Thursday, January 7, 2010

A few more resolutions...

There are a few things that I left off my Big 3 Resolutions list. I think that's because I felt I needed to put something out there quickly.

Here are a few more things to add to the list:
  • Learn to ride a bike. I am not embarrassed about my inability to ride a bike, just inconvenienced. I don't want to be limited or held back or excluded from activities because of my lack of this one silly skill. Yes, I learned when I was younger. But I didn't ride frequently as a kid (nobody, like, rides bikes in, like, The San Fernando Valley) and when I tried a few years ago, it was a complete failure. See Amsterdam 2005. Bad times. Just ask my sister or my cousin Casey. Anyway, I would like to re-learn so that I can feel confident and comfortable on a 2-wheeler. I want to ride a bike around the Yosemite Valley floor this summer. I am planning to take a class at REI (appropriately titled "How to Ride a Bike) on February 7th. I will let you know how it goes.
  • Save more money. It's been a while since I talked about personal finance on this blog! My personal finances took a year off in 2009, what with the pay cut and the unemployment and all. I didn't go into further debt (unless you count interest that accrued while I was on student loan forbearance), and I didn't diminish my savings (ok, but only by about $400 total), but I did not save. At all. I did not put one dollar into my savings account. This is ok, because I needed that money to live. Now that I am getting back on my feet, here is my plan:
  1. Get my checking account to the point where I have $600 minimum in there at all times as a cushion. Why $600? $500 didn't seem like enough, and $1,000 seemed like too much (though it would be great, and sure, I'll aim for it, but $600 minimum)
  2. Start putting at least $100 into savings each month/build my emergency fund. They say you should have 6 months of living expenses saved, and right now I've got 2 or 3. $100/month is not very much, and I should really put about $250 (slightly more than 10% of my take-home pay), but I'm going to start with $100 a month, and here's why:
  3. Start paying more than the minimum on my outstanding loans. I currently pay roughly $140/month for my student loan and $260/month for my car payment. I'd like to round both of these numbers up to $200 and $300 (or even $350) respectively to pay off the principal on my loans quicker. I only have about 2 years left on my car payment, but if I can bring that down to a year and a half? Less? I currently owe $4,935.60 on my car and over $18,000 in student loans. That's if I paid them off today. I've got a ways to go. But if I can up my monthly contributions, I'll pay them off faster, right?

So those are my little resolution-addenda. It's good to have goals!


  1. Ooh I might take that bike class too! But I was also thinking of the road cycling one. I'd really like to be better at biking around -- it would be so convenient, and the East Bay is so bike-friendly. As it is I'm afraid I'll go to adjust my glasses and serve into oncoming traffic.

  2. You should take it with me! It seems like the ultimate beginner's class...after this one, maybe I'll venture into road cycling, but for now, I just want to be comfortable riding, period. :)

  3. That's so funny that you said that about SFV because I tried taking Baby Awesome for a walk today and realized that "Where the Sidewalk Ends" isn't just a collection of poems by Shel Silverstein. Seriously.

  4. Yep. The Valley is no friend to bicyclists. When my parents were growing up (they're both from the Valley), it was. But not so much anymore.

  5. you know where's not friendly to cyclists? Anywhere I've lived except the Bay. New York City has a seriously high cyclist fatality rate, in Baltimore you're just as likely to have your bike stolen when it's chained to a bike rack as when you're on it, London's roads are far too switchbacky and skinny to ride safely anywhere, and Colorado? I don't ride my bike down any incline steeper than my roof. It's unfortunate that so many places are so unfriendly toward non-car transportation.

  6. Kim-
    I too rode my bike from one end of "The Valley" to the other!!! MOst recent bike riding was WAY SHORT due to the pain it caused in my kne and the fact that now it is a challenge to know just where to cast my glance in my charming bifocals! Our dear friend Dorothy never did really learn to ride and in the infamous movie she made with her co-teachers she rode a 3-wheeler!!!! Talk about LOL!!!

  7. Nancy, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've thought about a three-wheeler before...but I think I'd better just learn to ride a two-wheeler so I can hop on any bike I see! :-) And what is this movie??

    Kristen, I agree. Even as a non-cyclist (for now!) I feel like there are far too many places that are just too scary to ride! Berkeley is one of the most bike-friendly places I've ever heard of, and even parts of Berkeley are terrifying (as a driver who has had to swerve to avoid bikers on narrow or busy roads)!

  8. I know how you feel. Santa Cruz is very bike friendly and I am one of the only ones who doesn't ride...I'm just scared to do it! I've fallen every time I've tried and I just gave up...the other day I saw my lonely bike in my shed and considered giving it another try...

  9. You should, Nicki! Want to come up for the day on Sunday the 7th and take the class with me? Or have a friend teach you or something :)