Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone has had a great 2015 so far. I know I have, I had the chance to go to Utah and spend some quality time with my brother, his wife, and their 2-year-old nephew. Well, 2015 is here and I need to set my budget and goals for the next year. I discussed how I performed on my 2014 budget in my Year End Wrap Up. But on to my plan for 2015.
I am going to assume my net income to be $63,000, which is in line with what I made last year. My income will be boosted by working overtime this year and I have a goal to pay for my travel through that overtime.
The following are my individual budgets for 2015 followed by the budgeted amount per month, and comparison to 2014's budget.
Phone: $75 (unchanged)
Groceries: $230 ($20 less)
Car: $370 ($15 higher)
Incorporated extra for maintenance.
Dinner/Drinks: $250 (unchanged)
Other: $300 ($115 higher)
Incorporated my healthcare budget and increased the total budget.
Clothes: $25 (unchanged)
Student Loan: $86 ($200 less)
I paid off one of my student loans in 2104 bringing my monthly student loan payments to $86.
Transportation: $90 ($40 less)
I combined my vanpool and gas budgets together and lowered both budgets.
Cash: $30 ($10 higher)
Rent/Utilities: $850 (unchanged)
A decrease in my rent compensated for an underestimate of utilities in 2014.
Travel: $5,000 (for the year)
This is going to be a big budget for 2015 because my girlfriend and I want to go to New Zealand! I am going to keep this budget separate because I plan to to pay for it outside of my normal income. I estimate that this will require 200 hours of overtime or about 4 hours per week. This is a doable goal but I think it will be pretty hard to keep it a consistent 4 hours per week.
My total expenses are $2,306 per month which comes out to $27,672 for the whole year. This is actually $4,000 less than I spent last year. But the biggest difference between 2014 and 2015 budgets is that I am planning to pay for my travel outside of my normal income.
Expense rate under 45% of my net income.
If I stick my planned budget and my income comes out close to what I am projecting, I should have this in the bag; and I think 45% is a worthy goal!
Establish an emergency fund and automatically deposit some money into it each month.
I currently do not have an emergency fund and I really should, I am planning to open a money market account for this in order to keep the money separate but still accessible.
Invest $2,500 per month.
This is a good amount of money but if I stick to my budget it should be possible.
Open a Loyal3 account and start a small amount of automatic investing.
My purpose here is to make investing a habit and ensure that at least some of my money will be automatically set aside for investing every month and Loyal3 lends itself well for this by being fee-free, having low minimum purchases, and having the ability to purchase fractions of shares.
Pay for my vacations with overtime.
I want to do this so that I will have an extra incentive to work the overtime that my manager will surely want and it helps me keep my vacation expenditures from ruining my budget.
Establish one new source of income.
I would like to explore additional options for earning money. Some possibilities are peer to peer lending (such as the Lending Club), ride-share driving, this blog, or performing odd jobs (TaskRabbit.com, etc.). The purpose here is not have a second job or make money for this year but instead I am using it as an opportunity to explore what other options exist for earning income.
Complete the Tough Mudder. (again)
I am already signed up for this one, I better start working on my pull ups!
Workout my legs 2x per week.
Given my current basketball schedule this will be very difficult to achieve but I need to do something different.
Complete a sprint triathlon.
A sprint triathlon is 1/2 of an Olympic triathlon and consists of a 750m swim, 20km bike ride, and a 5k run. Honestly this sounds pretty short to me but me girlfriend agreed to do it with me at this distance, and, considering I have never done one before, I should probably start small. Maybe if I do this one early in the summer I can find an Olympic triathlon to do after some more training. I still need to find a pool though.
Run at a faster Pace: complete a 15K in 1 hour and 24 minutes (9 minute/mile).
I want to run faster and think this is a small start (only 1 minute/mile faster than what I do now) but over that distance I think it is a worthwhile challenge and a good sign that I change my pace.
Reduce my percentage of body fat to 12%.
My current body fat percentage is 17% so I think a 5% decrease is a pretty good goal.
Track my calorie intake every day and review weekly.
I have been loosely tracking my calories for years but I would like to become more strict about tracking. I currently do not have a goal to hold to a certain calorie count because I think proper tracking is a better first step.
Read 6 Books from my Reading List.
Most of the books on my reading list are non fiction so I think I will be pretty slow to read them, especially considering that I read of lot of fiction books as well. I will be adding a separate page to mu blog for my reading list.
Take an online class.
This was a goal I set for 2014 that I did not accomplish. I have no idea when I will have the time though.
Average one blog post per week.
Since I started my blog in September I have averaged one post per week. I would like to continue and hopefully improve this trend.
Travel somewhere new.
I would like to make this a recurring goal to travel somewhere new every year. This year will (hopefully) be New Zealand!
I tend to hold things in my mind for a long time so I end up spending a lot of time thinking and worrying about things that I cannot change or control, so I think I could really benefit from being able to clear my mind and meditation techniques could be the way to get me there.
Try out one new hobby.
I'm not really sure what I might try but I would like to pick up some sort of new hobby; if I plan to become financially independent I should probably have an idea as to what sorts of things I would like to do with my time.
Date night with my girlfriend at least once per month.
We go out to dinner and out with friends more often than that but sometimes we forget to have specific days for us so we would like to change that.