you learn from it and change the future."  The idea is that you shouldn't dwell on things that you have done in the past, but rather to learn from them and use that information to make the future better.

I'll get to my 2010 plans, maybe tomorrow.  I've got a lot of asphalt to cover today...

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