The holidays are officially over. And I don’t know about you, but we had a blast! And though I’m sad to see them go, I am pretty excited to get on with the New Year and set some awesome new goals to work toward. Since this is my first official goal-setting post on iHeartBudgets, let’s go over a little of my background, and how we got to where we are today.
We Had Some Debt
Built into my budget, we put together some major goals based on Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps program for paying off debt and building wealth. When we combined our finances in marriage, we had a total of $42,851.31 in debt! (You can read about our debt payoff story here). Getting into that debt was mostly caused by student loans, and a few thousand dollars on credit cards. Lucky for me, my brother-in-law dropped the Dave Ramsey CD in my lap just before marriage, so we were able to get on a budget, build our small emergency fund, and then start aggressively tackling our debt.
We Bought A House
In the midst of our debt-killing rampage, Michelle and I saw an opportunity to get ourselves into a home sooner than anticipated. And though I definitely recommend buying a home when debt free, I also recommend analyzing every situation individually, and ultimately, your financial decisions should be based on your priorities. We decided that we would put the debt payoff on hold and save for a down payment. And soon after, we bought our first home!
We Got Pregnant!
I know, I know, I didn’t get pregnant, Michelle did! But it was pretty exciting nonetheless! And just like that, we were looking at a countdown clock for when we would lose about 35% of our income. WOOOOHOOOOO! I kicked my tail into high gear and started doing whatever I was able to do to make up the lost income as fast as possible. I became a tax professional, started an online business and pursued every promotion opportunity I could at work. As God would have it, I got promoted the day Michelle left work, I started preparing taxes, and have started to make a few dollars online as well, which has put us in a stable (though tight) financial position. As I’ve said previously, though it seems like we don’t have enough money, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That brings us up to date at the iHB household. We’ve definitely had an adventure, and I’m excited to start a new chapter in 2013. Michelle and I recently put together our 2013 budget, and we have chatted a bit about our financial goals for the year. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
Pay Off The Student Loans: We’ve just been paying down the regular payments on these since we moved into our home and then had a baby, but now that things have settled and we have a more clear financial picture, I want to throw every extra nickel and dime at these things until they’re gone! I’m hoping to put up a debt payoff tracker on the site so you can follow along too! We have $14,406 to go, and though this is an extremely aggressive goal, I figure we shoot for the stars, and if we don’t quite make it, we’re still in orbit somewhere around Jupiter…(I don’t get metaphors sometimes…)
Start A College Fund: Our little man is now a 1-year-old (both his birthday and mine were on Monday), and we’re in a more stable financial position, so I want to start throwing money into a college savings fund, starting this month. I still need to research 529 vs. ESA, but we will definitely start funding this. I want to put away $200 a month in this account, because after 17 years if growing at 8%, it could be around $85,000 for college, which would rock! Plus, tuition is RI-DONK-ULOUS, so we need to start now and let compounding interest do its thing for as long as possible.
Double My 401k Investment: Right now, I am only putting away 3% of my income, and I want to invest up to the full 6% match my work offers. I hope not to see a difference in my take home pay due to my raise and the fact that it’s pre-tax money. I should be able to do this one easily.
- UPDATE: I have just completed this task! Now one thing I really need to do is find a financial planner to help make sure I’m putting my money in the right locations and not just dumping it into lame funds! Anyone do free financial reviews? 😉
Do Some Home Projects: Michelle wants chickens, I want a bigger concrete patio, and we have a ton of ugly bushes to rip out this year. Hoping to do this for minimal cost and make our awesome backyard even more…uhh…awesomer!
The Debt Movement
Goals are an amazing tool to help focus your time and energy into achieving what’s important to you, and not wasting time on those “other” things. One of the best goals you can have for 2013 is to pay off as much debt as possible. Whether that’s student loans, credit cards, personal loans or rockin’ the mortgage payoff, killing debt is a ton of fun, and puts you in the best possible position to really build long-term wealth! Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents is putting on another HUGE movement to help people get out of debt quickly and start keeping more of their money. His goal: $10,000,000 paid off in just 90 days! As someone with $14k in student loans still hanging around my house, eating my leftovers and getting their muddy feet on the couch, I’m joining the movement as motivation to kick those loans to the curb and enjoy being debt-free!
If you want 2013 to be the year where you finally get fed up with being in debt and feeling like you just can’t get ahead, consider joining me. First, I suggesting getting on a budget so you can plan your money before each month begins. Then, head on over to the Debt Movement website and signup to join the challenge. And if you need any further motivation, Jeff and his team are giving away over $15,000 in debt scholarships to help pay down your debt!!! So, whaddya say? You wanna join me and start paying off debt with the quickness? Awesome, let’s do this!
Comments: What are YOU goals for the year? Are you going to start investing more, pay off debt, buy a yacht, front row seats to a One Direction concert? I want to hear what YOU have going on in 2013