2011 Goals Update

We are already over three months into 2011, and I can’t believe it.  A quarter of the year is over already!  That’s nuts.  I thought I’d do a review of how our 2011 goals are going so far.

1. Keep up with the clutter and declutter 365 items from our house this year. We’re doing well on this challenge so far.  I’d say we are more than halfway there, and I’m very excited for that! It feels good to get rid of things.  Coincidentally, the Veterans of America pickup service was scheduled to come to our house today but never showed up. Humph. I’m not too happy about it because now I have a pile of crap sitting on my front porch that now I have to deal with.

2. Pay at least $3,000 down on the principal of our mortgage. So far we’ve paid $961.94 towards the principal of the mortgage.  We’re almost 1/3 of the way there, so I’d say we’re on track to meet this goal.  If we aren’t on track by the end of the year, I will just go ahead and make a lump sum payment on the mortgage to get it accomplished.

3. Travel to somewhere fun and exciting. We haven’t gone anywhere so far this year, and that makes me sad 🙁  I love traveling, but with Mr. Money’s job we haven’t been able to get away together.  Since December, we haven’t even had one full day off together!  I know it could always be worse though.

4. Get knocked up.
Obviously this hasn’t happened yet, and I’m pretty sad about it but we’re doing all we can to make it happen right now, so I guess that’s a positive?

5. Live on one salary. This is one goal we’ve been successfully knocking out of the park! I decided to have my direct deposit routed to our ING savings account, and that’s worked out very well. I’ve freaked out a few times if our main checking account falls below like $300, but I know that we’ve got money if we absolutely need it so I need to relax on that. I guess I thought we’d be saving more money than we are by living on one income, but with health insurance, taxes, 401k contributions, and other deductions from my paycheck it is really not that much money.

6. Make more money from side hustles. I’ve made some cloth wipes to sell to cloth diapering mamas, but haven’t listed them on etsy. I’ve also knit some longies too but haven’t listed them. Looks like I need to work on this more! My blog income has been pretty steady so hopefully that will increase more soon!

7. Stay debt free! This has happened. Yay!  Of course, if we buy a new stove, I’ll probably finance that on our Home Depot credit card as long as I can get 0% APR on the card.  I’ll pay it off before we get charged any interest, so no big deal.

I’m thinking 2011 will be a pretty good year for us financially.  I hope that we accomplish all these goals, plus more!

How’s 2011 treating you so far?

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2010 Financial Goals Recap

Every year we set financial goals for us.  Here are the goals I set for 2010, and here are the 2009 financial goals.  Personally I think this year was a pretty good year for us financially, and I am very thankful for that.  Here’s a recap of the goals I set and whether or not we accomplished them.

1. Mortgage- This year I’d like to pay off at least $3,500 off the principal of my mortgage.  Last year I aimed for making one extra payment a year and that didn’t work out.

Fail.  We paid off $2500 in principal on the mortgage this year.  This is definitely more than we would have paid off if we had just made regular payments.  About halfway through the year, I decided that I would make at least one $100 extra principal only payment on the mortgage each month.  While it’s not a lot, it still helps.  I like seeing the balance of the mortgage go down faster than normal!  Unfortunately, the mortgage that we refinanced to has a prepayment penalty of 1%.  We knew this going into it, and since we didn’t pay any closing costs we decided it was fine.  Closing costs on a conventional mortgage would have been much more than the 1% penalty.

2. Retirement– I want to bump my contribution up to 10%.  Right now I contribute 8% and I want to put more in for 2010!

Fail. I actually kept the contribution the same.  I think the percentage goal didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.  I’m thinking that for 2011 I may come up with a certain dollar amount to increase my 401k amount by and go with that.  In 2011, I may also add a goal to contribute to a Roth IRA for Mr. Money as well, which will be in dollars.  I think that will help out a lot!

3. Car Loan– I want to PAY OFF the car this year!  I know this is definitely attainable, and I hope I can do it in the first quarter!  When I pay this off, we will be completely debt free!  Woo!

Success! In October, we ended up being debt free (minus the mortgage) with the car loan payoff! It is so awesome to not have to worry about making a car payment each month, and knowing that we can live on less.  It’s a great feeling!  Over the past few years, we’ve worked extremely hard focusing on paying off student loans, credit cards, and even the car loan.  Being debt free is awesome! Now to chip away at the mortgage…

4. Budget– Come up with a good budget and actually stick with it!

Success! My budget may not work for everyone, but it does for us, and I’m happy with that.  Why mess with it if it’s not broken?

5. Savings– Keep tossing money into savings accounts!

Success! Over the course of the year, I’ve been able to contribute extra money that I’ve earned, bonuses from Mr. Money, and some freelance income into savings.  It’s nice to have it just in case we need it.  In 2011, I’m going to set concrete goals for savings amounts for specific things we want to do.

We obviously didn’t accomplish every goal we set, but overall I’m happy with our success.  I’m looking forward to 2011!

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Calculating my Net Worth

money-print-c10055084.jpegI decided today that I was going to calculate my net worth because I had never done so. I was surprisingly astonished when I received a net worth of $37,337! This took into consideration myself and my husband’s information, but I was really expecting to be in the red!

To explain our financial situation a little deeper, I am still in my early 20s and my husband is in his early 30s. We both make a decent income for the area of the country we live in. In fact, we earn almost twice more than the median average household income for our state. We own our own house, have a first and second mortgage, both have Roth IRAs, I have a 401K, and we’ve got a nice chunk of savings kept in a high yield savings account at ING. We both work full time as managers in our respective fields, I work in finance, and he works in the food industry.

I was pretty shocked to see the number come up that was displayed. We’ve had a little bit of a financial crisis lately, with a tree falling on our house, tearing a hole in our roof, and totaling one of our vehicles. We’re going to have that extra expense of the deductible on our home owner’s insurance and we’re going to have to buy a new vehicle in a year or so. Luckily a family member sold us her car for something we could afford so we don’t have a car payment right now.

Throughout my life I have lived frugally. It all stemmed from the lessons my mother has taught me. I remember working my first job training horses, where my Grandpa would give me $50 or so when he sold the horse because I helped out. I always saved that money, and was glad I did. We don’t buy fancy cars or spend money on expensive clothes or electronics. We live well below our means, and to tell you the truth, I love it. I love being as close to debt free as I can. Hopefully in 10 years or so we will be completely debt free. I think one of the keys to long term wealth is not generating more debt than you can handle. For instance, don’t go out and buy a new plasma TV if yours works fine. You don’t have to have the nicest things to “keep up with the Joneses”.

I am going to try to “bank on myself”, where next time I need a loan, say for a car, I’ve got that money saved up so I don’t have to get a loan. I’m going to set up a pre authorized transfer of at least $350 a month (same as a car payment) so that I can pay cash for the vehicle of my choice when the time comes, or at least have a good amount to put down on a vehicle so my loan amount isn’t outrageous.

This was a really interesting exercise and I strongly encourage you to do it as well. You may be as surprised as me to find out your real net worth!

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