2011 was an amazing year for our family.  I quit my job, my husband secured a post-doc position, and we began to aggressively pay down our debt.  We are still deep in the financial trenches, recovering from my husband’s long haul to earn his Ph.D. and our decision to have two babies back-to-back.  However, we both feel optimistic that our income will continue to increase and our lives will continue to improve.  To help facilitate our progress, we are setting goals for 2012, which I will update monthly with our progress.

–Pay off our credit cards.  Right now we owe $15,815.82 on credit cards.  I am committed to making 2012 the year we become credit card debt free, ideally before October.

–Pay off my student loan.  My student loan is currently at $6,167.53; we plan to pay this off no later than the end of 2012, although ideally sooner.

–Make $30,000 in online income in 2012.  I have joined the Online Money Bloggers and have made it my goal to earn $30,000 in online income this year.  I plan to do this through my staff writing jobs, virtual assistant work, and advertising on my blog.  I also started a new blog, which I will discuss in another post in just a few days.  Finally, I plan to release my eBook that has been on hold since November.

–Snowflake at least $750 a month on debt.  We plan to continue to selling stuff around the apartment.  In addition, I have devoted one of my virtual assistant jobs entirely to snowflaking, and I will continue to pursue other ways to make extra money.

–Sell $1,000 of stuff around the house.  In 2011, we sold $1,550 of stuff.  In 2012, we plan to sell more on Craigslist and to finally have our long awaited garage sale.  Between these two, we hope to bring in at least $1,000.

–Learn to use coupons strategically to lower our grocery bill.  I used to be fairly good at using coupons to play the drugstore game, but when my third child was born 20 months ago, all couponing ended.  I know that I am spending more than I need to for toiletries, and even though we try to eat a mostly organic diet and have to buy foods to accommodate our food intolerances, there are still ways to save with coupons.

–Lose 25% of my body weight.  Losing weight went on the back burner when we became gazelle intense.  Honestly, I have been averaging 6 hours of sleep a night, which is not enough for me, and I haven’t been eating as healthy as I should be.  While I want to be debt-free as soon as possible, I don’t want to do so at the expense of my health, so I plan to work on my diet and try to fit more exercise into my day.  I am not going to follow a particular diet plan; I am just going to eat foods that are better for me.

–Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.  Five to six hours a night is not enough for me; I am grouchy more often than I would like because I am so sleep deprived.  A large part of the problem is that my husband and I both have a natural tendency to go to bed sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight and wake up around 7 a.m.  Our kids, however, like to wake up around 5 a.m.  Both my husband and I are experimenting with going to bed between 9 and 10 p.m. and getting up at 5 a.m. when the kids do.  (Usually one of us drags out of the bed to watch the kids at 5 a.m.)

–Send my daughter to Japanese school.  As I mentioned previously, one motive for our big, hairy, audacious goal is to send our oldest daughter to Japanese school no later than June of this year.

–Increase our emergency fund.  While we are paying down debt, I just want to have a small emergency fund, maybe $2,000 to $3,000.  I want to keep most of it liquid, but I will look at places where I can put the money such as a high interest checking account or savings account.  I may also consider a short term CD, depending on CD Rates, though I would only invest in a CD a few months at a time.

I’ll update these goals on a monthly basis, at the end of the month.

What are your goals for the new year?