Happy New Year! This is going to be a great year.
You have to believe it to achieve it, right?
I love the newness and opportunity for a fresh start that a new year brings.
I’m excited for 2018, especially when it comes to our financial goals.
I get a little too excited to do our year in review financial statement. Yes, I know that makes me a huge nerd, but I’m okay with it. If you haven’t done one before be sure to check how and why to do a budget recap every year.
Last year was the first year we recapped our year in this format and also the first year we publicly stated our financial goals.
Our financial goals for 2017 were the following:
- Pay $20,000 towards student loan debt (we paid $8,206)
- Average $650 spending or less on food every month (average was $796/month)
- Average spending on home supplies and improvement at $75 or less a month. (instead our average was $298/month)
Well we didn’t do so well on those, but it was our first year with such specific financial goals. One thing I will do differently in 2018 is to input the monthly income and expenses on the yearly spreadsheet at the end of each month. This will help us to monitor how we are doing throughout the year rather than just at the end of the year. Similar to how we track our monthly expenses on our everydollar budget throughout the month, rather than just at month’s end.
Sample year in review budget form. All you have to do is change the expense and income categories to the same ones you use from Everydollar or whatever budgeting system you use.
I don’t want to make excuses for not reaching our 2017 financial goals, but upon reflection I can see where some issues were. As I have mentioned before, we are not crazy intense with our debt snowball like most Dave Ramsey fans. We have found a happy medium that allows us to enjoy some luxuries while also being aggressive with our debt. This does mean the student loan sticks around a little bit longer, but together Brian and I have decided we are okay with that trade-off.
Some of our luxuries this year included a family vacation to Disney World, a new television, a laptop, a new lawn mower, and a carpet cleaner. [I would argue the carpet cleaner and lawn mower were necessities since we needed to mow and clean our carpets. Oh yes, and I started used a new face care product. It is not cheap, but I have been very happy with the results. Definitely a luxury, because back in the days of law school when we were broke it wouldn’t have even been an option to buy anything other than Clean and Clear with a coupon. A perfect example of how our expenses rise as incomes rise.
In 2017 we did have more medical expenses than usual. Some of those needs will be ongoing, so we will be increasing our flex spending for next year. Our monthly budget will need to reflect more allocated for healthcare, but that’s part of life. Both girls also got to visit the ER for the first time in 2017, luckily nothing major, and both are fine.
While it appears on the surface that 2017 wasn’t great financially since we didn’t meet our goals, it still was a successful year. We still paid down the student loan debt by over $8,000. We reduced our spending on food by about $70/month. Our paid for cars only cost us $1100 in repairs, which includes regular oil changes. Have I mentioned recently how great it is to drive paid for cars? I love our 2005 and 2009 Toyotas.
In 2017 we also made less money because I was a full year at my new, lower paying job. A decision I have not regretted for even one minute. Money cannot buy happiness and the flexibility my new job provides is more important to me than the rate at which we pay down our debt.
A new year means new goals. It’s a great time to get a fresh start and try again. Brian and I reviewed our budget recap and discussed what our priorities this year would be. While he would like them to focus more on fun, I reminded him we need to stay focused on the debt snowball. We will try to balance out the fun and not so fun so everyone is happy.
I’d love to say our goal for 2018 is to pay off that pesky student loan, but unless there is a major change in our income that is not a feasible goal for 12 months from now. I believe in SMART goals so our goal needs to be attainable.
Our 2018 FInancial Goals
- Pay $20,000 towards student loan debt
- Average $700 spending or less on food per month
- Average $50 spending or less on toiletries per month
- Make a profit on Minutes with Meg