2016 Goal!

The Big Goal

So now that the 2015 Goal has been met, it’s time to unveil my 2016 Goal.  In 2015, my goal was to pay off $20,000 in loan principal.  In 2016, my goal will be to pay off…$20,000 in loan principal.  What?!

I was hoping to be able to put a big goal out there, but we’re looking ahead to spending a lot of money on the house, and we need to replenish the house account as a result. So I’m not planning on putting any rental income into my loans in 2016.  Or if I do, it won’t be until the back end of the year.  Maybe one or two rent payments’ worth.

I’m hoping to pay off $800 a month in principal with my standard payments ($550 to my remaining law school loan — currently less than $50 a month going to interest, but hopefully dropping quickly; $554 to my former federal loans — currently about $270 a month going to interest). That only adds to $9,600.  The other $10,000+ will need to come from my bonus, our tax return and anything else we can throw at it.  I’m trying to plan as though hubby won’t be working, so that any money he does bring in will be gravy.  If things are going really well at mid-year I may consider a stretch goal of $25,000.

Smaller Goals

Some more financial goals, other than this biggie, that I’d like to throw out there for accountability purposes:

  • Contribute $10,000 to my 401(k)/IRA – I’m actually a little unsure on this one, but I’m thinking that I might change my contributions to Roth contributions from their current pre-tax status.  I’m currently contributing 10% of my salary, plus a to-be-determined bonus contribution, but given that the Roth contributions are after tax, I don’t know if maintaining this percentage would reduce my paychecks too much to be doable.  I also have a small Roth IRA that I try to contribute $100 a paycheck too, but this doesn’t get direct deposited into it, and therefore sometimes ends up elsewhere. This number doesn’t include my employer contributions.
  • Contribute at least $4,000 to my HSA – Most–if not all of this–will come from my bonus.  That will take a big chunk out of this goal pretty early in the year, and then halfway through the year I’ll reevaluate my needs, and see if I want to contribute more.  The nice thing about this is that I can change it at any point in the year.  I just have to be careful not to mess it up like I did this year.
  • Save $3,000 in my primary savings account — This doesn’t seem like a lot, but I find myself dipping into savings more than I would like.  Some of this spending in 2015 was for more major items (car fixes, wedding things, extra loan payments, buying a dishwasher and a new tv), but some of it is just not maintaining a budget.  I don’t keep much in savings, because most of my extra money goes to loan payments, but hubby has always been a saver, so even though my accounts look pretty skimpy, we’re not completely without savings.
  • MAINTAIN A BUDGET – This means evaluating how much is expected to come in each month, and how much I expect to go out.  So I’ll need to go through my expenses this year, and see what my unusual expenses were (Amazon Prime, car registration and taxes). I’m debating buying YNAB for this, and I’d be interested to hear feedback on how much it has helped people. I’m hoping to work on evaluating this in the next coming days so I can start planning for a monthly amount to set aside for these expenses.

Overall it’s a lot to think about for 2016, and I think pretty ambitious, in spite of it being pretty similar to my 2015 goal.  These goals are contingent on two major things:  a good/great bonus and a healthy baby…

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2015 Goal Met!

achievement

As of my most recent payment, I’ve paid approximately $20,411 in student loan principal this year!  I still have one more payment for $300 going through today, $250+ of which I expect to go towards principal.

Next year should be slightly easier to track, as I won’t be guesstimating the interest and principal amounts for any of my loans, because each servicer gives me those details as soon as they process the payment.

I definitely wasn’t fully confident I was going to make this goal, and pulling some from savings and wedding gifts definitely were a big factor.  Now it’s time to think about my goals for 2016…

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November Recap

Just a quick update to show my payoff progress for November.  I didn’t do my usual rent payment, but hubby did contribute $2,000 now that his bank accounts have been shored up a bit.  Thanks Hubby!

We bought a wifi thermostat, so we hopefully won’t have to worry about accidentally leaving the heat on when we’re gone for the day, or when we’re in bed.  We’ll also get a rebate from the gas company for most of the cost of this.  Our insulation still hasn’t been put in yet.  Some kind of test for the insulation should be done on the 15th, and hopefully the actual installation will be shortly after.  Here’s hoping these two things help with heating costs this winter.

Our driveway, which was scheduled to be paved late last month, has not been done.  Our contractor cancelled on us the week they were supposed to do it, and we didn’t have time to find someone else who could do it for a reasonable price.  So we still have a good amount in the house account, but knowing how much is going to come out in the spring, I think I’d like to build the balance up to around $10,000 (or around $5,000 post-driveway) before I start putting rent payments toward my loans again.  The heating system in our tenant’s apartment is not ideal, and updating it will likely have to be done eventually, so we want to start planning and saving for that.

So there we have it.  Mint is still not connecting to my loan servicer’s site, but when I checked this weekend, my two loans totaled $76,818, which means 115 total pieces in the puzzle.  I’m so close to a quarter of the way there!

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