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goals for 2014

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have big financial/frugal goals for next year? We are planning on saving 20% of our current income towards an emergency fund & a deposit to buy a home! I am very nervous & trying to get everything planned out.


I am trying to find ways to make a little money, otherwise it probably won't happen! (I stay home and homeschool my kids) Next week I start working for a friend of mine a few hours a week doing general cleaning/tidying. It will help a lot, but I need to find more! Especially anything I can do while I have my kids with me, or while they are sleeping.


I also am going to cancel our landline :( save $45/m

& change car insurance companies, save $50/m 

I'm also looking into ordering some food in bulk through a local co-op 


Anyone else doing something like this?

post #2 of 34

We're working on paying off saving up a down payment for a home. I think we're going to try to save around 35%. I think it's going to take us 2-3 years to save up enough to feel comfortable buying.

I'm really bad about wanting to get takeout regularly, so if I can make an effort to cook more, then we will be much more likely to reach our goals.

post #3 of 34

i'm working to save for a down payment for a house also. i want 20% down but am only giving myself a yr to get it together.

i am hoping to get 30% of my income in savings and to have the down payment by next fall.

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 

We live in a really HCL area, so we are hoping to get the FHA Loan. We only need 3.5% down, so we are trying to save that plus a little extra in the next year. It would be so awesome to have 20% down, but it's hard to find anything under $400K here! Saving 3.5% will be hard enough. We had almost half of it this year but then had some big medical expenses, so now we have no savings but at least the medical bills are paid!


How do you guys track your budget? I just hand write it & track the amounts in each category. I am wondering if I should switch to a program or something. If I track it regularly and am somewhat obsessive with it I do better not spending!


We spend a lot on food, but now that my youngest is a little bigger I can cook more. Hopefully that will help! Luckily my Dh is not picky & brings his lunch to work every day.

post #5 of 34

In my fantasy world, I want to put away enough money for a down payment on a new (different) house, because when I consider the things we need/want to do to this house, I feel like we might as well just buy a house that has all that stuff and save ourselves the hassle :irked But we live in a very high COL-high property tax area too, and to move anywhere at this point would also mean spending a minimum of $400K. Realistically, that would mean putting something like $1,000 a month in the bank, and that's simply not possible right now *sigh*


Therefore, my actual goal for 2014 is to officially get 6 months of emergency funds in the bank. DH has a very variable income, so while we have money in savings, it always looks like a lot of money until he hits a few months with no commission. Then suddenly we're back to 3-4 months of savings. I want to get to a REAL 6 months--tucked safely away in an account that doesn't bounce around based on his paychecks. Thankfully we're about halfway there, and our tax refund should get us another chunk of the way, but we still have more belt tightening that can be done. 


We started managing our budget via Mint.com a few months ago. For a long time I was afraid to allow Mint access to my accounts, but it's been around awhile, and it's run by Intuit, the company that offers a major tax prep software program, so they should be pretty good about security by now. We never did well with our cash envelop budget--I was terribly at carrying cash, we never had small bills handy to break the money up in the envelopes, I was uncomfortable carrying enough cash to meet my needs, it was too easy for me to shuffle money around in the budget to overspend in some categories, etc. With Mint, we use our credit and debit cards for almost everything, and all transactions are downloaded directly into Mint (cash transactions get entered by hand). It's impossible to ignore even teeny transgressions when they show up in a big list on the screen for both of us to see! I think it's really helped us (ok, mostly me!) be more honest with ourselves about what we spend. For example, I tend to think we never really buy clothes, so I set a low monthly budget for that. Well…let's just say I was pretty wrong about that, and now I can see--very clearly!--how over budget I am in that category.


Anyway, I suggest trying Mint out. There are other options too--You Need a Budget, Pear Budget, etc., but IMO, Mint looked the easiest to use and felt the most secure. I was a little wary at first, but now I love it. The only down side is that you have to watch for duplicate transactions. For some reason credit card transactions randomly duplicate themselves (I noticed it this month when my statement closed--suddenly several duplicates popped up), but it's a small price to pay for the overall efficiency of it.

post #6 of 34

My big goal is to save the money to make some big repairs on our house - our roof and our furnace (and likely our cars) our all looking at the end of their lifespans.

post #7 of 34

i use the cash envelope system for my weekly expenses like gas, food, church and son's commision. the monthly bills are auto drawn on my checking. and i deposit everything else in the bank for that. at the end of the month i take any left over and deposit in the savings.

i find the cash system keeps me from over spending on food. I can't say "it is ok if I'm over a dollar or 2 because it is in the acct." instead i have to be under the amt i have with me. Makes me watch prices more.

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 

I had trouble with the envelope system, mostly because my Dh is not always good about keeping receipts & he does a lot of the grocery shopping. I think I will try Mint, I had looked at it before. Thanks for the advice!


I've had trouble in the past trying to get our grocery budget down. It seemed we'd do better one month but then our pantry would be empty & we'd make up for it the next month. We rarely eat out but sometimes p/u take out Mexican food or buy a frozen meal when on sale. We eat vegetarian & mostly GF so not many places to eat out at! The kids eat a lot of yogurt so I am going to try making it & see if that saves any money.


I have been selling little things on ebay, it doesn't make much but I think it helps me not spend money as easily. I'm trying to save enough in my paypal account for xmas gifts for the kids. I'm also trying to plan out the year and plan/save more ahead for holidays & birthdays,etc.

post #9 of 34

Well, I have many financial goals for 2014 - but probably the following are the most realistic:


Get the baby emergency fund fully funded (Dave Ramsey) at $1,000

Pay off debts to family and friends $3,000.   Ouch that's a lot!


I have a plan for the first goal - I get reimbursed for my travel for one of my jobs. I have been taking that money (it gives me $10-$30 here and there ) and using it to fund a christmas fund. Once the holidays are over, I can use that travel money for my baby emergency fund at least until August or so when I will need to use it again for christmas :-)


On the debts to family and friends - it actually is a couple of smaller debts that perhaps will seem more manageable if I attack them individually. Other than that, I don't really have a plan for this goal. I will post more if I get something more solid in the plan department.

post #10 of 34

Our big goals for 2014 are to get the BEF funded {$500} and to save enough to put in a new central a/c & furnace {probably $400 for the system used and another $700 to install}. And to have the property taxes saved up in advance for next year.

post #11 of 34

I do have a few financial goals for 2014. We are debt free (except for the house, working on that) and basically did Dave Ramsey's plan through BS3 (we have a 3-4 month emergency fund. 3 months at exactly our expenses now, 4 if we cut out the luxuries/non-essentials).


The issue is that I am unexpectedly pregnant and due in May. We were planning to be "done with one" and DH even had a referral to a urologist for the big V when we found out. We're excited now about this, but it wasn't part of "the plan". We still have everything from DD (who was a May baby, so if this one is a girl we wouldn't really need anything and if it's a boy we'd just need clothes).


Rambling aside (sorry), my goal is to increase the emergency fund as much as possible before the baby arrives (ultimate goal of 6 months expenses but I'm not sure if that's doable in 5 months). I just suddenly don't feel secure with "only" 3 months in there. Once that is done, we'd like to cash flow finishing off our basement to have a play room, guest bedroom and extra bathroom. Plus save up for a car replacement, both of our vehicles are working fine but are 7 years old so will probably need to be replaced in a few years.

post #12 of 34

my goal is to buy a house next yr. i have done baby step 1 and 2 so now i'm on bs3 the emergancy fund.i'm saving every penny i can putting 100/wk in my savings. I get a 100/m extra toward ins from my boss so that will also go into the acct. hoping to have the down payment in savings by may of 2014.

post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 

I joined Mint.com and so far I LOVE it! I think it will help make everything clearer. Good luck everyone! Save that $$!

post #14 of 34

Oh, I'm glad! Yeah, the chart-based visuals really make it easy to see where you are. I hope it continues to be useful!

post #15 of 34

Our big goal is to pay off the credit card - it's sitting at about 5k. If I'm lucky enough to get a bonus this year, that plus our tax return will probably pay that down by half. Then leaves about $200 a month in order to pay it off by the end of the year. If I keep the food budget and the random expenses down, that should be doable. Once the credit card debt is wiped out, we want to attack saving a down payment for a house in earnest. 

post #16 of 34

To buy our own homestead


We are renting now and I actually do love our house, but lately I want to be farther away up in the woods somewhere. They are calling me : ) We are looking at some lovely homes sort of casually now, and so when the new year comes (well, the summer of the new year) I want to start peeking around for a home. With woods and a barn....and I want to SAVE MONEY. Aside from house buyin' I want to stop all the lunches out/silly little trinket buying crap. 

post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 

Oh, I want a homestead too! Unless we move out of this area, it will be a little homestead:) We are renting a great place now, on an acre in the redwoods, but about half the property in the sun. It will be for sale in a couple years, but I don't think the house is the right set up & many things need to be done. Of coarse all we are finding in our price range will likely need a lot done. So hard to know what to do! We always debate moving elsewhere, but I love it here! 


I'm trying to be on a good budget this month & already feeling overwhelmed. I didn't budget anything for kids classes, it can come out of the "everything else" part of our budget, but its already a small amount. We homeschool through a Charter that pays for gymnastics and one other class, but there are so many awesome classes in this area! I keep reminding myself that we just need to be very thrifty for about a year to get to where we need to be. They are young (8 & 5) so I think it's not a big deal not having them in lots of activities, but I am feeling bad about it. 

post #18 of 34

Hoo boy.  Okay.  2014.  I want to get myself into a position where I'm not feeling constantly on the edge.  I have enough to pay bills, necessities, and activities for the kids...if I am very careful.  I am not very good at being 100% careful, so I want to be more disciplined in 2014.  No extras that aren't budgeted for, and staying within the exact numbers of the budget. 


I am anticipating a couple of large-to-me windfalls sometime this year that will allow me to have a cushion in my account so I'm not always worried about bouncing something or stressed if my paycheck is late.  Ideally I'm hoping like to have the amount of one check (that's half a month's pay) in there as "savings" or "overdraft" or "buffer" or whatever you want to call it.  I just need to hold it together until that happens (might be April or May).


I want to come up with the $500 I need to get a secured credit card so I can rebuild my credit (after divorce-foreclosure-bankruptcy) to the point where I can get a mortgage and buy my house.  It's a challenging goal, but this year I am going to figure out my plan to make that happen, with a realistic timeframe for when it will be possible.  My parents own the house I live in, so I can buy it "whenever" a bank will lend to me, but I'm mindful that they need me to take over the mortgage as soon as I can.  And I hate being dependent on them in this way or any way.


I resolve not to whine about my situation (except maybe here, LOL) -- it's tight, and it's frustrating, and challenging, and stressful, and I wish it were different, but it is what it is.  I am able to stay on top of my bills, or if I get behind, it's temporary -- and perhaps even strategic -- and I can usually get back on track within a few months.  I have what I need, the kids have what they need, we have a rich life, we have healthy food and a warm house, and they are able to do activities that they love in addition to just living life.  We have plenty of stuff -- craft supplies, clothes to grow into, holiday decorations, kitchen and gardening tools, books, musical instruments, bicycles, a good sewing machine. There is no "extra" money, but there is enough.  I need to remember that this is a Really Great Thing and I don't need more than this.  No matter what the mainstream marketing machine tries to get me to believe.


I resolve to cut back on the things that are not essential and/or not good for me.  I also resolve to better embrace the things that are free and are good for me!  Like homegrown greens and running for exercise.


I want to do better to not waste food and make use of everything we have to the fullest.  I want to cook a bit more frugally and pantry-based.  I have lots of beans and grains that need eating and rotating, and I want to do more with that.


I want to find more homegrown solutions -- grow more of my food, repair vs. replace, borrow vs. buy.


I want to relax and breathe and appreciate what I have more deeply and fully.

post #19 of 34
Thread Starter 

worthy- We also went through Bk & foreclosure, It has been 3.5years since the BK. I had one credit card with no balance (and low limit)that was not affected by the BK, so I use it for gas and pay it off each month & it has really built my credit. My dh did not have a card, we were planning on doing a secured card for him but they all had yearly fees & I just couldn't do it! About 2 years after the BK we were able to get a low limit cc for him with no yearly fee & no deposit. I think it was worth the wait! We pay it off each month. I never want to play the CC game again! The only debt I plan on having again is a mortgage:)


We are really trying to buckle down to save for a deposit on a house. Our budget is going to be pretty tight, I feel like we can do it but we are going to have to be 100% on track! I got an unexpected medical bill from my DS2's ER visits last summer. I had already cleaned out our savings with his medical expenses last year & was not expecting a bill 6m later! Luckily it's only $600 & I'm going to get on a payment plan, but it tightens each month up a little! 


Let's all hope for a healthy 2014 & no ER/hospital visits!!!

post #20 of 34

I need to budget for some minor repairs to the condo. yes we rent but the landlord does not make reapirs. (rent is very low for the area and I dont not want to push the issue).  Tihs wekeend was a new toilet seat, air filter and weather stripping.  Yeah under $40 but still.  Next are new patio screens, a working ceiling fan in the master and possible dishwasher and stove based on the scratch and dent place prices.  also my laptop is 5+ years old and barely holding on.


All this needs to happen on little income.  I'm going to try to go back to work this sememster but if it makes be crazzy again i've messed myself up and not made progress so its a balancing act of working and money.


We need a bit of furniture and storage items.


no hurry as i said in a previous thread.  I know the lease can be renewed annually now so Im more apt to make changes in my favor since we plan on staying for the long term.


the huge goal is to get back to work and not freak out again.  income is critial at this point.  even workjing 2-3 days a week would be a huge imporvement to the checkbook.

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