2019 Goals

In past years, I’ve set financial and life goals for our family. Here are 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017. Apparently last year I just didn’t feel like doing it. Ha! This year, I’m going to try to set realistic and attainable goals. Those are the best ones! Here are some things I would like to work on in 2019.

Mr. Money to get a job in his new career field.  For the past couple years, my husband has been studying software development languages (front end, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and C#/.NET) and actually completed a local coding bootcamp. He is on the job hunt currently and we are hoping that he will land a new job by April. No specific reason for April, that just sounds like ample time and a good, reasonable expectation.

Sinking Funds. We want to set up various sinking funds for home improvement, car replacements, birthdays, and vacations. I want to be prepared when the time comes to replace appliances or vehicles, and would also like for us to be able to visit my husband’s family in the summer/fall if possible. We will do our best, and see how this goes!

Retirement. I really want to save 10% of our gross income towards retirement this year. I think this is an achievable goal. I would love to be able to do 15%, but we will see! 10% is a doable amount, so that’s what I’m going to officially aim for!

College education. I would like to save more for future college expenses. However, if our daughter decides she doesn’t want to go to college, that’s fine too, and we will support her through her choices. Of course, we would really like her to be able to attend if that’s what she chooses, so the more money we have saved, the better! We also would like her to contribute to her educational expenses. I know when you’ve got the responsibility on you, you take things more seriously so we will ask that she does contribute to her education.

Debt Free/no new debt. We still owe a dentist around $600 I believe, and we should have that paid off in 5 or so months. It’s at zero percent interest, so we aren’t in a terrible hurry to pay that off but it would be really nice to not have to think about making that payment each month. It also would be nice to have that monthly payment freed up to put towards retirement.

Mortgage. This is the last goal, and for a good reason. I don’t think we are going to kill ourselves to throw tons of extra money at our mortgage. We have a low interest rate, and mortgage rates have risen a lot since we refinanced. We will continue to pay a little extra each month (we round up a little) so we are shaving time off our mortgage. We do talk about moving to a little bit bigger house with more property, so who knows what the future will hold. We are open to new things!

What are your goals for 2019?

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What Using a Credit Card only for Three Months Taught Me

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was going to try using only our credit card for expenses to see how that would work for us.  We have a rewards credit card where we get cash back on certain purchases (4% on gas, 3% on movies, 2% on restaurants and groceries, and up to 1% on everything else) so when we use it, we do reap rewards.  We always pay this card balance off every month because it has a high interest rate- probably to make up for the rewards.  In October, November, and December I used the credit card for all our every day purchases- gas, groceries, cable bill, household items, Amazon, etc. We actually ended up hitting the $100 threshold to receive a rebate check and in December when we received our statement it was attached- $127.32.  Obviously free money is nice and it’s not like I had to do anything extra to earn it.

However, I don’t know if I like using the credit card only.  Here’s why:

  • I like using our debit card for every day purchases because the money immediately comes out of our checking account.  I actually keep a check register, so it’s very easy for me to know exactly how much money we have at any point.  When I use the credit card, the money gets charged and the balance keeps going up and up until I make a payment.  I did make several payments throughout the month, so it wasn’t like it was a huge payment all a once and hurt a little less than if I had made the payment when the billing cycle cut.  It still hurt to make payments in the hundreds of dollars versus the smaller charges that usually go on our debit card.
  • I feel like we spent a lot more money when we used the credit card. Not having to write the transactions down made it almost like free money and it was easier to just swipe the card without having to think twice about it.  I can see how so many people get into the credit card trap and end up with high balances that take awhile to pay off.
  • I used to be able to make payments of whatever dollar amount I wanted to at any time to our credit card.  They changed it so that you can’t make a payment greater than what you owe, which I completely understand why, but it was so easy when I would charge gas or groceries and could come home and immediately transfer that amount to the credit card so I didn’t have to worry about doing it later.  I don’t like owing money.

I did like that it was easier to reconcile our checking account when we didn’t have multiple purchases to account for.  That part of it was great!  Going forward, I’m not sure what I  want to do. Part of me feels like it’s much better to just use the debit card and write the purchases down. I feel like when we use the debit card, we are much more intentional about how we spend our money.  I honestly can’t say that we made tons of extravagant purchases during the few months we used the credit card, but I feel like we did spend more than I would like.

Do you use credit cards and if so, what is your system?

 

 

 

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2017 Goals Recap

For many years now, I’ve set financial goals at the beginning of every year.  Here are 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015. Last year, we set goals for 2017 and today I’m going to see just how well we did.  2017 was extremely hard as Mr. Money lost his job at the end of July.  I think we will spend a lot of 2018 playing catch up, but I’m hopeful this year will be better than the last.  Here are the goals we set last year:

-Pay $8,000 down on the principal of our home.  Fail. We paid off over $6,000 towards principal of our mortgage.  I’m not too upset about this, as I’m not sure what our future goals are going to be as far as the mortgage goes.  Part of me would rather not try to put every extra cent we have towards the mortgage when it’s at 3.75% and put it, say in our Roth IRAs instead. I feel like that may be a better investment for our future, as that money will have time to grow and I’m assuming a better rate of return than 3.75% on that money.  Of course, I would LOVE to be mortgage free, but we need to assess our goals for 2018 and see what we feel will be best suited for our family.

-Save money for college education/the future for kid(s).  Success.  We did save some money for college education/future expenses, but it wasn’t that much.  Every time our daughter receives money for birthdays, Christmas, etc we deposit it in her savings account.  We hardly every buy toys at our house, and believe me- there is no lack of toys here!  We are blessed with caring family that likes to buy toys.  We err on the side of minimalism, and strive to keep a healthy balance of what comes in and what goes out of our house.

-Save $500 a month for retirement.  Fail. We were doing very well with retirement savings at the beginning of the year but Mr. Money ended up taking a new job and consequently was laid off from that job a few months later, so we didn’t save as much for retirement as we had hoped for.  This year I’m going to try to increase my work from home earnings, so I’m optimistic we will be able to save more money this year.

-Don’t eat out unless it’s planned and budgeted for.  Success/Fail?  This is probably the biggest area of our budget that we struggle with, and we always have.  Being a one income frugal family, we don’t buy extravagant things- expensive new clothes, toys, video games, anything of the sort, and eating out is a huge treat for us.  We enjoy eating out because it gets us out of the house, we don’t have to cook or clean up, and it’s a form of family bonding.  I HATE spending $25 on one meal for us to eat out, but we enjoy it immensely.

 

-Become/stay debt free.  Success. We ended up being very lucky to finish the year debt free.  It wasn’t easy, but somehow we made it work!  We try our hardest to stick to our frugal, minimalist ways and being debt free is the biggest reward for that. Debt stresses me out and I hate it!  I hope we never go into debt again and I dream of the day we are finished paying off our mortgage.

Go on a nice vacation somewhere.  Fail. Ha.  We did go visit my family a few times, but that only cost us gas money to get there and then we stayed with my parents so we didn’t spend any extra money on lodging.  I really wanted us to visit Mr. Money’s family in Colorado but that didn’t happen.  Our vehicles are older and we didn’t want to risk driving them 1500 plus miles across country and have something happen to them.

Overall, I’m satisfied with our progress towards our 2017 goals.  After Mr. Money lost his job, we went into survival mode and life was what it was. I’m hoping and praying that we end 2018 in a much better position than we ended 2017.  I think that’s a real possibility!  Mr. Money and I need to sit down and figure out what we want our 2018 goals to be and go from there.

How was your 2017?

 



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