In my last post I talked about getting a fat refund from Uncle Sam this year, and spending it on a nifty new HDTV.

I have an unpublished draft post that talks about my goals and resolutions for 2008. Several of the items on that unfinished list are about… owning something of value, something that will increase in value. Of increasing my net worth, rather than decreasing it.

Today, I used the best time machine available (namely, a spreadsheet filled with my incomes and outgoes for the coming year) and took a look at what I wanted to achieve.

My first goal is to set aside some money as an emergency fund. On J.D’s advice, I’m going to start with just $1000.00, locked away somewhat, earning a good but modest interest, for my rainy-day money.

My second goal… is to own something real. Like a house, or (more likely for me, being single and a first-time buyer), a condo.

And when I put those two goals into my spreadsheet, and tried to reconcile those, with my other goals of paying off my credit cards (which I need to do before buying a house), along with plunking down over a grand on a second TV… I just couldn’t make the numbers come out right. It pushed my potential mortgage off into the future, not an impossible task, just farther than I would like or was entirely comfortable with. I’d rather it be sooner, than later.

So the dream of having a giant TV to watch the 3-4 hours of TV or movies I watch at home seemed… silly. Frivolous, even.

So I set that one aside.

I’m not going on about it like it was the end of the world. It wasn’t a particularly difficult decision. Once I saw how all my goals interacted, it was actually easy. I could do it, and still pay for a nice Christmas vacation next year, and have a small down payment for the house, and still be able to afford a car down the road, and not have to collect more unsecured debt than I already have.

Now I have a new dream: putting a nice home theater system, that is paid for, into a space that is truly, legally, mine.

And sooner, rather than later. And safely… with a cushion to fall back on.