With the new year just days away, now seems like a fitting time to look to the future. Many of the posts on She Picks Up Pennies have had a financial focus this past year. Looking ahead, I plan to continue to pay down debt (we’re shooting for well above the $18k mark for 2016!), work towards financial independence, and slash away at aspects of our budget. However, I hope to explore more of the heart of this blog – that is to find many ways to live more purposefully.
In 2016, I will…
Track My Spending. I’ve been tracking my spending for the better part of a year now, and it’s helped combat mindless consumerism. While I escaped college without any student loans and never fell into the consumer credit card trap, I could shop with the best of them. These rampant purchases took a toll not only on our savings account but also the storage options in our new home. Creating a budget was helpful initially, yet now that Mr. P and I track our spending so consistently, we find that our spending falls well within the parameters of our budget because we are so conscious of it now. Every penny we spend has a purpose.
Invest…and Look Less. Mr. P and I maxed out our Roth IRAs last year in a Vanguard Target Fund. I had moved part of my Roth IRA to Vanguard, but I also kept some squirreled away in a bank CD. Late this year, I moved all my money to Vanguard. To say I’ve been white knuckling it these past few months is an understatement. Still, like Vanguard tweeted me, I’m going to Keep Calm and Invest On. I also plan to stop checking my balance so compulsively, but that might take a small intervention.
Charge Wisely. I’d love to do more credit card churning and travel hacking this year. I had a lot of fun earning LOFT rewards throughout past year. We also used our cash-back rewards to fund our most recent trip to Vegas. Throughout the next year, I will also continue to prioritize smart credit card use (read: balances paid in full each month) over rewards.
Do What Brings Me Joy. I want to continue developing my hobbies. I’ve been blogging for the past four months, and I’ve learned so much about myself. Aside from the initial setup cost, blogging only costs my time. I’m also using Khan Academy and Duolingo to develop some other areas of interest with no monetary cost.
Cultivate Joy in Others. This past summer, Mr. P and I visited a literacy initiative in Mexico with backpacks full of goodies and pesos. To say I left part of my heart there is an understatement. I compulsively check their Facebook page for updates of the children’s programs and donate monthly. I’ve also been involved with giving to local food pantries and homeless shelters. Next year, I hope to find ways to lend my time to other organizations as well.
Relax. Currently, I’m consistently inconsistent with my meditation and yoga practices. I’m also doing a terrible job of sleeping for more than six hours a night. As a highly anxious, type-A person, my own well-being normally registers nary a blip on my radar. The older I get, the more I realize the wisdom behind the oxygen mask analogy. In order to help others, I have to take care of myself first.
Over the next year, I hope to use this blog not only as a means to chronicle my efforts towards these goals but to solicit advice and encouragement from fellow bloggers and readers. Whatever your plans for 2016, I wish you and yours the very best. May your year be filled with happiness, health, and riches of the heart.
So Tell Me…What are your dreams and plans for 2016?