Ah, it’s that time of year again. The time when people feel compelled to set lofty goals and ambitous resolutions for the next year. I admit I’m not exempt from this trend. The end of one year and the start of the next is a great time to evaluate where I’ve been and where I’d like to go next. For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about what my goals will be for 2009 and how I would go about achieving them. For the next year, most of my goals focus on finances. When I look at my life list, the major obstacle in the way is simply not having the funds to do them. If I had the money, then there would be nothing stopping me from flying around the world or going out and helping other people improve their lives. So my goal this year is to refocus my finances and to put my resources towards the things I care about and will make a difference rather then to trival stuff that won’t last the year.

Specifically, this is what I want to do:

1. Cut my monthly expenses by $300.

I plan to do this in 3 ways. One is to pay off my car loan. This will make me debt-free and free up nearly $200 to use towards other goals. Another is to cut my cable. I’m currently in talks with my apt. complex to get the cable removed, but it may not happen until later this year when my lease comes up for renewal. The third way is to raise the deductible on my car insurance. Once I build up a larger emergency fund, I would be comfortable raising my deductible which will reduce my monthly premium.

2. Increase my income by $200 a month.

This goal is a bit trickier for me. I want to create other sources of income for me outside of my job. That income could come from taking on a part-time job, finding freelance work, even generating income off of this blog. I’m not sure I can actually generate an extra $200 this way, but I won’t know until I try.

3. Build up my emergency fund to cover 3 months of expenses.

I have already been working on building up an emergency fund for most of the last year, but with a worsening economy, having a cushion of cash to fall back on in an emergency is more of a priority for me. I’m already saving, but I want to increase the amount I’m putting towards my e-fund.

4. Build up the dream fund to at least $2,500.

My dream fund is a savings account that I put money into for the goals on my list. If the fund is empty, it becomes rather difficult to fund my adventures. So I’m planning to use some of the money that I save/earn through the first two goals and funnel it towards the account.

5. Increase my charitable giving.

It is important to me to give back to other people and organizations that have given so much to me. I already give about 10% of my income to charity, but would love to push it up to 13%. This financial goal will be the most challenging one for me, but again through cutting expenses and increasing income I hope to achieve this by the end of ’09.

My other big goal for 2009 is to continue working on my life list. I would like to cross off at least 12 goals off my list and I will be detailing my plan of attack in another post.

I will also be posting my progess on these resolutions and any setbacks I encounter along the way throughout the next year. In the meantime, feel free to post your new year’s resolutions in the comments section.