MyMoneyBlog 2009 Upcoming Financial Projects

While Suze Orman has her Action Plan, I have also been thinking of my own. The first is general but the rest should be good blog fodder. They also fit into the concept of Kaizen and continuous improvement. Not really resolutions… I just want to keep making small steps forward.

Project #0 – Make Sure You’re Valuable At Work

I basically think of job security like this. Would life be difficult if you’re gone? Make sure it would be. 🙂 In addition, networking can be hard for the introverted like myself but necessary.

Project #1 – Back to Basics, Conscious Spending

Tracking Spending
People either love or hate budgets. But can you say right now how much your annual expenses are? I think that is more important. I have already estimated that my family spends about $3,500 on housing per month (!) and $1,500 on everything else. But I want to drill down further.

I plan to try out the newest versions of free online money management tools like Quicken Online, Mint, Geezeo, Wesabe, and Yodlee MoneyCenter and review each one.

I’ve already started using Quicken Online for January, and it has already had a lot of improvements since it became free a few months ago. This old screenshot is obsolete.

Critical Examination Of All Expenses
Next, I plan on going through every single expense category one by one (housing, electricity, dining out…) and looking at each with an open mind. Am I willing to move somewhere with cheaper housing? How about when I retire? Should I install a solar water heater? Buy a new car and drive it into the ground, or buy used? I also feel I should prioritize all expenses.

Project #2 – Build an Online Store

I don’t get too excited about selling a physical product as a main job, primarily because it is so labor-intensive if you do the inventory yourself. I’m more interested in either drop-shipping or dealing with electronic product, even though it is a very crowded field. Investigate profit margins. I also like the idea of playing with the back-end software like shopping carts and content management.

At a minimum, it will be a educational hobby with small start-up costs and one that might make some money. Lots of trial and error expected. Want to tell me about any good drop-shippers? I can keep it a secret. 🙂

Project #3 – Rental Property Search and Education

I don’t think the real estate market in most areas will be picking up anytime soon. But with lower prices and real estate agents with more time, I think later this year will be good time to learn about possibly being a landlord. I might hire a Realtor to run some searches, and also do browse some foreclosures. Learn to run the calculations and properly estimate rental income, expenses, and tax benefits.

This way, I can recognize an opportunity when I see it, and act accordingly. As part of being ready, I should also commit some cash to this goal.

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