In 2013, one of the sections I was unable to complete was my Financial goals. Granted, it was due to unforeseen and unavoidable reasons but it was left uncompleted nonetheless. This year, that means that I must take four additional steps to my standard two in order to complete my Financial section.
Some of those steps are easy, such as Maintaining a Budget. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm sure to see some goals become standard as I continue The Progressive Planner. This is sure to be one of them. My husband, Aaron, and I have already created a 2014 Budget. With his new job and my income increase from last year, we actually have some amazing wiggle room and spending money despite saving like crazy and paying of loans. In addition, because we actually have a decent chunk of spending money, I do expect to see some of that wander into savings. Any additional savings we have will go straight to Aaron's student loans as well.
And that's another goal: Paying off 1/4th of Aaron's Student Loans. To begin the paying process, we've selected my husband Aaron's highest interest loan, which is currently held with Chase. We're matching Aaron's full monthly payments between Sallie Mae and Chase, and pouring it all into his Chase loan. While we won't be able to get it paid off on this plan until mid-2015, we'll make an impressive dent in it. And with the potential additional savings heading there, we might even see it paid off sooner!
In addition to paying off a chunk of his student loans, I'd like to also start building on our savings. I've called this Creating our Year 1 Savings, since I've stretched the plan over four to five years. This savings is for our future house! Seriously, I still get giddy saying that. Before Aaron and I managed to make a bit of a financial shift last year, the best projected date we had for potentially buying a house was 2026, three years after his loans should technically end. That would have Aaron and I nearing our 40's. And that was the best case scenario. Should we ever need to defer or change our payments, we could be looking at even longer. Sometimes, a house seemed like this absolutely impossible dream that we could never possibly see.
Now, a house looks not only clear and bright, but we might even be able to afford exactly the kind of house we want when it comes time. Should we not have the proper amount for a down-payment in four years, we plan to stay in the apartment one more year saving the money that would have gone into Aaron's loans plus our savings plan. That should be more than enough to get a decent house, have it properly inspected and repaired and move on in with a six-month savings should something happen job-wise. Boom!
Last year, I also had a section I called "Replace Items." These were things we desperately needed but could never afford to replace, such as the mattress Aaron's had for fifteen years (that was already used when he got it), and my brick of a craphole laptop. Seriously, lemon city. My digital camera was on the list as well, though we more than replaced it with an amazing Sony RX100 II. This camera is spectacular for it's amazing aperture and simple-to-use point-and-shoot flexibility while still being a DSLR. That means both Aaron and I can take good pictures with it, even though I have a background in photography and Aaron knows how to use a camera about as much as he knows how to draw a caricature. I really, really love that thing.
But I digress.
This year, we're looking towards different purchases, both of which are not replacements but entirely new items we don't own.
The first item is a New Dining Room Table. Once upon a time, when we lived in an apartment with a dining room, we owned one. When we moved to an apartment with a bar, I got rid of it. I don't really regret that. The thing was impressively heavy and bulky, and only sat two people. Good riddance! When we moved into the rental house, the house came with its own table. No need to buy one!
When we moved to our new apartment, we decided to make the dining room an office so I could have my spiritual room in the second bedroom. That was perfectly okay since we also had a bar. However, the bar stools are uncomfortable and some of my friends are unable to sit on them. In addition, we somehow grossly underestimated the size of our bedroom. The only things we have in that room are our bed and two night stands. We could easily fit our desks in there, which is exactly what I plan to do in 2014. Once that happens, we're getting a nice dining table to put in the kitchen.
This will also help with my overeating habit since I'll no longer be facing the kitchen. Booyah!
I'm budgeting $350 for a new dining room table and chairs. I know that seems low, but we're looking small and used. I'm certain I can clear it for that amount, if not less.
The second item I want to purchase is a Tent for Camping. We camped twice last year, once as a date and once for Midsummer. This year, I'd like to go camping more often. I really, really enjoyed it! And so did Artie, who is surprisingly an exceptional outdoor dog. Particularly since he's now on a regular flea, tick and heart worm pill, I feel a lot better taking him outside for extended periods of time. We'll have to stick to colder months as he's more a winter breed, which I don't mind that much, but I just remember the excitement and enjoyment he had last time we did take him. I want to give that to him again.
I'm also budgeting $350 for the tent. We may up that budget with a little money from Aaron's spending money. Sine the tent will have to be brand new, and I really want one that's easy to set up, waterproof and fairy sturdy for our straight line winds. Spaciousness really isn't important to me since it's just me, Aaron and Artie, who tends to sleep on my chest or legs. But I certainly don't want to wake up to a flood of condensation or the roof of it on my face if I can avoid it.
Finally, my last 2014 Financial goal is to begin Exploring Investment and Retirement Options for Freelancers and Independent Contractors. The bonus of working for yourself? You're your own boss and you set your own hours. Plus it pays pretty well too! The cons? No health insurance or retirement benefits. Bummer! While I now have health insurance through my husband (finally!), what if something happens and we lose that health insurance? Even more so, what happens when I get to a point where I'm unable to work? What if my vision goes or I develop psoriatic arthritis in my hands? Both are feasible. I can't work forever, no matter how much I love it. So to combat that, I'd like to research one investment or retirement option each month and begin one of those options by the end of the year. I don't know how many 25-year-olds are thinking about retirement, but my ISTJ mind says the sooner, the better.
So let's take a look at all of that information condensed into my goal chart for 2014:
Not too bad! Let's go ahead and look at what my monthly goal list template should look like for Finances:
FINANCIAL - 0% Complete
Research one investment or retirement option for freelancers. – 0/1 – 0% complete.
Make monthly additional payment for Aaron’s student loans. – 0% complete.
Make monthly savings deposit. – 0% complete.
Save for a new dining table. – 0/$350 – 0% complete.
Save for a new camping tent. – 0/$350 – 0% complete.
Maintain budget. – 0/x Days – 0% complete.
Some notes: None.
Two sections down, six to go!
Next time on The Progressive Planner:
My 2014 Health Goals.
Question for my readers:
What are your 2014 financial goals?