I never dreamed when I started tracking these goals quarterly last year (or especially when I set most of these goals in the first place in early 2018) how much would be changing for us over the course of 2020. In addition to the pandemic that no one predicted, there’s also been the unexpected news of the company Matt works for moving, and of how that has affected seemingly all of our financial goals.
Read on to see how the pandemic and how this latest piece of news about Matt’s company has affected things around here.
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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. (And if you sign up for a free Personal Capital account, we can both earn $20 if you go through my referral link!)
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)
With the uncertainty of what our life will look like over the next few months, we’ve been debating back and forth a lot about where to best allocate our money, especially the two recent windfalls that came to us (the stimulus check from the federal government and the sale of one of our vehicles). We were originally going to put the majority of both towards paying off our minivan (after we had paid off the remaining medical bills from our son’s birth and from Matt’s recent endoscopy for his celiac diagnosis), but since we likely will be moving this year, we thought it would be better to start focusing more on our emergency fund than we have been.
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)
- (Amount at Checkpoint #2: $2,155)
- Current Amount: $4,014
- Percentage Saved: 40.14%
- Progress Made this Quarter: $1,859 (18.59%)
We’re still a far cry from where we want to be, but this at least gives us a decent cushion in the case of most unexpected financial emergencies.
Pay Off Minivan
As I’ve said before, we’re not used to having any debt other than our house, and I really don’t like it. One of my favorite things to dream and scheme about is how we can get rid of this car loan ASAP just so I can stop having it hanging over our heads. A part of me is still bummed that we didn’t just pay the whole thing off using the extra funds mentioned above, but we used some of the recent sale of our other car to do some necessary repairs to the car Matt drives to work (to the tune of nearly $700), we put $500 aside in a separate fund we have for car repairs (not listed here), and we put another $500 aside into a medical fund (also not listed here). The remainder was spent on paying down more on this loan, as well as completing one of our other big financial goals (see below).
- Initial Amount of Loan: $11,050
- (Amount Left On Loan After Checkpoint #2: $6,468)
- Current Amount Left on Loan: $4,981
- Percentage Reached: 54.92%
- Progress Made This Quarter: $1,487 (13.46%)
Save Up For Trip to Hawaii
Well, the good news is that we successfully saved $3,000 as planned before our planned vacation date in mid-April. The bad news is that the trip didn’t happen because of COVID-19.
However, we are keeping this money set apart (for now, anyway) in a separate travel fund just in case Matt’s parents happen to get sent back to Hawaii at some point later this year to finish out their mission, which is still a possibility. If it doesn’t end up happening, then we’ll look into how we’ll spend this, but we really want it to be on travel for sure.
At any rate, we have the money there if there’s any way for the trip to happen.
- Goal Amount: $3,000
- Initial Amount Saved: $125
- (Amount Saved at First Quarter: $600)
- (Amount Saved at Second Quarter: $2,850)
- Current Amount Saved: $3,000
- Percentage Reached: 100%
- Progress Made This Quarter: $150 (5%)
Pay $3,000 Extra on Mortgage
Our Escrow amount changed in April, which meant that our monthly payment was reconfigured differently as well. We’re still paying the same monthly payment (because we were paying an extra amount before to make it a nice, even number), but now less of that extra money is going towards the principal.
As you can see, it’s only working out to about $30 extra a month, but this isn’t a high priority at the moment, especially with the probable move coming up.
- Current Total (Extra) Amount Paid: $938
- (Amount of Extra Paid at End of Quarter One: $722)
- (Amount of Extra Paid at End of Quarter Two: $834)
- Percentage of Goal Reached: 31.27%
- Progress Made This Quarter: $104 (3.47%)
Buy a New Laptop / Full Frame Camera
I sure didn’t expect to be able to cross off one of these!
As a photographer, a full frame camera would just be nice and improve the quality of pictures I’m able to take in general, but it’s not necessary for me to still take professional-level pictures for people. Therefore, it’s not a high priority for us right now, though it’s pretty much been a high WANT of mine for a long, long time.
A new laptop, on the other hand, was starting to become a little bit more of a necessity. The fact is, I do 90% of my blogging on our laptop, and as it’s about 13 years old, it’s definitely seen better days. It’s super slow, the charger cord has to be plugged in *just* so in order for the machine to stay on (or the computer will shut off immediately on you sometimes, which has made me lose work many a time), and sometimes the Internet connection just doesn’t work. Plus, as my mom reminded me as she helped me file our taxes this year, we could count it as a business expense for blogging.
I still might have put it off longer, except that we ended up getting the full asking price for the vehicle we just sold, which is unusual. We were actually expecting to have to go down a few hundred dollars, so when we got a full-price offer within days of listing, we definitely counted our blessings.
After discussing it together, we decided to put some of the money from the sale of our car towards a laptop, and we ended up getting this one from Sam’s Club. It normally retails at $749, but we got it for $599 (plus tax) because they were running a $150 off tech sale. I haven’t gotten it shipped to me yet, but I’m pretty excited to have something that will be about 1,000% nicer than what I’m working with now!
Total Goals Completed: 1.5 / 5
How have the current global conditions affected your financial goals? Are you saving like crazy? Paying down debt? Just working on surviving one day at a time?
P. S. I’ve always enjoyed gardening, but this year, with the food supply at our local grocery stores being so hit-and-miss, it feels a little more necessary now than it was before. We haven’t always had the greatest yield from year to year, so I’m brushing up on my Vegetable Gardening 101 education. If you’re looking to do the same, there’s a high-value bundle of resources on sale right now through Ultimate Bundles called the Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle, and it’s only $19.97. There are tons of eCourses and eBooks about everything from gardening in small spaces to how to preserve your harvest. It’s definitely worth checking out if gardening is something you find yourself doing more of this year! Click HERE to see all the resources and to purchase your bundle now while they’re still available!