Very inspiring to hear everyone's goals! We are in a crunch this year paying for daycare for two, so we're in a holding pattern of trying not to go deeper into debt :(
Some goals that would help:
1. build back and maintain our $1000 emergency fund
2. Pay down credit card debt (~$2000) and dental bills.
3. start our own health savings fund (change in insurance due to DH's job switch means more out of pocket expenses) - Tax refund will likely get this rolling.
4. stick to budget!! For some reason I find this really hard. I've been using Mint, but since we use a local credit union, downloaded transactions are categorized weirdly. I'll look at some of the options here. The idea of carrying cash around is a bit terrifying for me (in my chronically sleep-deprived state) but I'll give it a look.
Mama to DD1 (5/09) and happy crawler DD2 (11/12) and wife to DH
I read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover in 2011. Since then we have been following the steps listed, with some modifications. I like the "recipe" format of the book: step 1, step 2, etc. I must say, taking control of our finances has been one of the most empowering things I have ever done! It was scary at first to take a close look at everything, because it makes you realize how out of control things are. But, he spells out a nice plan to get yourself started.
I have also used Mint for a couple years now, but I also use Penzu. It's really a journal writing site, but I have documented our actual monthly expenditures since 2011. I find this a little easier to look at for older info, but it's probably not the best format for this purpose. The process has prompted us to look very closely at all of our monthly bills. We ditched cable among other things (don't miss it! stream Netflix, etc). We also pretty much stopped using credit cards, even though we were paying off the balance in total every month. We realized that using a credit card still encourages you to spend a little more every month than you actually take in. We do still use bank cards though as this is money we already "have".
I'm now actually learning a little about investing in general. It is mystifying and definitely not my area of expertise, but I'm learning little by little! I recommend that people check out the Bogleheads website and books!
I've been following a lot of financial threads on these forums and they've been really helpful!
We've taken a lot of steps this past year to cut costs. No cable just netflix, we use cleaning rags instead of paper towels, growing a garden, thrift shopping, trying to do some car repairs using youtube videos although sometimes we still had to take it to a mechanic . Anyways I keep track of all the monthly bills in a notebook and it has worked great for me for the predictable monthly bills. We don't really have a budget for everything else and I feel like a lot of money is flying away some months, and sometimes I've taken money out of savings to cover unexpected stuff.
So here are my goals:
Build our savings/emergency fund (it is looking sad)
Make a budget for all the extra stuff and keep to it!
Anyone have any tips on how to keep track of the little extras?
For 2014 to start with I need to be more conscious about our spending, making a budget and STICKING to it!! We've had some unexpected medical bills come up quite frequently lately for dd and I need to get a handle on that now that they're starting to come in.
My financial goals for 2014:
- Work on paying debts (medical bills and getting some paid down on student loans)
- Replenish our EF that seems to always dwindle once we get it
- BIG GOAL: Buy a house! This will also be a move for us as well since our area is drastically bad for our family.
To make this happen I need to make a list of the small debts and work up a plan to start paying everything off. I'll be able to budget better once I get final word on what's happening with DH's job (I mentioned on other threads he's trying for a promotion that would up our income but we're unsure yet). The EF I'll continue adding to as I can. For the house and move it's still up in air as to where or how much it's going to cost. We're still doing analysis on this issue. Luckily we have a ton of stuff to sell and I think that plus tax return will give us a nice chunk for dp/savings/whatever. We have 10 acres to sell as well and I really hope it sells. My goal is actually to hopefully sell the property plus tax returns, selling our other stuff (including a couple of larger items), and whatever I can save the next few months too will give us enough to BUY a house outright. This will vary depending on how much we collect and housing costs in the exact area we decide to move but I think it's doable. Actually... being able to do this is going to be a key factor in where to move. I've struggled for so long not much else would be better than having a paid for home even if it isn't quite ideal or needs work. I'm hopeful but we'll see how the year works out.
Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD plus and spending my days
|Frugality , Finances|