Now that we are back from our trip to Hawai‘i, I figure it’s time to do my monthly update on our finances. I originally wrote down goals back in July, but I only started looking at it monthly in October when I realized I had completely ignored the goals after I wrote them. In order to be successful, I need to keep track more regularly, so h ere’s where we are at compared to last month:
Short term goals:
1. Call USAA to see if we can get better insurance rates. I still need to get on this. Any suggestions for somewhere we might get a better rate? USAA does our home, car, and life insurance currently so we get a group discount on them.
2. Open up a separate credit card for work purchases. After I wrote about choosing to use our emergency fund, we had a few more unexpected expenses, and I got cold feet and decided to open a new credit card instead for 15 months zero interest (and a free balance transfer). I decided I would rather have more cash on hand and spread the high bills from the last few months out over a year or so. We will pay this off 100% before the interest charge kicks in.
I plan on paying $500 a month for 10 months, which will pay off the new card 5 months before it would start accruing interest. This wasn’t my favorite choice I’ve ever made, but I would rather keep that $5000 additional in cash in case we ever truly needed it.
I still do plan on opening a travel rewards card, but I still need to do a bit more research before I pick one. Our Alaska Airlines card has treated us very well so far, and thanks to those miles, we paid just $98 out of pocket for 4 round trip tickets to Hawai‘i. That said, we would like to take another plane trip in the next year for sure, and even work expenses won’t be enough to cover another round trip flight for all of us with just the existing card, hence the plan for a new travel card with lots of bonus miles.
3. Move my husband’s TSP and my old job’s 401k to a new account. I thought this was taken care of, but my side hustle had a very strange retirement account set up, so it was only partially transferred to my new Vanguard IRA. The rest I received as a check and will need to be deposited into a new Roth IRA (which has now been set up but I still need to transfer the money). Frustrating, but I will be glad when it’s taken care of and earning more than the 2% it’s been at in the old plan.
4. Finish out “No” Spend November within my budget of $1500. We did a great job keeping things reasonable while we were in Hawai‘i and shouldn’t spend much this week since it’s a Thanksgiving and we don’t host. I’m planning to keep this up in December as well. As we get better at this, I’d love to shrink this number even more. Cooking low cost meals will continue to be key here.
5. Hand make the rest of our Christmas presents. While I started making Christmas presents back in July and have continued working on them since then, I still have some amount left to do. I may have a little but left to spend out of pocket, but I’d really like to stick to 100% home made / cooked / grown presents this year (plus a few experience gifts – like the movie theater tickets I got through credit card rewards).
1. Determine FI milestones for our own life. I decided I need to first track our expenses 100% to determine an exact FI number and then I can set up milestones from there. We’ve always just worked from a “spend less than you make” mentality (and “pay yourself first” when I was paying off my student loans), but I think we will be able to save more next year with more structure.
2. Pay off remaining $4,782 on our real estate investment. We paid off $646.09 this month, so we now owe $4,135.91.
3. Be intentional about charitable giving. I’ve slowed down on this one for now while we pay off the 0% vet bills etc.
4. Save half our income. This one is pretty self explanatory. We saved about 22% last year, so it will be a really big goal to get to 50%, but not impossible. I will be very very proud of us if we reach this goal.
What are your big financial goals heading into 2018?