By the time this post publishes, the year will be 10 days old. That’s what happens when I have limited my posting schedule to once a week during the school year. (#lifeofateacher)
Back to the post…
A year ago I wrote out a financial goals/philosophy post. Even though I never published it, I found it to be a good exercise. It would be nice to resurrect that post but I could not publish it in its original form. So much has changed since then. Life changed. It has a habit of doing that, some years more than others. 2016 was the year of unexpected change for me in more ways than just financial, as I mentioned in my running goals post.
That, however, is a post for another day.
Today I focus just on my financial goals for the upcoming year with the full knowledge that things can change in a heartbeat.
I’ll start with the overall goals.
First, I want to become more intentional with my spending. I have already been working on this but have gotten a little sidetracked lately. One thing tends to lead to another. I started teaching again, without all the supplies I had given away when I thought that I had left the profession permanently. My hard drive started failing so I had to buy a new computer before receiving my first teaching paycheck. Things just kept cropping up. I had planned to have my travel fund reimbursed over a month ago but I had to keep “borrowing” the money I had budgeted to pay back. Becoming more intentional will help curb spending and help me reach my second overall goal.
Second, I want to increase my savings rate from 30% of my income to 40%. Originally, before I looked at the numbers, I wanted to save 50%. It’s a number I’ve seen bandied about by a number of personal finance bloggers. After looking at the numbers I realized that just because a number seems pretty, doesn’t mean that it is the right number for me. (In a future post I plan to go over my spending, the breakdown and categories and etc, so I won’t discuss that here.)
30% is definitely not a small amount. However, I have big goals. Plus, I want to be a good steward of my money. This helps get me there. That total savings rate breaks down into a few categories: emergency fund, health savings account, travel fund, life goal fund and adoption fund. My thought process behind the individual allocation for each of those different funds will come in a separate post.
In addition to those two yearly goals, I have a few short term goals. This section may be a section that I add to as the year progresses and short term opportunities present themselves.
First, I am participating in Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month Challenge. Frugalwoods started me on my frugal minimalist journey. (I already had a propensity towards this lifestyle; I just needed a little nudge.) When I first read about their uber frugal month, I thought about it but decided to choose certain aspects of it while not adopting the whole thing. This time I felt motivated. This will help me with my number one overall financial goal. I have been going over my expenses, all of them, and eliminating all that are not fixed mandatory expenses. Sometimes that elimination will be according to dictionary definition. Sometimes that elimination will actually be a substitution with a less expensive alternative or a reduction in a category like groceries. I think some smaller goals will come out of this.
Second, I want to minimize spending while maximizing the experience on my UK trip coming up in June. (There will be plenty of posts coming from that trip.) This will be my third international trip excluding three mission trips to Ecuador. I have learned a lot from each trip and although I still have more to learn, I consider myself a fairly savy traveler. Already I have minimized spending in the area of lodging by finally using Airbnb like my sister has been recommending for ages. For nine nights and two people – this excludes one night on a sleeper train which combines transportation and lodging – I spent $710. That’s approximately $500 less than what we spent in Rome and even more of a savings from my first trip to the UK five and a half years ago. I hope that we will be able to spend less than $5000 total although we have enough in the travel fund to go up to $6000. (That’s taken 2 years to save up!)
2017 is going to be a great year!