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 Post subject: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
Prior to this year we didn't have any financial goals other than a goal to pay off our one and only credit card. Our first CC bill that we didn't pay in full was back in Aug 2008. $1000 balance turned into $2000 which turned in to $20,000 (5.24% APR) at its peak. All along we kept saying, "Our goal is to pay off our debt." We were young with no direction, scared/embarrassed to ask for help, and had no idea what we were doing.

Hubby does not have much involvement in our finances. He admits he is horrible with money and wants no involvement. He gets a weekly cash allowance (given to him weekly so he doesn't blow it all at once) and sticks to that amount. He is a happy man and we no longer argue about misc credit/debit purchases.

We started 2013 with $18,000 in CC debt. We ended 2013 with $10,000 in debt. Writing that down make me feel so proud. I didn't think to set any 2013 goals - wish I would have. We also have a personal loan of $3915 at 0% (no other terms).

Our 2014 goals:
1.) CC debt free at the end of May (this will be a stretch but very possible with a few small windfalls headed our way)
2.) Pay off personal loan at the end of August
3.) Pay for Christmas using our SF
(A Christmas SF was the first SF I ever had back before I knew what a SF was. As a teenager I would put $25 a month in an envelope and buy my family gifts with that money in December. I was so proud of myself for thinking of this and never felt guilty spending that money. I stopped doing this at some point so using a SF to pay for Christmas gifts this year will feel like I've come full circle.)
4.) Have 1.5 months worth of income saved in an EF by the end of 2014.

------ EDIT 02/18/2014 ------
I wanted to modify my 2014 Financial Goals with firm numbers:
1.) CC payoff by end of May '14
2.) PL payoff by end of Aug '14
3.) $825 in Christmas Sinking Fund at beginning of December '14
4.) Save $10K in EF by end of '14
5.) Save $725 for medical expenses (might be able to defer amount to 2015 when FSA will be fully funded again - it's a unique situation)


Last edited by Pisces1305 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:55 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
Hubby took off for a planned weekend trip with some friends for an event. Cost of the trip require a deposit which just so happened to be the cost of his share of this trip. The cost for all the rooms and event registration are going on our CC. I told Hubby that I was not agreeing to this trip if he didn't collect everyone elses' (sp?) share in advance - and he did. I'm so proud he did this because in the past when similar situations have come up, he always collected the money after said event and then we don't have the money to cover our CC purchases that month.

I am a little upset because when I reminded him to ask the others to pitch in for gas (Hubby is driving his vehicle with some of his friends) he said he wasn't going to ask them and just hopes they chip in. I think this is crap. I see nothing wrong with asking for the others to help our with fuel costs since they are riding along with him. He thinks I'm being petty. While I feel like most of the guys will chip in, I think we are going to get stuck with more than our fair share of fuel costs for this trip.

There is a casino nearby where he is staying this weekend and is a likely spot for them to go. I personally don't like casinos, I think they are a waste of money. I told Hubby that if he wanted to go that he needed to use his blow money and any other cash he earned on the side. Our hard earned money is going towards debt payments. He must not have taken me seriously because when I handed him an envelope of money for food expenses he said he was going to need a little more for the casino. I said, "NO WAY!" I think he was shocked because he didn't push it. He grab what little he did save and said he guesses he will have enough. Yup, I guess so!

I'm so glad I stood my ground! Hubby wants to have zero debt but is easily influenced to put our financial goals on hold so he/we can have fun. I've said no to planning a big summer vacation because paying for a trip now would mean extending our debt payoff timeline by two months or so. I use to run with his ideas of having a little fun back before we got serious about paying down our debt. I wish I would have recognized this as a problem sooner and maybe we would already be out of debt. I feel humble knowing that we (or maybe just I) are learning a lot of little lessons during this debt payoff processes. I feel it will help us never fall back into debt again. :rock:


Last edited by Pisces1305 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:48 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
Starting 2014 Balance:
CC: 10,055.51
PL: 4,115.00
Total: 14,170.51
Our personal loan is at 0% and we can skip payments if we are having a rough month. Therefore we are paying off our CC first.

January Progress:
CC: 9,214.18
PL: 3,915.00
Total: 13,129.18

February Progress:
CC: 8,002.29
PL: 3,715.00
Total: 11,717.29

I've been able to work extra hours. Hopefully I can continue to work some extra hours but I think things might slow up soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:25 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1749
You're making fine progress. Just as important, you have the right attitude. Never think of denying yourself something as deprivation. Think of it as something you're giving up in order to get something you want even more. Keep up the good work. Once you clear up the debt and start building wealth, watching the numbers grow can be very entertaining.


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
Thanks Vin Tek!

One of my financial New Year Resolutions (NYR) is to use coupons for grocery and drug store trips. (I know this is an obvious money saving tool but it's just not something I ever got into the habit of doing.) I HATE grocery shopping so I make 2 big trips a month.

Wanted to share my savings. The amounts below do not include savings from using my store's "bonus" or "plus" card. It's the amount I saved from simply clipping coupons.
Grocery Store
$28.68 in coupons (paid $161.87)
Drug Store
$37 in coupons (paid $39.12)
That's $65.68 saved for just clipping out some pieces of paper! I'm so happy!

My other financial NYR is to eat out less. Eating out for us is Hubby picking up something on his way home from work. We use to eat out all the time (say, 4 times a week). My goal is for us to eat out 4-5 times a month. We've already eaten out 4 times this month. Ugh! |( I keep reminding myself that this financial diet takes time. I can't undo years of bad habits overnight. I'm going to go plan our dinner menu for the next 11 nights.


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:37 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:14 pm
Posts: 120
Pisces1305 wrote:
I keep reminding myself that this financial diet takes time. I can't undo years of bad habits overnight.


Yup. Exactly that. Going old turkey is really tough, and you may be prone to slip right back into your old habits. Weening yourself slowly will be much easier.

Fellow Pisces here :) Good work so far, and keep it up! If you slip up a few times... oops! Have it be a lesson and get right back to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:13 am 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 960
Pisces1305 wrote:
Prior to this year we didn't have any financial goals other than a goal to pay off our one and only credit card. Our first CC bill that we didn't pay in full was back in Aug 2008. $1000 balance turned into $2000 which turned in to $20,000 (5.24% APR) at its peak. All along we kept saying, "Our goal is to pay off our debt." We were young with no direction, scared/embarrassed to ask for help, and had no idea what we were doing.

Hubby does not have much involvement in our finances. He admits he is horrible with money and wants no involvement. He gets a weekly cash allowance (given to him weekly so he doesn't blow it all at once) and sticks to that amount. He is a happy man and we no longer argue about misc credit/debit purchases.

We started 2013 with $18,000 in CC debt. We ended 2013 with $10,000 in debt. Writing that down make me feel so proud. I didn't think to set any 2013 goals - wish I would have. We also have a personal loan of $3915 at 0% (no other terms).

Our 2014 goals:
1.) CC debt free at the end of May (this will be a stretch but very possible with a few small windfalls headed our way)
2.) Pay off personal loan at the end of August
3.) Pay for Christmas using our SF
(A Christmas SF was the first SF I ever had back before I knew what a SF was. As a teenager I would put $25 a month in an envelope and buy my family gifts with that money in December. I was so proud of myself for thinking of this and never felt guilty spending that money. I stopped doing this at some point so using a SF to pay for Christmas gifts this year will feel like I've come full circle.)
4.) Have 1.5 months worth of income saved in an EF by the end of 2014.

------ EDIT 02/18/2014 ------
I wanted to modify my 2014 Financial Goals with firm numbers:
1.) CC payoff by end of May '14
2.) PL payoff by end of Aug '14
3.) $825 in Christmas Sinking Fund at beginning of December '14
4.) Save $10K in EF by end of '14
5.) Save $725 for medical expenses (might be able to defer amount to 2015 when FSA will be fully funded again - it's a unique situation)


Welcome to the forums!

Congrats on eliminating $8k in CC debt in 2013! That’s fantastic! :clap:
Those are good goals. Good call in making your goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive. :clap:

I know it is a long list and you took a look but consider the other tips in this thread: Tips to Save Money

Yes, eating out can be a big expense. Buying groceries in bulk and cooking/eating at home is a good idea.

1. What kind of income(s) do you guys have? In other words what is your total monthly income after taxes?

2. What are your total monthly expenses?

3. Perhaps Hubby could postpone any future vacation until you guys pay off your debts?

4. What are your long-term financial goals? Do you want to buy a house? Have kids? What are you investing in for retirement?

Welcome again... :)

_________________
~ Eagle


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:39 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
Eagle,

I’ve started to write a responds back to you several times but had to stop for various reasons, mainly because my toddler starts tugging on my pant leg as soon as I sit at the computer, LOL. Thanks for your support! Having people rooting for me keeps me motivated. We are in the homestretch towards become debt free and recently it seems harder to stay focused. But I’m determined to become debt free.

I appreciate the money saving tips. I keep going back to the thread and grab ideas that might work for us, thanks!

To answer your questions:
1 & 2.) I’ve been working on a new, more organized, and detailed budget. This month was the first time we used it and so far so good.

3.) Ugh, Hubby and I are in the midst of a tense vacation themed conversation at the moment. It’s been going on for a week or so. Hubby would rather pay the Visa off then go on a trip. He has no problem with postponing the PL payoff to go on a trip since that loan is at 0%. I get that we are all stir crazy since we have been indoors since October and just got hit with ANOTHER snowstorm with more snow coming next week, I just would rather wait until after the two debts are paid off to go. Ideally I would rather wait until we have a sufficient vacation fund before going somewhere. My “meeting in the middle” proposal is to go when the Visa and PL are paid off and when we have some money saved for a vacation. We can pool together money from gift & prize funds we have stashed away to make up the difference. It’s not what I want to do but this is a marriage and I can’t just stomp my feet until Hubby gives into what I want.

4.) Our “Ultimate Long Term Goals” are:
- 6 to 12 months EF
- 20% gross income to retirement
- Funding 529(s)
- Payoff home
In the short term, we will need to move for various reasons. We are not in our forever home right now so we are not at all focused on paying off this home. However we did do a no cost refi last year and saved $200/mo! After we reach this year’s financial goals, we plan to hoard most our cash for a down payment over the next few years. I would like to mortgage our next home over 15 years with 20% down. We are also planning to expand our family. This means saving for a maternity leave again since I will not receive any disability payments or paychecks. We plan to use the same financial plan we used for baby #1 which worked out well for us. We meet with our financial advisor next week to discuss boosting or retirement investments. These last few topics are sure to pop up again towards the end of this year!

Again, thanks for keeping me motivated!


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:59 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
March Progress:
CC: 7,227.26
PL: 3,515.00
Total: 10,742.26

I was able to work about 2 extra hours. Not a lot but every little bit counts.
Just yesterday my boss informed me that I'm about to become very busy soon. I'm not looking forward to the stress but I won't mind the extra cash!

When we get our tax return, half will be put towards our savings and the other half towards our debt.

Two things that will change with our income:
1.) I had to change my deductions from "married" to "married, but withhold at higher single rate." Our accountant informed us we will end up owing on next year's taxes if we don't make a few changes - that being one of them.
2.) We are increasing 401k contributions.
I know my paychecks will be less but it's a good thing and we will still be able to make progress on our goals.

I had a nice chat with our financial adviser last week and he was very encouraging saying we are making great progress. We are meeting next week to discuss how much more we can contribute to our retirement but still stay on track to meet our short/long term goals. This meeting is sort of like prep work for our annual financial review in June. For once, I'm looking forward to going to these meetings!


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:51 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
I caught myself the other day on a mini spending spree! It was completely automatic and I bought a few things online without even thinking about it. How did this happen? I spent $142 before I stopped. My little Pumpkin is about to change clothing sizes. She hit a growth spurt and things just aren't not fitting her right. I slowly pile up on larger size clothes so that it isn't such a shock to our wallet when Pumpkin reaches the next size. But this time, my stash is short PJs and a swimsuit. I tried the local resale shop but they didn't have the things I needed in the correct sizes. So I went shopping online. I feel I got deals and paid less than I would at the retail store. I can't get over how automatic my brain functioned. I know it sounds weird but looking back, my brain was in a haze as I shopped around for deals, buying more than I needed. I got the PJs and swimsuit I need but then also ended up with baby shampoo, misc feeding supplies, a few household items...darn you Amazon! I plan to return the non essential baby items. It might cost me $6 to ship $50-60 of stuff back. I have cash in hand for the items charged to our Visa so we aren't accumulating debt - I wish I would have been more careful.

I also found myself excited when the packages arrived at my doorstep. Like the feeling I would get as a kid at Christmas opening gifts.

Any advice on breaking those bad spending habits?


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:14 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:14 pm
Posts: 120
Ugh, been there. It's far too easy to shop online, especially on Amazon. They have everything! Two bits of advice that I (try to) follow so I don't overspend...

1) I leave things in my cart overnight and revisit the next day to actually order, WITHOUT browsing around other items. Just straight to the cart. This lets me see what I wanted to buy and forces me to rethink the things in my cart. I come to realize that I need some of those things, but I don't need all of those things.

2) I don't keep my credit card information on Amazon (or any site). Though the reason should be for the safety precautions, I tend to think about what I'm purchasing more if I manually type in my information. It's an extra step which gives me time to think about what I'm buying.

Don't be discouraged, we all slip a little. At least you can return the things you don't need, even if it is for a price. Just keep going and keep your chin up!


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:49 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
Lis, thanks for the advice! We are Prime members so the free shipping is very tempting when deciding to make a purchase. Amazon has a Wish List I just started to utilize. I will also remove my CC info off the site.

I'm still kicking myself from purchasing the non necessities because now I need a new baby gate and have to wait until next month when we will have the funds to buy one. :doh:
In the past I would have just charged the gate to our Visa and worry about paying for it the following month, but now we wait until we have money in hand, make the online purchase, and then put the cash in an envelope to be deposited into the bank for the visa payment.


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
I had a very motivational meeting with our financial adviser (FA) today! This is the first time in years that I met with him and actually felt productive on our financial quest. In the past, we always went to our FA meetings with our tail between our legs because we always were carrying around this credit card debt. We never were really listening to his advice or outlook on things since we thought we were screwed with no way out ("can't see the forest for the trees"). I'm so glad we took control and are 5 payments away from being CC and PL debt free! Aside from building our EF and incrementally boosting our retirement to 15%-20% our big goal is saving for a down payment on a home for a possible 2018 move. Here are the numbers:
$18,000 EF
$26,000 Down payment (10%)
$15,000 "Under water" on our current home when we go to sell - estimate
$59,000 Goal for 2018 move
I wanted to post this because I can see myself revisiting this post years from now (hopefully still an active member) and feeling proud of all the progress I've made.

Feeling very motivated! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:59 pm
Posts: 41
We dodged a bullet this weekend. Hubby, 31, threw out his back! :swear: How? By stepping out the back door onto the patio. Yup...just like that! After we determined that he did not want to make a ER/Urgent care visit, we got him into bed and my mind started racing. How bad is this? Did he rupture a disc? Is it a pulled muscle? Is it something bad? Surgery bad? O...M...G..., we don't have short-term disability for him! If he can't work until his long term disability kicks in, we are so royally screwed! :sweat:

After seeing a doctor, it was determined to just be a pulled muscle. He will be fine. Anywhere from days to weeks for a full recover. He missed one day of work and was able to return to work this afternoon. This could have been really bad. We are putting all our eggs into one basket to get this debt paid off quickly that we could have just ended up right back into debt if we lost his pay.

I'm so thankful that Hubby will be okay and that we won't be taking on massive debt. This experience quickly put so many things into perspective. Part of me wishes time would fly by a little faster so that we can get our debt paid off and our EF built up.


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 Post subject: Re: Pisces' 2014 Goals
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:43 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:53 am
Posts: 22
I am SO with you on wanting time to fly so we get this debt paid off! I have days where I just sit around all antsy wanting to look ahead to when we will be done. Glad you guys ended up alright in the end. Any chance you'll keep a slightly larger emergency fund around in case of a rainy day (or month)? Or just keep up the good work as you are?


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