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Our Only Goal for 2014

  January 21

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goal for 2014Last year, I had all sorts of financial resolutions, but this year I only have one. Before I tell you my one and only goal for 2014, here’s a quick recap of what I wanted to do in 2013 and whether or not I accomplished the goal:

1. Significantly Reduce Our Dependence on Student Loans – PASS

Last year, I was able to send $13,000+ back to our student loan provider. Those loans would have accrued interest for at least a few more years, so I could have easily saved us $25,000 off of our final loan amount.

2. Open an IRA – PASS

I opened my first IRA in January, and just a few days ago, I maxed that baby out. $5,500 saved for retirement in my first year of having the account. Obviously the goal is to save much more, but given our tight budget, I’m proud of this one.

3. Track All Spending – PASS-ISH

I tracked all my spending through July. Then I kind of fell off the wagon of life during the first trimester of my pregnancy and didn’t do anything extra. I picked it back up again in October and we’ve been going steady since then.

4. Pay $800 a Month Towards My Student Loans – Meh, FAIL

I did this for several months, even sending as much as $1,200 during two of the months of 2013, but as soon as that positive preggo test came in August, I dropped this down to $200 a month

5. Grow the Emergency Fund to $10,000 – FAIL-ISH

I really don’t want to count this as a fail because I have $3,000 in my emergency fund and $10,000 in the babies’ fund. However, given that I will probably use the baby fund over the next few months here, I probably can’t count that towards the e-fund.

6. Continue to Fill General Savings Funds – PASS

I was really happy with how much I saved in various accounts. I filled up a large moving fund and a vacation fund in 2013, and I’m really glad I had them both!

My 2014 Goal

So, I said I only had one goal this year, and it’s true. Big, financial goals are great, but I have none for right now.

All I want to do is maintain.

I want to maintain the emergency fund so that we don’t have to dip into it. I want to max out my IRA again, but I won’t beat myself up if I can’t. I just checked my credit score, which is a great thing to do at the beginning of every year, and it’s still excellent, so I don’t want to mess that up either.

With two little ones on the way, it’s more important than ever that I don’t go back to old habits. If I mess up my credit score, I won’t be able to get a good interest rate on a new-to-me car in the next few years or be able to apply for new airline points credit cards like Aeroplan credit cards to travel with. There are, of course, more important things in life than traveling, but again I’m going to try to maintain our current lifestyle by sneaking in at least one short weekend trip somewhere in 2014 – probably back home to New Orleans for FinCon. 🙂 Oh, and I also don’t want to get back into credit card debt. It was a pretty long road getting out of it, and I don’t want to go back there.

I also haven’t figured out what to do about our student loan situation for this year. With two kids, we are eligible to take out quite a bit for living expenses. Although I am working really hard, there is a lot of pressure to do well, and having my entire family’s well being rely on my blog income is pretty overwhelming and volatile. So, I might take out the loan but then put it away in a high yield savings account and just see how it goes. I can always send it back like I did in 2013 or use it slowly if we get into a pinch. This really depends on where we get placed for the next two years of hubby’s med school. If we get Michigan, I can probably make it through 2014 without using student loans. If we get New York, I think I’ll be fresh out of luck.

So, there you have it – My big aspiration for 2014 is to not mess up, not get back into cc debt, and to keep chugging along like we are. Hopefully, my business income continues to grow and we’ll set ourselves up for a very bright 2015 but for now, I hope my 2014 doesn’t bore you too much!

What are your financial goals for 2014?

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24 responses to “Our Only Goal for 2014

  1. Considering the context of your situation (hubs is graduating med school, babies on the way, just started freelancing full time and that’s the sole income for the fam currently) maintaining is a fantastic goal. That would be a huge accomplishment, IMO. I think you can do it, for what it’s worth.

  2. Daniel and I have so many financial goals for this year and with loans being the only source of money coming in, I am fearful we won’t meet any of them to the extent we hope to. With me back from Grenada, we need a second car. We are also hoping to move into our own place. So many expenses and now a wedding to save for. We can limit our spending, but without an income, we rely on loans and savings. What are your suggestions on the best ways to earn money on our savings? Interest rates are so low that even CDs or High-Yield accounts don’t help much.

    1. I totally understand. It is definitely not easy. I am using SmartyPig for a high yield savings account at 1% because it beats a lot of the CDs for the short term at least. If you could put your money away for 5 years or so, there are other options, like mutual funds, but yall are like us in that you need what you have this year and unfortunately you won’t find much better than 1%. Still, it’s better to put it there and take it out as you need it so that it at least earns something. I would just have a family meeting next time yall are together. See how much you have in savings, write out your expenses, and write out the projected loan income for each of you. Then try to piece together how you will accomplish each goal, i.e. 1. Are you going to buy a car using the savings or are you going to get a car that has a payment? 2. Are you going to put aside money for the wedding from each disbursement or are you going to use your savings? Just having a plan for each one of your goals and what money you will use to accomplish each one will make you feel really in charge of your finances, and it will also help you prioritize your spending so you can decide which goals are the most important to tackle now. You both are really smart people and I have no doubt that you will do amazing. Plus, just two more years and you will both start having an income! 🙂

  3. I cannot wait to see those little ones! Setting yourself up for success is the best thing you can do, given that everything you know about life is about to change!

  4. You did so well in 2013 and I think maintaining is a great idea. So many amazing things will be happening for you this year, I’m sure things will turn out well :).

  5. Maintaining is a very reasonable goal. 2014 is going to be such a big year for you guys, so adding Big Hairy Goals on top of that is craaazy. But, then again you seem to be on a great path this year anyway, so you might even surprise yourself 🙂

  6. Reward credit cards are awesome, I hope you get plenty of cool free stuff! My main goal is to grow NW by 30%… ever the optimist! Oh and increase charity as well.

  7. You’ve done great in 2013! You will do great in 2014 as well and definitely do better than maintain. 🙂 I understand the stress though.

  8. Great job, Cat! I don’t blame you for backing off of debt repayment since becoming prego. You will need a little extra cash flow! But, having two babies at once IS super frugal of you. Two babies for one hospital bill. Freaking genius.

  9. This is a great goal, Cat. There’s a time for everything, and considering the fact you are in the early stage of living solely off blog income it makes sense to simply try to maintain everything where it’s at. Over time I think your income will go up, but with the twins coming along and so many changes for you and your family it totally makes sense to try to stay the course you are on.

  10. I think it’s wise to not commit to so much during a year you know will bring great change. These little ones will alter your life and probably change what you think is important.

  11. That’s a great perspective for a year that will bring a lot of changes!

    To be on the safe side, I would probably take out the student loans too — especially the subsidized ones. That way, you can have the money available if you need it and if you don’t, you can repay it all at the end of the grace period without having paid any interest.

  12. I think the idea of taking out the loans and putting them in a savings account is a really good idea. That way you have the money in case of an emergency but you can send it back in repayments if it’s unneeded. I think the peace of mind of having it is well worth any fees or interest paid for having a little extra.

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