2016 has been a rough one for many. Have any of you seen this meme floating around the interwebs?
(Here’s one source, but I’ve seen it on multiple accounts. It’s everywhere.)
Makes me chuckle. Although 2016 has been tough in many regards (and I have a year-end wrap-up post in the works with more info on my 2016), it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I’ve had a pretty good year when it comes to my financial goals.
In the beginning of 2016 I set these financial goals for myself and my family:
- Save $10,000 for down payment for a home.
- Save $5,000 for an emergency fund.
- Put $30,000 toward debt.
These were pretty lofty goals at the time they were set. But then our income just exploded.
I ended up working all summer (an extra 3 months worth of income), I taught an extra class one semester, and hubs landed some big contracts in the Fall.
Without any major financial set-backs this year (*knock on wood*) we managed to hit these goals out of the park!! I’ll explain each in more detail below.
- Save $10,000 for down payment for a home. Once this goal was set, I really put it first above all else. Initially we were going to start looking at homes in May, but we pushed it back a bit when we felt we needed more time to save up an EF, etc. We found “the house” in August and it was a long process, but when all was said and done we finally closed in early November. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to save the money in-time when we were shooting for a May timeframe, but by the time November rolled around we had more than enough saved for our down payment. With the money we saved (+ a generous gift from my mom) we had just over 20% to put down. We also had some cash reserves still on-hand that came in quite helpful when we needed to buy nearly $4,000 worth of “stuff” to get moved into the house (e.g., refrigerator, blinds, etc. See this post for details).
- Save $5,000 for an emergency fund. This goal was so important to me, personally. This was the real reason why we delayed our house hunt from the beginning. We had our $10,000 saved up, but had nearly no emergency fund and I felt like it was just a recipe for disaster to buy a home with no money on hand. After we pushed back our original “house hunting” date, we were able to continue to stack money (again – I picked up work over the summer and additional classes in the Fall, too, which really helped in this regard). As I type this post, we have exactly $5,085 in our dedicated Emergency Fund and I consider it fully funded for the time being. Eventually we’ll try to bump this up to a full 3-6 months ($5,000 is about one month for our household…maybe 2 if we really stretch). But while we’re still in the process of debt repayment we’ll leave it at $5,000. I did have some comments on the house post that mentioned making a separate house-related EF (especially given the age of our home, etc.). I’ll address that more in my forthcoming 2017 Goals post. Look for that post likely next week sometime.
- Put $30,000 toward debt. This is just such an obscene amount of money to pay toward DEBT in a single year! It’s crazy to think about how many families are struggling just to get by on $30,000 total annual income. When I first started blogging here our household income was just under $50,000. Thinking of that time (and there would have been zero chance we could have put a full 30k toward debt) compared to where we are now…I’m just amazed. Life has had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but we’ve been blessed in the financial realm this year. Check out our December Debt Update table:
|Place||Current Balance||APR||Last Payment Made||Last Payment Date||Original debt, March 2014|
|Navient - Federal 2 (unsubsidized)||$11071||5.80||209||December||82433 (all school loans, combined)|
|Navient - Federal 3 (subsidized)||$8621||5.80||25||December|
|Navient - 2 (subsidized)||$8537||6.55||33||December|
|Navient - 7 (subsidized)||$7232||6.55||28||December|
|Navient - 8 (subsidized)||$6402||6.55||25||December|
|Navient - 9 (subsidized)||$8537||6.55||34||December|
|Navient - 10 (unsubsidized)||$16135||6.55||2020||December|
|Balance Transfer Student Loan #2||$3000||0% (through April 2017)||$1000||December||$7650|
|Balance Transfer student loan #1||$0||0%||-||Paid off in March 2016||$5937|
|PenFed Car Loan||$0||2.49%||-||Paid off in January 2016||$24040|
|License Fees||$0||2.5%||-||Paid off in April 2015||$5808|
|BoA CC||$0||7.24%||-||Paid off in June 2014||$2220|
|Mattress Firm||$0||0%||-||Paid off in May 2014||$1381|
|Wells Fargo CC||$0||13.65%||-||Paid off in May 2014||$7697|
|Capital One CC||$0||17.9%||-||Paid off in March 2014||$413|
|Totals||$75,171 (Nov balance = 78,345)||$3399||Starting Debt = $145,472|
With our last large debt payment from December 2016, we’ve managed to cross the finish line on our final financial goal of 2016. We have officially paid over $30,000 toward debt this year!!! See below (with a previous goal check-in post found here):
Some months were up and some were down, but the highs and lows all averaged out and still allowed us to hit this monstrous goal we had set that didn’t even seem feasible in January of 2016 and yet, here we sit at the end of 2016. Mission accomplished.
For anyone casually stumbling across this blog (as well as long-time readers – thanks for sticking around!!), I just want to stand on the top of a mountain and shout: I’M A REAL PERSON. A NORMAL HUMAN BEING JUST LIKE YOU. THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL OR OUTRAGEOUS ABOUT ME AND MY SITUATION. IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU!!!!
Three years ago, I never would have believed I’d be sitting here today having annihilated nearly half of our debt!!! It’s a pretty incredible things and more great things are on the horizon.
How have you done on any 2016 goals? Are you taking stock and making plans for 2017 goals??