I have some pretty lofty goals for 2015. I sort of want it all. I want the heat pump. I want the family vacation. I want our budget to stay on track and I want to pay off a crap load of debt. Back in November 2013 I arbitrarily said I wanted to pay off 20k worth of debt in 2014. I really have no idea where that number came from but we did it. On top of my massive list of wants for 2015, I also want to pay off another (minimum) of $20,000 worth of principal non-mortgage debt, including paying off a huge consolidation loan (we’re already at 60% paid off!) and a massive chunk of our vehicle paid off- set to be done by June 2016 (vs February 2018). That means we need an average of about $1,700 per month for principle alone (and we all know how nasty interest is).
I think we can do it though. To start, we need to watch our spending. We need to stay on plan which means staying on budget. Given that I have our budget completed until August 2014 I think we can do this. In the past, little things I have forgotten about were always the budget busters- tire change, Mother’s day…those sorts of one-off things. I either totally forget to budget (like the $60 to have tires changed and balanced in winter/spring) or underestimate ($20 for Father’s day won’t cut it, I know we’ll spend more so I allocated more). I have been staying on top of our spreadsheet and making sure I don’t forget anything and one month in we’re good I have definitely learned from past mistakes!
By the end of 2014, I managed to increased my income and decreased our expenses, both a huge help for our 2015 goals. Between my income increase and our expenses decreased, we have about $300 (net) more per month to work with. This over and above what we manage to earn through our freelance/online work. This is a huge reason why we’ve been able to even consider doing what we want to do. Over and above our budgeted amount of income, each month we’re looking to earn an additional $500. We’ll accomplish this again through online work, me working more frequently at my job and Mike’s overtime and expenses earned. Me working only one additional shift per month combined with two of my guaranteed writing gigs puts us quite close to this goal so I know it’s possible.
I’ve always tried to maintain a sense of realism though this journey of paying debt off. While I’d like to pay off $30,000 this year I’m not willing to compromise the life we have created to do so. Part of kicking ass is actually enjoying my life too. If we stay on par I’m confident by the end of the year we’ll really be able to increase the speed at which we’re moving…We just need to get through the first eight months of the year first.
2015 will be a great year if we can manage all this. Though I’d like to have another $4,000-5,000 for debt, I’ll be super proud of us if we stick to the plan and save enough for the heat pump since I know it’s something we’ll enjoy and be proud of ourselves for seeing a short-term goal through.
How are you reaching your 2015 goals?