2012 Financial and Life Goals

2012 is already here, and I’m a little behind on our financial and life goals.  I’m a little uncertain about what I should aim for, as we’re going to have a brand new baby and will have to adjust to the new expenses and life with a child.  My goals this year will be attainable (I hope!) and I am crossing my fingers for the best year ever.  It certainly will be interesting and a lot different than past years!  Here are some of the goals I’d like for us to accomplish:

1. Set up a savings account for the baby. The baby has not even been born yet and already has a stash of money.  I’m going to open a custodian savings account for the benefit of the baby.  I will also have to research 529 plans in case that’s the way we want to go.  I’m thinking it would be easier just to open the UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors) account and wait until the money accumulates and then go from there.  We’ll see.

2.  Figure out life insurance. I had life insurance through my employer, but I’m not too sure what’s happening with it since I’m leaving the bank.  That’s something that we really need to address, especially with the new baby coming.

3. Change beneficiaries. I’ve got various family members listed as beneficiaries on our retirement plans and life insurance, but I would like to change it to the baby.

4. Make more money blogging/working from home.  I’d like to be able to contribute financially to our household as much as I can.  In addition to blogging and writing, I can shoot photography if I have time.  Of course, this all depends on the baby, as that’s my first priority.  I’d like to stay at home for at least the first three years of the baby’s life, and it would be awesome if I could make enough money freelancing to do so.

5. Stay debt free.  This was on last year’s goals as well, but I think it’s important enough to stay on this year’s.  I will have to say, if there was a good reason that we needed to borrow money, I probably would do it.  I don’t think debt is the worst thing in the world as long as you’re responsible and borrow money for the right reasons.  Mr. Money’s not going to get the 2012 Mustang he wanted for instance, but if we needed to take out a loan, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  I’m going to do my best to avoid it, though!

6. Finish up all house projects that need to be done.  We need to repaint the cement on our porches, paint the shed, figure out what to do with the dining room flooring, and redo our master bath.  I’m going to do as much as I can to make the house look really good this year.  We’ve done a lot, but I feel like there’s still so much more to do.  These projects shouldn’t cost a ton of money.

7. Learn to relax and not worry so darn much.  One of my best friends gave me some great advice when it comes to money.  What’s the point of having a ton of cash in the bank if you are miserable?  I’m not going to worry about saving every penny where I can like I used to.  I want to be happy.

What are your 2012 goals?

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2011 Financial and Life Goals Recap

At the beginning of 2011, I set some financial and life goals for myself and Mr. Money. Here’s how 2011 played out for us:

1. Keep up with the clutter and declutter 365 items from our house this year. SUCCESS.

I know I decluttered and donated a lot more than 365 items from our house this year.

2. Pay at least $3,000 down on the principal of our mortgage. FAIL. We did pay off $2679 off our mortgage prinicpal, so I think that’s pretty good!  Our extra money this year went to our savings account.  Honestly, I’m not too concerned with paying down our mortgage aggressively at this point.  We’ve got other priorities.  I do wish our mortgage balance was lower, but we can chip away at it.

3. Travel to somewhere fun and exciting.  SUCCESS? We took a trip to Colorado when I was around 20 weeks pregnant.  It was our last trip as just the two of us.  I really wish we had gone to Hawaii last year for our fifth anniversary, but I was a tightwad and didn’t do it.  Oh well.  The nice thing is that we saved money by not going, allowing me more flexibility to be a stay at home mom.

4. Get knocked up. SUCCESS. I am most proud of this goal, as we’ve been trying to have a baby for quite some time.  We are really excited to welcome our baby in 2012.

5. Live on one salary. SUCCESS.  We did successfully manage to live off Mr. Money’s income.  My income did pay for health insurance and retirement savings, so we didn’t factor that into the equation.  I’m okay with that.

6. Make more money from side hustles. SUCCESS? I did make money blogging this year, although it wasn’t enough for me to quit my day job.  I’m hoping 2012 provides more money making opportunities from home for me.  Of course, I’m going to not stress about it because I’ll have a new baby.

7. Stay debt free! SUCCESS! We did stay consumer debt free this year, and only have our mortgage debt.  It feels like in the past few months we’ve been spending money like crazy, but we’ve saved for this, so it’s okay.

For 2012, I’m going to make some realistic financial goals.  I have no clue how our budget will be affected by the baby, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to be too hard on myself.  What’s the point of having tons of cash in the bank if my life is miserable?  I’m going to do my best to find a nice balance in 2012 between budgeting and living life.  I’m anticipating it to be the best year of my life ever, so that’s a positive start!

I need to decide what to make our 2012 goals and come up with a new budget for after the baby is born. Fun!

Overall, I’m happy with the way we spent 2011.  I’m very thankful we didn’t have any huge expenses (well, minus paying for the baby’s birth 😉 ) and that we were healthy and happy throughout most of the year.  I feel very blessed, and am sure that feeling will stick with me throughout the next year!

Happy New Year!


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Budget Smackdown

On Friday night, Mr. Money and I sat down and went over our budget.  We’ve gotten a little lax over the past few months to say the least.  I totaled up our monthly spending for the month of August (since we weren’t on vacation at all that month) and it was pretty surprising.  After viewing the totals on some of the categories I wanted to throw up.  However, that isn’t really very productive, so we decided to be a little more strict with our budgeting and try to work a little more at staying in line.  It will help us reach our goals, and enable me to stay at home with the baby.

Because I’m crazy, and I think it will help keep me accountable if I post the actual numbers of our variable expenses here, I’m going to do it.  Feel free to shame me if you want; I deserve it.

Groceries, including household items= 371.76
Clothing (work shoes for Mr. Money)= 42.39
Gas= 298.20
Eating Out= 369.95

I wasn’t too surprised about the grocery category, because we try to buy grass fed local beef and other meats from a farm close to our house, as well as purchasing many organic items. I knew that our grocery total was going to be more than I wanted it, but there’s little I can do unless I want to compromise the quality of food I’m eating. With me being pregnant, that’s not something I really want to do.

The eating out part of our spending? Is completely ridiculous and I can’t believe that we let ourselves spend that much on eating out. I know part of the problem was that I was still experiencing “morning sickness” and when I had a craving for something that actually sounded pretty good, we indulged. Apparently I had a lot of cravings during the month!

We’ve decided to cut back on the expenses that we can control. Of course, the fixed expenses we have we don’t really have much wiggle room, so we’ll have to leave those how they are.  Here’s what we’re proposing for the new budget:

Food= $350
Dogs= $20
Netflix= $8
XM= $25
Gas= $300 (I’d like to make this lower)
Eating out= $120
Retirement=$50

Here are some of the things that I know we’ve been slacking on, causing us to spend so much money: not meal planning, not having things for lunches for me, and being lazy.  I guess it all boils down to being lazy.  🙂  I have now realized that I can’t afford to be lazy, so I’ve got to change.

Of course, I decide to do this right before Christmas!  And then after Christmas, I’ll be quitting my job, and then we’ll be having the baby!  It’s more necessary now than ever, so I’m going to have to suck it up and not have any excuses.  Any freelancing income I get will have to be used for monthly expenses, but I’m happy with that.  If it needs to be done, it needs to be done.

Have you ever realized you’ve gone way over budget and had to change it?  Any advice for me?

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