So I finally finished setting up a Vanguard account this week. Considering I put this as a “short term” goal back in July, it was a well overdue accomplishment.
Now that I’ve gotten that one checked off, I figured it was high time to look back at the rest of the goals I set for myself. From here on out, I plan on doing a goal check in once a month.
Short term goals:
- Call USAA to see if we can get better insurance rates. This is one of the few bills in my husband’s name, so I need to get that information from him still.
- Open up a separate credit card for work purchases. The travel hacking episode on the FIRE Drill Podcast has me convinced its time to start saving money with travel rewards. I think I’ll get started with a Chase card soon, but I don’t expect to ever take it to the extreme some people do.
- Find an affordable dental vet option for our dogs. Priority now is making sure our dog is healthy in general, so the dentist is on the back burner for now.
- Move my husband’s TSP and my old job’s 401k to a new account. Hooray! With my newly opened Vanguard account, I sent off the paperwork to transfer the funds from my old side hustle on Monday. The money should be there any day now and will be in a much better account from here on out.
- Open up a new IRA. The above mentioned Vanguard account! Next step is getting my husband to set one up as well.
- Determine FI milestones for our own life. Haven’t even started this. Whoops.
- Track husband’s work tools/clothes diligently. This one has been easier because the tool buying has slowed down for now since he’s mostly been running the job this time and not doing the labor part of the project.
- Pay off remaining $4,950 on our real estate investment. We still owe $4,782 on this ($400 paid but it’s also added interest during this time). Ouch. I blame this on our crazy unexpected bills as of late including $3000 in vet bills on our one dog and to put down our (very old) ferret.
- Start next real estate investment. This will start sometime this winter with $2,200 up front, so I’ve kept that money set aside separate from our emergency fun, which is good, because we had to use those funds recently. The upcoming investment is an amazing opportunity through work and one I refuse to give up because we don’t have the cash up front to fund. Hence the separate place for this money.
- Research and decide on a 529 plan for our son. I think we’ve decided NOT to open a 529 for him at this time and would rather keep our contributions to his education more flexible. If you feel super strongly about 529 plans, please do convince me they’re worth it.
- Be intentional about charitable giving. This one has been very successful this year. As I talked about a little earlier, the more I think about our finances, I realize how lucky we really are and want to share that with others. I expect to end the year with about 2% charitable giving, which is considerably higher than previous years. I’m a bit embarrassed how focused I’ve been on our own finances in the past without giving a lot of thought to others.
- Spend more weekday quality time with my son. We’ve continued to ride the bus home together on Tuesday afternoons. I’ve slowed the return trip home to make it more of a fun adventure together, so we head to the library, check out Goodwill, go to the park, or get ice cream before we catch the second bus home.
- Continue running to work on Wednesdays. Check. I ran again this morning. I was really not motivated though and had to keep hyping myself up to keep running and not just hop on the bus the rest of the way. Saving the $2.75 bus fare was just enough motivation to let the bus pass me by.
While writing down goals is definitely a good first step, I mostly wrote them and forgot about them. From here on out, I’m going to make sure these stay front and center. While we definitely aren’t there yet, I would like to get to a 50% savings rate, and these goals will help us along that path.
And fingers crossed, no more crazy expenses. Since I wrote my first goal post, we’ve had something like $8,000 of unexpected / rare expenses.
Ouch. The good news is, when we get to a 50% savings rate, we’ll be able to cash flow even those months without dipping into our emergency fund. And that sounds like an awesome place to be.