Hey blog peeps! I hope everyone is having a happy holiday. The hubs and I are currently flying home as I type this, and I’m spending a little bit of time sitting on this plane, enjoying the quiet, and thinking about what I want for the next year financially. I have some really big goals and also some uncertainty. I think it will help if I list them here, and maybe you can weigh in and tell me what you think.
Significantly Reduce Our Dependence On Student Loans
For the past few semesters, the hubs and I have received anywhere from $11,000-$14,000 in student loans for living expenses every semester. This was necessary at first, but now that I work full time, it’s not. It’s scary to give up that safety net, but it’s empowering to know that we’ll save about $28,000 next year. The bigger picture is that we’ll be saving about $50,000+ over the long term, since the interest rate is high and we’ll be paying it back for a while
Open an IRA
This is something I’ve been wanting to do for for-ever. When I turned, 25 I said I wanted to start putting in $200 a month towards retirement. Now, I definitely want to set this up before I turn 26 in May. My budget will only allow for about $100 a month right now, but I will be excited to get this going. Luckily, the hubs worked for 4 years before starting med school, so he had a head start on his IRA.
Track All Spending
All year I tracked my spending for the most part, doing my budget at the end of each month and seeing how we did. However, in the last month, I’ve started writing down what we spend every day. We’ve done this before, but we got out of the habit. Now, we’re back in it, and I think it’s kind of fun. I’d like to continue to do this next year, mostly to keep my eating out spending under control. For real.
Pay $800 A Month Toward My Student Loans
This is going to be my biggest feat yet. After paying off our credit cards this year, I’m now totally concentrated on my own student loans. I need to do this every month for the next three years in order for them to be gone. It’ll be a pinch, but it will help to know that I’ll report back to you blog peeps each month to keep me accountable.
Grow The Emergency Fund to $10,000
I set a goal to have $5,000 in an emergency fund by the end of the year, and I’m stoked that we actually have $7,000 in it now. Just a little bit more saving and we’ll have $10,000, hopefully before the summer.
Continue To Fill General Savings Funds
I put a small amount each month towards travel. We’re hoping to do an island hop or a backpacking trip after the hubs takes his board exam. I’m not sure if or when these things will happen, but I like to put a little bit aside just in case the opportunity presents itself. I’m also saving for moving funds, since I know we’ll have to fly back to the States in 2014 and then move our things somewhere a few months later. I also just realized the hubs’ board exam is $1,500. I’ll try to put most of that aside so it’s not too shocking when I have to pay it.
Ultimately, these are some pretty lofty goals, but I’ve done the math time and time again, and I think it can be done. Obviously, there could be unexpected issues, but that’s what the emergency fund is for.
My primary concern with all of this is that these goals will only work for 2013, our last year on the island.
Once we get to 2014, we’ll be back in the United States. The hubs will spend the first 2-3 months of 2014 studying for the boards, and then around May we will move somewhere new for him to complete his clinical rotations. So, it will be kind of hard for me to get a big girl job knowing we’re about to move, and then once we do move, there’s no telling how long it will take for me to secure one. I do plan to work online and continue to do my freelance writing throughout the beginning of 2014, but it won’t come close to my current income.
All that’s to say that I can probably reach the goals above next year, but I don’t know if I should. I don’t know if $10,000 is enough of an emergency fund to hold us over until I get the next job once we leave Grenada. I don’t know if I should pay so much down on my student loans or just pay the minimum and save the rest for early 2014. We’ll probably talk more to my father-in-law about this at home over the holidays to see what he advises, but until then, feel free to weigh in or share your own goals for 2013. I’d love hear them!