It’s a New Year’s resolution revolution! Cheezy title? Completely.
But it’s a year of new beginnings. And not just because it’s January. First, a little history:
For the past year and half, we have been living with a very difficult family situation. It wasn’t the kind of thing we could solve, influence, avoid, or move along more quickly. It was large and in charge and completely outside of our control. We just needed to do what we needed to do and survive the process.
In six months, the situation will resolve itself. We’ll still need to move on emotionally but we’ll be through the worst of it.
Either way, I’m ready to start living my life again. This is a new year and I’m dedicated to making it the best one yet. Maybe I won’t get everything on my list done but I’m hopeful for the first time in a long time. Okay, let’s get to it:
Financial New Year’s Revolution
1. Student Loans: Put $350 each paycheck towards my student loans. I’ll also put $200 from the rent we receive towards student loans. At this rate, I’ll be to reduce my loan term from five years to 2.8 years. In the “Additional Monthly Repayment” column you will see $288. This should really work out to approximately $340 but I needed to subtract a $50 administration fee tied to the loan which left us with $288 figure you see.
2. Pay off our $10,000 credit card balance in 23 months by paying $500 a month towards the balance. We will only use the credit card for online purchases we cannot buy through Paypal and only if we have a clear plan for paying off the balance that month.
Here is the schedule for repayment, including interest and principle paid per month:
3. We have also worked out paying down all three car loans in four years instead of seven years by devoting an extra $400 towards each loan (three of them) and then using the debt “snowball” payment method.
4. Start an emergency fund and build it up to $1500. As I’ve learned repeatedly throughout life, nothing goes according to any plan I try to put together. It would be real swell to have something to fall back on when things go sideways.
I will put $50 aside each paycheck into a high interest investment account (still only 1.35% but better than nothing) for an emergency fund, this will take fifteen months to build up if we don’t have any emergencies.
5. I will put $40 aside each paycheck into a high interest investment account (maybe ING) so that I can open a Brokerage Account by December 2014. The minimum investment amount is $1000 and I’m interested in getting started with ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds). I’m not committed yet but I read a recent review of Questrade, a Canadian Discount Broker, and how they allow individual investors to trade on ETF’s without charging commission.
6. I’ll also be putting $25.00 away every paycheck to build up a $650 fund for Christmas. That seems to be one of my weak areas in terms of financial planning so I’m going to take the bull by the horns and just get ‘er done.
Travel New Year’s Revolution
– Attend Blogwest 2014 in Vancouver, BC, (Canada)
– Attend FinCon 2014 in New Orleans this year. I believe these will be great opportunities to network with other bloggers, build partnerships with potential clients, and have fun!
– Go to the Okonogan or Shuswap in British Columbia over Canada Day weekend – we’ll either rent a cabin with some friends or rough it in a tent and just do beautiful family bonding things.
– A couple of weekend camping trip in the Rockies. I want to keep costs down and stay fairly local. These will just be nice breaks to enjoy over the summer.
– We’re hoping to make a trip somewhere warm for Christmas this year – maybe the Mayan Riviera? Anybody have any ideas? I’m going to do some research and find out if it’s possible for us to do this year.
Career New Year’s Revolution
8. Ditch Social Work school. The real question is how I ever thought it was a good idea to spend even more money on school. For me, it just doesn’t make sense. I’ve already sunk $50,000 into my current degree – it was expensive and I’m still paying on it. Instead of training to become a therapist, I can advance my career through case management roles that emphasize experience over advanced degrees. I can still do interesting and challenging work; I’ll just be doing it in a slightly different capacity.
Don’t get me wrong, I think school is awesome. I’ve had wonderful opportunities to learn and grow that I never would have without it but I am done with it for now. Moving forward means building on my education and experience, not rehashing the state of the social welfare system in Victorian England.
9. Blog: I want to take my blog to the next level. I plan to do that by:
– Do more guest posting to raise my profile and create better relationships with my fellow personal finance/lifestyle bloggers
– Broaden my blog’s subject matter. I still want to post about budgeting, debt repayment, and saving money but I want expand into other areas. My goals for this year include learning and writing about investing in different markets; buying real estate; and starting a business.
10. Start freelance writing. I don’t entirely know what this looks like yet but guest posting for other sites will be part of raising my profile and getting my name out there. I’ll share details as I develop more of a plan. I’m passionate about writing and I’d like to get some money rolling in!
A Better Me New Year’s Revolution
11. Lose weight. This really needs to happen. It was hard to manage everything over the past months and it seems I ended up eating my feelings. All forty pounds of them.
I joined Weightwatchers (online) and am in my first week of the program. It’s an adjustment but I believe I can do this. Already, I have noticed a big increase in my energy which helps my motivation in other areas – like going to the gym.
12. Try new things! Over the past few years, I got to the point where I just expected bad things to happen. My life started to get smaller and smaller as I just stayed home to avoid bad things from happening more than they had too. I realize that bracing myself for the next crappy thing to happen was pretty crappy. I can’t prevent bad things from happening sometimes but I can plan for the worst – like an emergency fund – and live for the best.
That’s it for now, I’ll keep you posted!