Yeah, little did I know what 2011 had in store. Non-stop car repairs which led to the complete dying of my car, and further the purchase of a "new" car. A complete upheaval between me and G-man. Increased medical co-pays. Oil bill that went up almost $150 a month. Pool repairs. Two major power outages, leading to the loss of a ton of food and increased expenses for those 2 weeks. But we are past that now. New year!!!
Let's see where we are starting our new year.....total debt is $80,191.29.
- Credit Card - $37,164.32
- Student Loan -$28,142.57
- Car- $12,801.07
- Medical - $2,083.33
It is bad. I know. But....we will keep working at it. Our goals this year are based off of lessons learned in 2011, and in the spirit of the 12 in '12.....
1) Increase EF to $2,000. It currently stands at $961. We had to dip into it a few times, and I think I will feel better if it is at $2,000. I know Dave Ramsey will say $1,000. But my comfort level is $2,000. Right now, I plan on "paying ourselves first" and putting $50 per paycheck in the EF.
TIMELINE: Based on the current budget, it will take us about 10 months (October), but I am hoping I can get it closer to 6 months (Late June).
2) Decrease cell phone bill. When we got the plan in 2010, we thought we were doing great. As a whole, it isn't. We need to shop around and find a plan that really fits us. G-man won't go the pre-paid route, so we have to shop the deals. We are considering some kind of bundle plan. The contract is up in February, so this one should be done sooner than later.
3) Make will. We still don't like our options for guardians for the kids. But this is long overdue. As many of you have stated, we should have done this a long time ago. We have a Suze Orman kit that my parents bought us a long time ago....need to open that bad boy up.
4) Life insurance. We dropped the ball last year. Time to pick it back up. Yeah, we would be screwed if something happened.
5) Start Overtime Fund. Overtime should be accounted for separately. It isn't part of the budget. The goal is 100 hrs of OT for G-man at his office (he hit this in 2011, so this shouldn't be too hard) and 40 hrs for me. As for me...mine will be defined as "hours over my 23 hrs of scheduled time per week." Any money earned from OT will go into a separate ING fund, and a quarterly bulk payment will be made to something. Look for a new progress bar to keep track of the hours! Holiday pay for G-man will not count in this.
TIMELINE: Account set up December 2011, funding will be on-going.
6) Figure out how to best use gift cards. I have all sorts of random gift cards with varying amounts of money on them. They range from Gap to Atlanta Bread to Disney Store. Plus, I have over 16,000 points from MyPoints, and at the time of this writing...over 8,200 Swagbucks. I have no idea what I am saving them for. Gotta figure that out.
TIMELINE: Use up gift cards by August, or at least allocate them if used for future purchase.
7) Start researching orthodontic costs. We already know that Bossy needs braces (cross bite AND under bite). What I don't know is what that is going to entail or how much it will run us. I need to find out and start planning for that expense.
TIMELINE: October, so we can prepare our FSA in November.
8) Keep track of credit card interest and payments. I have set up a very simple spreadsheet that lists each of the credit cards, and I will input any charges (which I hope will be minimal, or ideally just for convenence sake), payments, and the interest charged. I am starting with the statement that has a due date in January 2012, through statement due in December 2012. It isn't a perfect year, but it gives 12 statements.
TIMELINE: Spreadsheet set up December 2011, tracking will be on-going.
9) Cash out Adsense, InBox Dollars, and SurveyHead balances. All of these have a minimum level to cash out. I am closing in on all of them. I would really like to actually get to that point!!!
10) Save $500 towards SOMETHING. Yeah, it could go towards debt. But it is so depressing to think that we can't splurge a little somewhere. No idea if this will go towards new furniture, vacation, or what. But it will be something for US.
11) Reduce check writing. Checks are expensive!! I have a few medical bills I write checks for because I mail them in. But things like the kids' lunch, co-pays....those are just laziness. I need to plan ahead and have the cash for lunches. And some of the co-pays can be done by debit. I would like to not have to buy checks until the end of the year!!!
And last but not least.....
12) Pay off $12,000. Not once have I made my "pay off X amount" goal. $12k in '12....I am GOING to do it this time!!!
There they are. Nothing sexy about any of them. Just down and dirty.