time to reassess and plan for the next goalI am in a really good, happy place right now. I met my goal, ahead of time (although still a little beyond what I had planned on), and now I need to reassess my progress made thus far, as well as set new goals for myself, for the next year. Here is what I accomplished this year, as well as what I think I need to work on:
*Starting in late February, I decided I needed to make this the year that I got rid of all my credit card debt. It was only bringing me down and I wasn't ever going to get ahead if I kept floating on the river of denial. I created a spreadsheet that listed all my credit accounts, including car loans and the computer, and how much my minimum payments were. Taking this information, I began at the top of the list (lowest debts were listed the highest) and started whittling away, by sending as much money as possible to each debt, each pay period. In roughly 9 months (first payment toward this effort was made in March, and it's early November right now) I have eliminated 9 debts. The total of these debts was around 7-8k. I had a few additional debts that I eliminated previous to my concentrated effort.
What I need to work on: eliminating frivilous spending, wasting food (I rarely eat leftovers), limiting number of times we eat out, cutting back on electricity and heat consumption. Try to get Nick to quit smoking for good. Me - try to 'quit' soda, it's just as bad a habit as his. In addition, this was 'The Year of Debt Reduction', but 2006 is the 'Year of Weight Reduction.' I am saving up for a treadmill as we speak.
So what are my financial goals for 2006? Well, I am taking a running start obviously, and not waiting until then. It may be tough with the holidays right around the corner, but I'll see what I can do.
* Put at least $350 in savings each month. (*Update - I am not going to do this until the Grand Am loan is eliminated. Seems dumb to do it otherwise, because also when I pay off the Grand Am, I can drop it from my insurance, saving about $1100 a year. I will continue to put the $20 every pay day in ING, Emigrant, and now HSBC also until that time.)
* Eliminate the car loan for the Grand Am (this may be an easy goal if Barry somehow figures it all out and gets a loan to pay mine off). I am around $5300 right now.
* Reduce the Mustang loan by at least 8k. This seems like a big goal, I know, but I am actually shorting myself here. I am due a settlement that will be at least $6k and originally, I was going to put it in savings and leave it there. I've changed my mind, that is a dumb thing to do when I can be reducing debt. So for right now I am leaving this be - but I may adjust at that time to see if i can do anything additional.
* Seriously look into refinancing both vehicles. My credit has gotten better and I am definitely due a better rate than I currently have (about 12% on both).
* Right now I am contributing 10% to my 401k. I am going to leave that alone until I pay off the Grand Am, and then re-evaluate, maybe bump up just a bit more. I am also STILL waiting on paperwork from my financial advisor in regards to opening a Roth IRA. Maybe the mail wench has it?
* I had talked about moving within a year, buying a place of my own. That is not possible. Well, it might be, but it would be smarter for me to work on the debt I have now before I increase it with a mortgage payment. I am unfortunately not gaining any equity with my rent payments, but I am buying time. Nick's mother is a real estate agent, and she said in 2 years the market will probably cool down, as it has already started to.
*Increase my net worth by as much as possible. I really am leaving this open ended, because I know it will occur as I pay off this debt, but also I am not really sure if I should/can focus on that right now, until I meet the above goals.
These are my standing goals as of right now. Tweaking will probably occur along the way, as I grow and learn more in the pf world, but for now, these are it. If you have some good advice, I'd love to hear it.
Have a great day!