Happy new year! I know pretty much already everyone posted their goals/resolutions/dreams, but I was deep in vacation mode. After a year of non-stop work I jumped on my holiday break as a chance to finally, really and truly, STOP. I took a real and prolonged break and it has made all the difference. But now it’s my turn to post my 2016 goals.
I love the fresh feeling the start of a new year brings. We all get a (somewhat) clean slate and with it, a chance to reinvent ourselves. Last year my focus was completely on eliminating my debt. Now that I am debt free, I have found that my dreams are getting bigger and bigger. I want to do more and I know that I am capable of doing so.
Lot’s of things are due for a change this year. I need to find more balance in my life, I need to ramp up my savings and I need to make more money.
I’m ready to work for these changes, but more importantly, I’m ready to live a life outside my goals. While I am happy to chase down a dream and don’t mind working my butt off to do so, I need to remember that the future can’t come at the cost of my present. Working myself to death or living off a miniscule budget in the name of saving isn’t ok.
Additionally, I should mention I’ve committed to staying in Austin for one more calendar year. Initially, I was hoping to leave around September. It’s looking like the earliest I will leave town will be February of 2017, and I feel good about this decision.
With these thoughts in mind, I present to you my 2016 goals.
Increase Income to $40,000
In 2014 I made $15,000. Last year I made about $34,000. For 2016 I want to hit $40,000. It’s the magic number that will allow me to reach my savings goals, do some traveling and live a luxuriously frugal life. And, let’s be honest here: it’s not that much money.
Most people pull down 40K within their first few years after college. For whatever reason, I have really struggled to bring in a decent income. This is the year that changes. I am in a fairly low cost of living city and my living expenses are much lower than the average mid-twenties person. This is the time to up my income so that I can up my savings. If I can bring home $40,000 next year and live on $15,000, I can save a whole bunch of cash.
Live on 50% or Less
Which reminds me of my next goal: to live on half or less of my income. Like I said, my expenses right now are low. Probably the lowest they’ll ever be. Some costs are increasing this year (looking at you healthcare and car insurance), but while everything is pretty bottom-of-the-barrel, I want to save as much as possible.
Upgrade This Here Site
I’m using the word upgrade very generally here. As you may have noticed, I finally bought a domain name and have been working on perking some things up around here. For example, I’m on instagram now! I have some big plans that I want to implement with this site!
I want to hone the message of this site more. I was deliberately careful in choosing the new name for this blog a few months ago. “From Frugal to Free” is more than just some catchy alliteration! I want to explore how to live a full and rewarding life on a budget. I want to define what freedom is for people. I want chronicle my journey and open up this forum to others to do the same. I want to highlight people in our community and share words of inspiration, hope and wisdom with you all.
I hope you’ll stick around and see it through with me!
Save $10,000 in Retirement Accounts
Lest you get sidetracked by my dreams above, remember this is a blog about money! I want to max out my IRA and save an additional $4,500 towards retirement this year. It’s super-duper important to me to be very aggressive on the retirement front from here on out. Not only am I getting a late start for someone who is interested in FIRE, but having a sizable retirement fund means more financial security.
I’m someone who has never had any financial security in her life. It’s something I crave. It’s a goal that I am desperate to reach. By putting a solid 10K towards it this year, I know I’ll breathe easier and feel more stable.
Add $4,800 to Emergency Fund
I want to have a $9,000 emergency fund. That’s enough money for me to live off of for about eight months. It’s enough to fix any car problems or hell, buy a used car. It’s enough to leave Austin with. It’s a number I feel really good about having. This goal is a bit ambitious but I am going after it nonetheless!
I’m feeling excited for 2016. There’s a good vibe with this year. Anyone else feel it?
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.