Thursday, December 29, 2011

Financial Goals 2012

A long time ago, I said...if we could just get through 2011, we will be ok.  This was probably 2 years ago.  I knew that by the end of 2011, my small student loan would be gone.  The payment on G-man's car would be gone.  And that once the dust settled of all of those changes....we would be able to make real progress.

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 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. 

TIMELINE:  Mid-February.

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.

TIMELINE:  December.

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!!!

TIMELINE:  On-going.

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!!!

TIMELINE:  December.

There they are.  Nothing sexy about any of them. Just down and dirty.


  1. Great goals! and I love that you've added a timeline.

  2. Good luck! Love the timeline feature of your goals! I hope that 2012 is much kinder to you and your family! :)

  3. You have very achievable goals and I like your timeline too.

    I really like the fact that you saved $500 for something. It's extremely realistic.

    Have you thought about selling your gift cards? I know you can do it on Ebay but there is also a site specifically for gift cards, although I don't remember the name.

    Good luck in 2012.

  4. I think you can do it and I love the fact you have a guideline. Its funny you mentioned the points and all because as soon as I finish reading posts I am going to cash out my swagbucks, adsense, ebates. I have no idea why I didn't before.

    Will and I got all our gift cards out last night. Seriously we had some for PM and SR that had anywhere from 2.00-50.00 on them. Just for the markets we had 64.00 so we are using them foodshopping this week. As for the rest of them I am putting them in the front of my wallet and hoping to use them us. Thanks for the reminder

  5. Your goals sound very do-able. I reduced the check writing several years ago. Co-pays or bills my doctors send I pay w/my debit card. Even if it doesn't say on their statement, most doctors are set up where you could just "call in" your payment and charge it to your debit. Or you could just do online bill pay through your bank and save a stamp too!

  6. I just have to say... WOW! You have a crap ton of Swagbucks! Lol, I always cash mine in for a $5 Amazon gift card as soon as I get enough to buy one. That's awesome.

  7. They sound like achievable, well thought out goals. I checked my gift cards this week and one had expired which is like throwing away $25 so I need to keep track of the expiration dates better!

    Can you pay your bills with internet banking instead of cheques? I find it's much less hassle.

  8. @Jode - thanks! I think the timeline will help.

    @Rachel - thanks! 2012 should be better for everyone, I hope!

    @Niki - I had to add in the $500. We need to feel like we are working for something more tangible. I might sell some of the gift cards. I have some random ones!!

    @Judy - The gift cards are crazy! I am finding them all over. No idea why I saved them.

    @One Family - I do on-line payments for just about everything else. I suppose I could do it for the medical too. Thanks!

    @Katie - I never could figure out what I wanted, so I just kept saving them. Right now we are thinking of a Home Depot card to help offset resurfacing the deck.

    @Louise - I found 2 cards that were expired. I was bummed!! As I said above, I pay everything else through the internet...except the medical stuff. I should just set up accounts for that too.

  9. Your goals are fantastic and I love the time line.

  10. Ahhhhh Mysti - the great thing about beginning a new year is that is renews our hopes. The past is the past and the only point in looking back is to see what we would like to change.
    Life hands us things that we have no choice over - like car repairs and braces. I think your goal of a $2000 emergency fund is a very practical idea which will help you cope with "life"! I think that's pretty SEXY!!

  11. All work and no play is not balanced. I like your goal of $500 for something, except I would love for you to put something down so you have an incentive! :)!

  12. I hope 2012 treats you a lot better than 2011!

    Also-- the only check i write every month is to our landlord...our checks last a looooong time.

  13. These sound great and doable. I am in a funk about my goals, I just can't make up my mind!

  14. You know, they may not be all that hot, but they are realistic and you and definitely achievable. 2011 sounds like it was quite sucky and stressful, but keep looking up and a good attitude. Best of luck!

  15. @Rhitter - thanks!

    @Jane - Let's hope that this year I have less drama, and more SEXY.

    @Sharon - I am struggling with what the $500 would go to. Part of it is that everything we want will be more than the $500!!

    @Erica - I am hoping to get down to less than 5 checks a month. Some of them can't be helped.

    @Kim - I am in a funk over my personal goals. We can be funky together.

    @Tanner - I will save Hot for another year. This year will be about practical.

  16. Awesome goals! I am working on mine. Figuring I am starting out as a single mom of 2. I am lucky enough to only have 1 debt that should be pulled out of collections because it shouldn't of ever gone there. (errr)

  17. Ack! Blogger ate my comment.
    I wanted to ask why G-man doesn't like pre-paid phones. I was thinking that might be the frugal way to go, so I'd love to hear an opposing viewpoint.

  18. those are pretty kick butt goals! I think you are going to do awesome on them! good luck!!!

  19. @Courtney - My hats off to can do it!

    @Merry - Sorry your comment was eaten. As for your question...I have no idea why he doesn't like pre-paid phones. I don't think HE knows. It is one of those "I just don't like them" type of things.

    @JP - I hope I am going to do awesome. Thanks!

  20. 'Nothing sexy about any of them. Just down and dirty."

    Some times, that's just how IT IS babe. Go you. I like the goals. I like the format. I like the attitude.

    I don't know if this counts as "pre-paid" but I have MetroPCS. Best. Switch. Ever. I left T-Mobile and haven't looked back. I pay $100 a month for two lines with unlimited EVERYTHING. And no contract. Tell G-Man that's one big perk about the pre-paid-- you can try them with no-cost associated risk other than the phone you purchase upfront. It's worth at least actually trying. They've come a very long way.

  21. Great goals! Speaking of the "pay down $12K of debt in '12"....

    What is your plan for paying down the debt? Are you using the debt snowball (paying off accounts from smallest to largest balance regardless of interest rate and paying minimums on all other debts)? I'm a Dave Ramsey follower, and it would seem to make sense to pay of the debt with the highest interest rates first. However, if we were making sense we wouldn't be in credit card debt in the first place. If you were to use the debt snowball, your debts fall nicely in line with that method and you can gain some really quick wins. For example:

    #1 Retirement Loan = $88.00
    #2 Adult Dentist = $273.00
    #3 Kid Dentist = $403.00

    Is it possible to pay these off in 1-2 months?

    I can see you gaining some serious momentum if you knock out three debts right away. Then attack "Bossy Supplies" and CC #3.

    We went through this a couple of years back and the snowball method really worked. Google "debt snowball calculator" and try the one at WhatsTheCost. Best of luck to you!

  22. @Evan H - I am very familiar with What's the Cost. Love it. As for the game plan....the retirement loan will be paid off this week. In 60 days, we will take out another retirement loan and wipe out the credit cards (at an interest rate of 1.5%) in a max of 4 year, although we are hoping for 3.5 yrs or less.

    Dental bills and Bossy Supplies will not really go away. They are constantly added to. Right now I am not worried about them. I pay something every month, and when we have a little more wiggle room, I will try and be more aggressive with them.

    In general, we have been snowflaking to the highest interest rate CC (which has varied). But if you go back and read the past year will see that in the past year we have spent thousands of dollars on repairs, purchased a car, and had personal issues.

  23. Hi! It's 2013, how did you do?? I'd love to see an update. Please let me know if you have it posted somewhere else. I'm new to your site!