Another 3 months gone, which means time for another progress report on how our financial goals are going! If you’re just tuning in, we’re currently working on five big financial goals, which we originally wanted to complete by this October (because that’s when the “deadline” for my 101 in 1001 goals list is).
Right now, it’s not looking super likely that we’ll complete all of these goals by then, but we’re still much more apt to make a decent amount of progress on them if I keep up these accountability reports than if I stop, so here we go!
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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 as Mint, but I like using it instead of Mint for tracking 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.
The Big Five
Complete Our Emergency Fund ($10,000)
We’re still trying to replenish the funds we took out last quarter for the down payment on our minivan, so you’ll notice that it’s (still) lower than the initial amount. However, you’ll notice that I’ve included the figures from the last progress report as well so that you’ll be able to tell that we have, in fact, made *some* progress in the past 3 months.
Normally, we would have been able to make more progress than this, especially with our tax return coming in, but we decided to use our return and any extra money after our monthly expenses are taken care of for 1) paying off the minivan (see below), and 2) paying off our medical bills from the birth of our son in December, which have just started to come in (and which are not mentioned in this report).
Here’s where we stand with this first goal as of now:
- Initial Amount: $2,934
- Goal Amount: $10,000
- Amount at Checkpoint #1: $2,000
- Current Amount: $2,155
- Percentage Saved: 21.5%
- Progress Made this Quarter: $155 (1.5%)
Pay Off Minivan
On our last progress report, we hadn’t paid anything towards the minivan because no payments were due for the first 3 months and no interest accrued during that time period, either. So, this quarter was the first time having that car payment, and it actually also marked the first time my husband and I have had a regular debt payment (other than our mortgage) in our entire marriage.
I am not a fan.
That is one of the main reasons why we’re hankering to get this paid off as quickly as possible—having lived the debt-free life (other than our mortgage) for so long, it’s hard having that $200 payment every month going towards something as un-fun as debt, when we would much rather put it towards our other goals.
Thanks to a sizable tax return and us putting a chunk of money from the sale of one of our other vehicles towards this, you’ll notice that we’ve made a decent amount of progress thus far.
- Initial Amount of Loan: $11,050
- Amount Paid So Far: $4,582
- Amount Left On Loan: $6,468
- Percentage Reached: 41.5%
- Progress Made This Quarter: $4,582 (41.5%)
Save Up For Trip to Hawaii
My in-laws are currently serving a mission in Hawaii until the end of this year, and we wanted to take advantage of having free housing for a trip there while we could! (Not to mention that we wanted to see my husband’s parents, obviously.) We have already booked our airline tickets for a trip in April, and we’re planning on spending cash for the whole thing.
Since it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve flown anywhere, I had no idea how much airline tickets currently cost, which meant I’d underestimated my initial guesstimate for the trip ($2,000) by about $1,000. All of our lodging is taken care of and many of our meals will be with Matt’s parents or will be us fixing our own food, but we still have to pay for the flights, a rental minivan, some groceries and restaurants, and any souvenirs or fun things we want to do.
We had a certain window of time we wanted to fly over there (with a few days of flexibility is all), and after much deliberation, we decided that it would be worth it to spend about $300 extra on tickets without any layovers, as we’re already super nervous about a 6+ hour flight with three kids, two of which are under two. All told, with taxes and fees and everything, our flight tickets ran us $2,100.
My father-in-law used his connections to book us a minivan for around $450 for 7 days, which will leave us $350 to budget for food, souvenirs (of which we’ll buy minimal), and experiences.
We used some money from our tax return for this and some money from our usual monthly take-home and other income sources to cover the costs so far and to put aside most of what we’ll need for this trip. You’ll notice that this one is nearly complete!
- Goal Amount: $3,000
- Initial Amount Saved: $125
- Amount Saved at First Quarter: $600
- Current Amount Saved/Cash Flowed Already: $2,850
- Percentage Reached: 95%
- Progress Made This Quarter: $2,250 (75%)
Pay $3,000 Extra on Mortgage
This still isn’t a huge priority for us right now, so we’ve just continued to pay the slight bit of extra each month to make our payment a nice, even number and have called it good.
Once our van is paid off and our emergency fund is more robust, I would LOVE to focus more on either putting more into this, or maybe even saving up to buy a rental property or start saving up to buy a home with more land for our homestead (dare to dream, right?!).
- Current Total (Extra) Amount Paid: $834
- Percentage of Goal Reached: 27.8%
- Amount of Extra Paid at End of Quarter One: $722
- Progress Made This Quarter: $112 (3.7%)
Buy a New Laptop / Full Frame Camera
Still no progress here, as we have much higher priorities at the moment. However, as I recently filed our taxes, I was reminded that both of these could be written off as business expenses, so that’s a small nudge to maybe not let them fall *too* far down the priority list, especially our laptop (as it’s what I blog on most, and our current laptop is well over 10 years old and is, uh, a little quirky).
- Current Amount Saved: $0
Ah, nothing like a good tax return to give us some decent fuel for our financial fire! (Especially after last year, when we voluntarily gave up an $8,000 tax return to roll over Matt’s old 401K into a Roth IRA, which you can read more about here.)
What are your current financial goals? And do you have any big plans for your tax return (if you’re getting one)?