Monday, June 25, 2012

A Mid-year Update on New Year’s Resolutions

I’m guessing that many New Year’s resolution setters out there have forgotten all about those plans, goals and aspirations that were set six months ago. Granted, such items aren’t always goals that might seem all that important as we move further into the new year, but if we’ve set resolutions that are pertinent to our personal lives, jobs or careers as I have, this might not be the case.

I ensure that each year, I set New Year’s resolutions that are relevant to my life, situation, and personal goals so that I don’t have to be reviewing them constantly to know what they are. This makes it easier to achieve such goals.

Here is how I’m doing so far on this year’s resolutions.

Increase Annual Income By 20%
Sadly, I haven’t realized this goal as of yet. As a freelancer without regular and stable paychecks, it can be difficult to know exactly where my income level will fall each month, let alone each year. Currently, I’m at only 45 percent of where I was at this point last year with my income, but with six months still to go, there’s room for improvement, and with the following goals on my list still works in process, I might be able to achieve this particular income increase resolution by year’s end.

Explore at Least Two New Forms of Income
I am currently working on finishing up several eBooks that I should have ready and online within a few months time. I’m hoping that these little jewels could garner me a bit more income, but to this point, I’m still uncertain as to the results of such a venture and how it could affect my annual income.

I’ve also recently been testing the waters with a nearby consignment shop. While I’ve done consignment style sales before with a local eBay store, I’ve never tried it through an actual, physical store. While we’re starting slow, and aren’t really looking for much in the way of regular income from this particular money-making option, we have started off with a West Elm chandelier and a large mirror to test the waters to see where it takes us. The one downside to this form of sales though, is that the store commission is 50 percent, which is a pretty big chunk of our possible profits

Meet or Beat My Budget
Due to our purchase of a condo outright, our cost of living has dropped dramatically from where it was at this time one year ago. Therefore, I’m currently on track with the budget I laid out at the beginning of the year and – with the exception of the last few months of the year in which our second child will be born – we have actually been able to cut several hundred dollars a month from our budgeted expenses.

Look for a Good Real Estate Investment
Little did I know at the beginning of the year that we’d own a condominium outright just five months later. With our move back to the Chicagoland area, we found a nice little vintage condo, in a historic area with plenty of shopping, restaurants, and nearby access to the commuter rail system for a great price, and we were able to purchase it without the aid of a mortgage.

We hope to be able to stay put here for at least the next five years or so, hopefully giving our property the chance to appreciate in value a little, as well as give us the chance to relax and enjoy the convenience, safety, and great schools the area affords. With our smaller condo, we are also enjoying a savings of over 200 percent in housing costs compared to the larger suburban home we sold last year.

Leave Room for Fun
Even though income is not where I hoped it would be, and I haven’t yet got my new forms of income fully underway just yet, we’ve still managed to fulfill our “leave room for fun” New Year’s resolution. Our reduced cost of living from our condo purchase has allowed us to free up a little extra cash for entertainment options. While we aren’t over-indulging or anything like that, we have still managed to keep between $200 and $300 in our entertainment budget each month. We have been able to enjoy occasional dinners out, some go-karting, trips to the zoo, some smaller road trips, and similar fun summer family activities that keep us entertained.

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