Back at the beginning of August, I laid out five of our current big financial goals as of now, along with the starting numbers for each. My goal was to do an update about once a quarter, so we’re due for another one! (If you want to see the original post, you can click here.)
Some of the goals have been tweaked slightly (as I’ll note below).
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How We Track Our Financial Progress
For basic budgeting and household account maintenance, I use Mint, which I’ve used and loved for years. Recently, I’ve started using Personal Capital as well, which has many of the same features, though I use that mostly for keeping track of our debt reduction and investments, as I find their tools are a bit better for that. Both are free.
For a clearer snapshot of our financial picture over time, I started tracking our net worth via Google Spreadsheet in August 2018. It’s been a total game changer, and I highly recommend you read the post I did on the why and how of that process here.
FYI: If you’re trying to manage your money better (or know someone who could use the resources), the Master Your Money Bundle is having a flash sale at the end of this month for Black Friday. You can currently get it for $49.97, but its price will drop to just $37 on November 29th. It includes 45 resources to help you manage most every aspect of your financial life and comes with a money-back guarantee. You can check out the full product list here! (Also, Ultimate Bundles is doing flash sales on several of their bundles for Christmas, such as the Essential Oils and Herbs Bundle on sale right now. You can click over to the site here to see the product list for that, or to check out all the other bundles they’re offering!)
The Big Five
Complete our Emergency Fund ($10,000)
Our emergency fund took a hit this quarter because we ended up deciding to use some of our funds from it to go towards a down payment for our new minivan. We were able to cash flow some of the down payment (and had a small amount saved for it already) so we didn’t take the full $1,500 down payment as a hit, but you will notice that it’s down from before (womp womp).
- Initial Amount Saved: $2,934
- Goal Amount: $10,000
- Current Amount: $2,000
- Percentage Saved: 20%
Buy a Bigger Vehicle Pay Off the Minivan
We completed our initial goal of buying a bigger vehicle; however, we were unable to pay for it all in cash like we’d hoped. That is how we now find ourselves with our first car payment ever in our marriage (and the first car payment I’ve ever had in my life!). Needless to say, after having lived so long without a monthly car payment, we want it gone ASAP, which is why we’ve set it as our new big financial goal.
We bought our new (to us) Honda Odyssey minivan for just over $11,000 and put down $1,500 as a down payment on it. However, after taxes and fees, our loan amount ended up being…just over $11,000.
Our plan here is to sell our extra two vehicles at this point and put the majority of that cash straight towards paying this car loan off. Then, when we get our tax return next year (which we anticipate will be a decent chunk of money), we’ll put all of that towards it as well. Then we’ll just make our monthly payments as usual and throw any extra we can spare at it. All told, we’re hoping to pay off the whole amount by June of next year.
- Initial Amount of Loan: $11,050
- Amount Paid So Far: 0% (no payments due until December)
- Percentage Reached: 0%
Save Up For Trip to Hawaii
My in-laws are on a mission right now in Hawaii, and we hope to be able to go and visit them before they come home in a year. We were able to save a bit into this account thanks to some photography jobs I picked up and Matt’s Christmas bonus.
- Initial Amount Saved: $125
- Current Amount Saved: $600
- Amount Left to Save: $1,400
- Percentage Saved: 30%
Pay $3,000 Extra on Mortgage
This isn’t a huge priority for us right now, but I did put it as a goal on my 101 in 1001 list, so we’ve been trying to make at least a little progress towards this monthly. Since I like nice, round numbers, we’ve always paid a bit extra on our mortgage, and we’re currently paying an extra $37.35 a month so that our monthly payment is at an even $1,200. (Note: this last year, our Escrow increased, and rather than spread out the payments over the next year and have our extra principal payments take a hit, we just paid the surplus amount upfront, which helped a little, too.)
Also, we printed off one of these debt payoff coloring sheets, and I’ve been filling in a square every time we pay off another $2,000 on the loan. This next payment, I knew we would be so close to being able to color in another square (only about $7 short), so I actually put in an extra $10 before next month’s payment came due, just so I could color that in. (Hey, whatever works!)
- Current (Extra) Amount Paid: $722
- Amount Left to Pay: $2,278
- Percentage Reached: 24%
Buy a New Laptop / Full Frame Camera
These are both still super low priority right now, and I might even take them off the official list. However, since they are still on my 101 in 1001 list and I haven’t totally given up on them yet, we’ll keep them on.
- Amount Saved: $0
Next quarter, I might be swapping out the laptop/camera goal for paying off the hospital bills from the new baby, but we’ll see how things shake out on that front first.
What are your big financial goals? Any big financial plans for the year ahead?