The beginning of the year is a common time to set goals, so I thought I'd share mine.
Pay High School Tuition From Checkbook, Not Savings
My youngest will be in eighth grade in September and in this area, for Catholic school kids, that means high school (long story as to why, but yes, eighth grade is the first year of high school, not the last year of elementary/middle school). It also means that her tuition will double. On the positive side, this should be the last summer of paying for camp and I just made the last payment on her sister's college education, so the shock to the checkbook isn't quite as bad as it seems. Still, the tuition is due June 1, so we need to get saving. This is the time of year when our checking account is at its lowest, however, we have no big bills due until April so this is time to save.
Continue 401(k) Contributions at Current Level
We thought about bumping this up a little, but our health insurance deductible increased and while we don't tend to be a sickly family, I'd like to have a little buffer there. Also, I know I'm looking at more dental bills this year and since we didn't max out our IRAs last year, we have plenty of place to put retirement money outside the 401(k)s.
Work On Monetizing This Blog
My blogging goals post last week talked about how I'm going to do that.
Buy at Least One Share of Stock Per Month
Between the dividends earned on my current portfolios with Motif and Loyal3 and a few dollars we won't miss once it's gone, I'm sure we can invest in at least one share of stock in some company every month, and since we'll buy through Robin Hood or Loyal3, sales commissions aren't an issue. I think I'll write a "Stock of the Month" post about what we chose and why, which will require me to think about it beyond "sounds good".
Continue My Freelance Writing Jobs and Selectively Try to Find More
I have two regular freelance customers. I found Classloom via Upwork and generally write three to four articles a month for them. The Mulberry Silk Co. was a Kickfurther Merchant of the Week, and I write for them about once a month. I spent a lot of time last summer doing a lot of jobs on Upwork that didn't pay well and were not very interesting. I may go back there and look for more work but I'm going to be much more selective about the jobs I take.
Add $4,000 To Our IRAs.
We managed that last year and hopefully can do so again. One big difference will be that I'm not expecting any major overtime this year, whereas last year I earned over $2,000 in the course of a two week trial and preparing for it.
Cut Spending On Food
When we've taken a close look at where our money is going, we see too much going to food of one sort or another. I'm going to focus on what is easiest to control, namely, me. I'm going take my lunch at least three times a week. I'm going work on meal-planning and see if that cuts our grocery bills. My cook can follow a recipe but he doesn't juggle multiple dishes well and neither he nor my daughter like food that has too much "stuff" in it.
This is a carry-over from last year. The IRS is not done with my father's final tax return. Once they are, I'll get the final money from his estate and my plan is to spend it on my house. I have carpet that is over twenty years old, and my den still has the original 1970's paneling. It's time to renovate.