Everything I Need to Do With My Money in 2018

Photo by Dana Marin on Unsplash.

After realizing that I needed to set up a HSA next year, I started thinking about all the other stuff I should be doing financially in 2018.

Then I decided I might as well write it down. Like any good personal finance list, I divided it into “needs” and “wants.”


  • Continue to set aside 30 percent of my income for taxes and 15 percent for savings.
  • Meet with a CPA to make sure that 30 percent estimate is accurate.
  • Make my 2017 $5,500 Roth IRA contribution before April 15, 2018.
  • Set aside another $5,500 for my 2018 Roth IRA contribution.
  • Set up a HSA.
  • Figure out how much money I should put into my HSA every month. (Do I want to hit the $3,450 max?)
  • Ask my CPA how my HSA contribution might affect my taxes. (Should I save 30 percent of my income after my HSA contribution?)
  • Switch from paper to digital receipts because I am tired of keeping boxes of paper receipts in my closet.
  • Split my Mint “groceries” category into “food” and “household/toiletries.” Then subdivide all of my 2018 grocery receipts so I have a better idea of what I’m spending in each area.
  • Calculate all of my irregular annual expenses (holidays, vacations, new bike, Amazon Prime renewal, Washington Post renewal, etc.) and divide by 12 so I can set aside that much money every month.
  • Figure out whether or not I’m going to get a car, and if so, how I’m going to get one.
  • Grow my income.


  • Invest some of my savings.
  • Hire a publicist for my forthcoming novel, The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 (and, by extension, my previously published novel The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1).
  • Set aside money for a book tour after Volume 2 publishes (assumedly) this spring.
  • Set aside money to attend conferences and other professional development events.
  • Do the math on whether I can spend enough money on my business to qualify for a health insurance subsidy (because Healthcare.gov determines self-employed eligibility after subtracting business expenses from gross income), and how that might affect my non-business discretionary income.

(I should probably do that last one before December 15, actually. Maybe it can be my Do 1 Thing.)

What I’m seeing, from this list, is that I need to get much more specific with my 2018 budget. Figuring out my 2018 fixed expenses will only get me part of the way there; I also need to calculate the rest of what I want to do in 2018 and subtract it from my anticipated income.

At least I still have a few weeks to add up all the numbers.

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