February 2018 Statement of Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our February 2018 Statement of Net Worth Update!

Remember last month when I said that I could enjoy having only 8 liability accounts for a couple of months? Well, I found a great deal on a car that I loved so we went ahead and purchased one early!

You guys would be proud of me. I researched the KBB value of the value of the car as a private party sale before I bought it. This is the value that I assign to cars on our Net Worth Statements. When we bought the Dodge Dart I mistakenly looked at the KBB value when buying from a dealership and compared that amount to what we were paying and thought we were getting a good deal! Then, when I added it to our Net Worth Statement I found us once again thousands of dollars under water. Not this time! Not only did we get a great deal on a car that I am absolutely smitten with, the purchase of it actually increased our net worth. We are getting smarter and smarter with each car purchase. Keep an eye out for a future post depicting how we got our 2012 Chevy Sonic for $4,700!

February SNW Breakdown Image

Assets

You’ve already learned a little bit about the star of the Asset show, our new Chevy Sonic. I adore this car. I’m absolutely in love.

The only asset that decreased this month was the Dodge Dart and that’s mostly because I had been guessing at the mileage in previous statements. I took note of the actual mileage and I found I was off by about 5,000 miles! I corrected it and we had the huge decrease reported. I am going to check in every month to see what the mileage actually is before reporting from now on.

The Savings – Taxes account will be zeroed out on our next Statement of Net Worth because we didn’t need the savings at all. We got a refund! So this money will be going toward Navient.

Liabilities

Again, the star of the show is the new Sonic account at $5,000. I am so happy that under the Assets column the Sonic is worth $505 more than the liability. For the first time ever I am not upside down on a car loan.

The loan term is 36 months at 4.3% interest. This is a little higher than I’d like to pay, and higher than the financing we had set up through my credit union (3.49%). But it was part of the negotiating process, and we can always refinance in a few months with our credit union. In fact, I think that we can get our credit scores even higher and maybe qualify for an even lower interest rate than originally offered to us.

The interest rate on the Dart loan was 3.99% at our credit union.  Since we were approved for the Sonic at 3.49%, they went ahead and did a one-time interest rate reduction for the Dart and brought it down to 3.49% as well. So, we should start seeing a slightly larger decrease in this account each month going forward.

Another unexpected change happened over on the Navient account! Check out that decrease of $1,681! No, I didn’t make that much extra to send from my Shipt paychecks. I only paid about $200 extra! It turns out that I signed an agreement stating that if I made my first 12 payments after graduation on time, a certain portion of my loans would be forgiven! Hooray for responsibility!

Planned Debt Pay Off

In January 2018 I stated that I thought we would be able to pay about $1,000 extra to our Personal Loan, but the process of purchasing our car cost us a lot of money:

  • $52 Oil Change for Lease Return
  • $108 on Used Car Inspection
  • $159 Car Detail for Lease Return
  • $253 Partial Payment of Tax, Title, and Plates on Sonic

After parting with all that money, we were left with $200 extra to send to our Personal Loan account. A far cry from $1,000 but it’s something and I think it’s understandable! I am proud of us nonetheless.

Here’s our updated debt snowball for February 2018

  1. Personal Loan – $2,037 (9.5% interest rate)
  2. CP Visa – $3,825 (9.5% interest rate)
  3. PMI – $5,252

At the end of February I estimate that we will have about $500 – $750 extra to send to debt. I look forward to checking in and reviewing the actual amount we were able to send!

Conclusion

We increased our net worth in February by $3,940 for a total Net Worth of (38,408)! We are getting closer and closer to becoming worthless.

Please don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for daily updates on our journey to a positive net worth.

Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Dolores

 

I Want To Be a Landlord! So Why Don’t I Study How?

I read once that to become an expert in any subject you should read 7 books on the matter. Since reading that quote, I have made reading personal finance books as important of a goal as making and saving as much money as possible.

Owning rental properties is a pin on the map of how I plan to become a millionaire before I retire.

That map looks like this:

  1. Contribute to Employer Matched 401(k) Plans
  2. Eliminate all debt with higher than 4% interest rates
  3. Save for retirement
    1. Buy Rental Properties
    2. Max out Roth IRA contributions
    3. Max out 401(k) contributions

Step 1 has been done for a while now. You may have noticed that I have talked in depth about Step 2, and nothing at all yet about Step 3. In fact, Step 3 is very murky because I haven’t studied these goals at all. If I want to be a landlord, why haven’t I expended the same devotion to learning how as I have with my debt free journey?

The One Thing

“What is the one thing you can do, such that by doing it makes everything else easier or unnecessary?” That is a line you will hear time and time again if you have delved in to the subject of mono-tasking as told by Geoff Woods, Jay Papasan, and Gary Keller. I have learned  a lot from listening to the podcast called The One Thing, the most important of that being that I do not yet have the right to adjust my laser focus from the one thing that I can do now (get out of debt) to what I want to do later (buy rental properties).

I do not allow myself to get in touch with the real estate agent to ask about rental properties being sold in my area. I don’t go looking on Zillow for potential homes. I don’t contact my chosen property management company that will be getting our business in a few years. All of these things if done right now would only distract my focus from my One Thing which is getting out of debt.

Thinking Forward

I am not heading in to my future completely blind. I have an idea of what I would like to happen after I am out of debt, I just don’t actively work on those things.

Once I have paid off all the debt has higher than a 4% interest rate, I will then start reading books on becoming a landlord while I save up money for the down payment on our first rental property. Even though I haven’t yet earned the right to even think about buying rental properties, I do have a list of books that I would like to read once I decide that I have earned the right to do so:

  • Retire Rich with Rentals
  • Real Estate Investing Gone Bad
  • Investing in Real Estate
  • Hold – How to Find, Buy, and Rent Houses to Produce Wealth
  • First Time Landlord

I have a long list of books that I want to read regarding self-improvement and personal finance as well. Self-Improvement may seem like it would also be a distraction from personal finance, but I think the self-improvement books help me to live a happier life which will help me make more money for a longer period of time which helps me get out of debt. Here are some of the self-improvement books on my list:

  • The Power of Nice
  • The Miracle Morning
  • The Power of Habit
  • Moon-walking with Einstein
  • You Only Live Once
  • Man’s Search for Meaning

Personal finance keeps me inspired and focused on the goal at hand. Here are some books from that list:

  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
  • Automatic Millionaire
  • The Two Income Trap
  • The Millionaire Teacher
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich

I share my favorite quotes from the books I’m currently reading on my Instagram page (@networthnegative). I decided to share them on my blog as well, so look out for these posts. I will name them “Lessons I Learned from The Richest Man in Babylon” or maybe “Favorite Quotes from Rich Dad Poor Dad”

I started to write a post like that tonight but I thought I would first share my modus operandi to becoming not only net worth positive, but a millionaire as well. I’m looking forward to these posts!

Why I Stopped Meal Planning & Canceled Our Grocery Budget

Cutting out our meal plan and grocery budget may seem counter intuitive for a family trying to get out of debt. Especially for a family that consistently goes over budget in both grocery shopping and eating out spending categories.

But, that’s why personal finance is called personal finance. It is never going to be a “one size fits all” plan, and sometimes right in the middle of a well thought out plan, you will suddenly realize the plan isn’t working at all.

I am 3 days in to the New Year and I didn’t anticipate this change to become a permanent part of our financial plan. It all happened rather organically. Please read more to find out the reasoning behind my unusual new strategy.

2017 – The Year of the $50/week Grocery Budget

I started 2017 committed to spending only $50 at the grocery store for our dinners all week. At the beginning of the year, I would only take $50 cash in to the grocery store, and if I didn’t have enough cash for the total I would have to put items back or exchange them for a more affordable alternative.

We stuck with a strict meal plan that looked like this:

  • Sunday – Hot Dogs or Cheeseburgers with French Fries (my “easy” meal for grocery shopping day)
  • Monday – Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms over Egg Noodles or Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli over Penne
  • Tuesday – Tacos or Enchiladas with Refried Beans and Spanish Rice
  • Wednesday – BBQ Chicken Tenderloins or Steak with Mac and Cheese and Veggies
  • Thursday – Spaghetti or Tortellini with Garlic Bread
  • Friday – Favorites (this honestly hardly ever happened)

The problem is we got tired of having the same things over and over again so we would eat out quite often. I also didn’t meal plan for Saturday, that was a designated day to have whatever meal I didn’t prepare during the week because we ate out that day, or we would just eat out on Saturday.

We ate out a lot.

Eating Out and Groceries

I use Tiller to automatically import my bank transactions and to set up my budget for the month. I started doing this in August 2017.

I attempted categorizing my transactions in the past but I found that I had many sub-categories which made the job really hard, so when I started again in August 2017 I decided all restaurant food is “Eating Out” and all snacks from the gas station as well as dish soap and laundry detergent and other household items we needed were “Groceries”.

Before, I had categories called Takeout – Lunch, Takeout, Date Night, and Groceries, Snacks, Pets, and Household. This made it really hard to categorize a Walmart purchase from a week previous, and the Takeout – Lunch categories were also subdivided for myself, husband, and kids. Can you see how the task of categorizing became daunting?

I stopped making lunches for my husband around the same time I stopped making them for my kids. I got tired of my children coming home with soggy untouched sandwiches and crushed bags of chips and cookies. I thought that I wouldn’t make the effort anymore since it was unappreciated and that made me pretty happy.

I now stock up on lunch items for my daughter that she will eat for lunch at school: Campbell’s soup bowls, Easy Mac, Beefaroni cups, Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, etc. My son has moved out.

My daughter is not the issue here (usually) except when she asks for McDonald’s on a particularly challenging or particularly rewarding day at school.

Here’s how the totals look for our “catch all” Takeout and Groceries since I started categorizing and budgeting with Tiller. I budgeted $175 a month for Takeout and about $300 for Groceries ($50 per week plus extra for gas station goodies being added in throughout the month).

  • August 2017
    • Takeout – $179 (This was a good month!)
    • Groceries – $343
  • September 2017
    • Takeout – $172 (Under budget, what?)
    • Groceries – $343
  • October 2017
    • Takeout – $394 (WTF?!)
    • Groceries – $399 (Really how much can a family of 3 eat?)
  • November 2017
    • Takeout – $269
    • Groceries – $578 (How even??)
  • December 2017
    • Takeout – $287
    • Groceries – $453

Well, that was ugly. But I have a plan in place!

Lessons From a Slumlord

That’s a harsh term, and I’m not even sure if this person was in fact a slumlord. But I did learn something from him.

If you are a regular reader and/or a follower on Instagram you know that my mom recently bought her first home. When she closed, she met the seller and he expressed his gratitude to be rid of his rental property. He told my mom that the tenants would leave the water running and the bill would be $600!

My mom was dreaming of her first hot bath in years after trudging through the snow for hours on moving day. She had only had access to a shower when living with my uncle. When she went to take her long awaited bath, she found the water only lukewarm! Strange, because the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink got hot water, just not the tub.

I suspected there might be a safety mechanism in place to prevent scalding of the tenants and potential lawsuits. But to hear my mom tell it, the water was much too cold to even bathe in. Having grown up in apartments in similar conditions I can tell you from experience how a tenant would remedy that. They would boil a bunch of water on the stove, carry it to the tub, dump it in, and repeat the process until they got their bath to a comfortable temperature.

I have a sneaking suspicion I found the reason for the seller’s excessive water bills. He put a plan in place that was meant to save him money but ended up costing him instead!

That is exactly what I was doing wrong. By only allowing the same boring meals, and only $50 a week in groceries, we found our pleasures buying goodies from gas stations, vending machines, and drive-thrus.

A New Strategy

My husband and I went grocery shopping together without a list (egad!) and spent $110. I didn’t complain about what he added to the cart, and I added what I wanted, too: A couple 4 packs of yogurt, some fruit cups, chocolate milk, and most importantly lunch items for the hubby! He has agreed to start taking packed lunches to work again.

I used to get upset with him when he would request extra food because of my strict grocery budget, but now he has asked me to also pack a bagel for breakfast and an extra sandwich. Fine by me. That surely beats the alternative of $14/day on takeout and gas station food!

I only got to eat one bowl of diced pineapples I threw in the cart, and none of the peach yogurt at all. Apparently my daughter is a fan.

The idea here is that if we all have easy access to foods we enjoy at home we will stop looking for fulfillment in more expensive substitutions.

I’ve also been testing out new recipes that make it exciting and fun to cook again. A number of them are slow cooker meals so that I can throw things in the Crock Pot in the morning and have a hot meal when I get home from work.

All is good in the home right now. I hope this is a change we can maintain for the long term. Time will tell if this saves us any money, but at the very least it’s making us all happier and that is something I can’t assign a dollar amount to or categorize in my budget.

January 2018 Navient Review

I made some pretty amazing strides against Navient #9 this past month. It feels amazing knowing the principal is going down, and seeing the way my regular monthly minimum payments are being applied and are already starting to change as a result of my hard work.

On December 1st 2017 my first increased minimum payment of $217.42 applied, and all of it went to interest. On January 1st 2018 $212.76 of my $217.42 went to interest and $4.71 applied to principal.

I’m excited to see how this changes over the next few months as a result of paying Navient #9 off and moving on to Navient #1, both of which are high interest low balance loans.

January 2018 Breakdown Image

Weekly Breakdown

12/8/2017

  • $104.29 Paycheck
  • $31.29 Saved for Taxes
  • $30.00 Gas
  • $50.00 Sent to Navient!

12/15/2017

  • $198.40 Paycheck
  • $59.52 Saved for Taxes
  • $30.00 Gas
  • $100.00 Sent to Navient!

I was bummed this week because I had to stay home for a day due to icy road conditions. My first two orders of the week only paid $7 each with no tips, so I was really upset wondering if all of winter would be this way.

But the next day the roads were much better so I got an order on schedule and was able to pick up an extra promo order that same night.

The weekend was incredibly busy, and I actually broke my record of the most money I’ve ever made in a week with Shipt! Take THAT, snow!

12/22/2017

  • $200.73 Paycheck
  • $60.22 Saved for Taxes
  • $30.00 Gas
  • $ 100.00 Sent to Navient!

Since we had to cancel our trip to Puerto Rico, I had 40 hours of vacation time saved up at my full time job that I couldn’t roll over to 2018. I decided to take off Mondays and Fridays for the rest of the year because those are the busiest Shipt weekdays.

Monday, December 11th had blizzard-like conditions just after I dropped my daughter off at school. I sat around at home dejectedly until it let up around noon, so I took some orders then. At 6pm the conditions got bad again so I stopped. In those 5 hours I made $68.81 plus $20 cash tips! This is in addition to what I was making at my day time job for my paid time off!

Cash Tips

I set aside any cash tips I receive in my Savesaurus Rex box. I’ve never touched them, and I’m not sure how much money is in there currently. My guess is around $100. I don’t really have a plan for my cash tips yet. I might save them until tax time when I see how much if anything we owe to the IRS. At that point I’ll probably combine it with my Savings – Taxes account and make a big payment to Navient.

Part of me thinks I should clean it out December 31st, save 30% of it for taxes and send the rest to Navient. It doesn’t amount to much right now since I just started Shipt in September, but next December 31st should be a whole year’s worth of cash tips assuming I keep Shipting so it could become a sizeable amount. Do you have any thoughts?

Cash Tips

I took that Saturday off to help my mom move in to her new home. If I had worked this day as well, I might have made more than $250!

12/29/2017

  • $162.46 Paycheck
  • $48.74 Saved for Taxes
  • $15.00 Gas
  • $100 Sent to Navient!

This was the week that I decided I was putting Shipt and my student loans over my own family and taking care of my home. I vowed this week to stop doing that.  Read more about my thought process regarding that here.

However, I still had taken time off from my full time job so I decided that I would go ahead and Shipt my regular work hours and not feel guilty about it. But I ended up helping my mom buy and install new appliances in her home a couple days this week so I wasn’t able to Shipt as much as I could have.

Due to that, I made only a little extra money but I also didn’t drive as much so I didn’t need as much gas as usual, either.

At the time of writing this post, December 29th I have just used the last of the vacation days at my full time job while still rolling over the maximum amount of hours I’m allowed for 2018. We should see a big reduction in the amount of money I’m able to put toward Navient every week but we will have a much happier home and better relationships because of it. I’m okay with that trade off.

Recap

I was able to send $350 total extra to Navient in the month of December! Hey, it looks like I finally have the timing and posting of payments worked out. We are down to a balance of $590.06 for Navient #9.

Since I am planning on slowing down the side hustle, I think I will be paying an extra $150 per month from now on. That means it will be around March or April when this loan is paid in full. That’s a little disheartening but like I said above, having a happy home life more than outweighs the disadvantage.

I hope you will join me next month for another review of how I am attacking my student loans.

January 2018 Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our first Net Worth Update for 2018!  I have a big goal this year, but I don’t know if it’s a stretch goal or a delusional one. I think by the end of this year, we might become worthless! I say this because our net worth increases thousands of dollars a month usually. It’s a tall order but we will see what happens.

This month we have a smaller than usual increase in net worth due to the holidays. We cash flowed all our gifts for the first time ever. I actually didn’t expect us to have any money left over but we had an extra $325 at the end of the month that we were able to put on our personal loan!

Please keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the changes in our net worth for January 2018.

SNW Breakdown Image

Assets

The home value decreased a bit this month but that is due to normal fluctuations in the housing market.

I wanted to talk more about the decrease in our Savings – Emergency Fund. You will remember last month that I was putting my income tax savings from Shipt in our Emergency Fund because I didn’t have a designated place for it yet.

We went ahead and opened up 2 new savings accounts, one for my husband’s bonuses and one for Savings – Taxes. I will not be reporting the bonus account as an asset on our net worth updates because my husband needs the freedom to purchase big ticket items from that savings so I don’t want to have my eyes on it. Also, this keeps him from taking money from the end of the month to make those purchases as well! We both win!

We transferred the excess money from Savings – Emergency in to the new account Savings – Taxes and added to it as the month went on and I collected more Shipt paychecks.

Liabilities

Not one increase this month! I do believe that’s the first time ever! Not only that, but I just love to see this side of the chart shrinking. I took off the Equinox since it’s paid in full.

Though I will be adding an account for the next car I get, I can enjoy seeing only 8 debt accounts for a while.

Navient decreased $203; I will have more info about that in an upcoming post next week. I’m waiting for the next bill to post before I detail all the extra payments I made during that bill cycle.

The personal loan decreased $387 thanks to the excess of $325 at the end of December and our regular minimum payment.

Planned Debt Payoff

At the end of January I think we will have nearly $1,000 extra to send to debt. Last month I shared our smallest 3 debts and explained my reasoning from straying from the debt snowball method that we all know and love. I am doing a hybrid plan of:

  1. How much our monthly obligations will decrease by paying the balance in full.
  2. What the interest rate is on all debts that are within “firing range”.

Here are our 3 smallest debts as of January 4, 2018. These are listed in order of the typical debt snowball method, taking in to account balances only:

  • Navient #9 – $590.38 (6.5%)
  • Home Depot – $2,275 (0%)
  • Personal Loan – $2,364 (9.5)

Since I’m already devoting all of the money I make from Shipt on knocking out Navient #9, the excess money at the end of the month I am sending to our personal loan. It has the highest interest rate and nearly the same balance as our 0% debt at Home Depot. Even the payments we send are similar: Home Depot is $175 a month and the personal loan is $150 a month. Therefore we don’t gain much from focusing on Home Depot just because it’s a slightly lower balance. The personal loan eats money!

I think the personal loan will be paid in full by the end of March, but I have high hopes we might be able to get rid of it by the end of February!

Here is my updated list of attack items on my personalized debt payment plan:

  • Personal Loan – $2,364 (9.5%)
  • CP Visa – $3,796 (9.5%)
  • PMI – $5,375 (see below)

In order to get rid of PMI we need to bring our mortgage balance down to 78% of the original value of the home found on our appraisal at the time of our purchase. That amount was $72,000, so we need our balance to fall below $56,160 to get rid of PMI.

Our PMI payment is $54.54 per month, but we would of course keep sending the same mortgage payment that we have been sending all along so that $54.54 would become an additional principal payment.

When I crunch the numbers on Rocket Mortgage’s amortization calculator I can choose only a one-time extra payment, and a repeated extra monthly payment. Given that information I can see that a one-time extra payment of $5,375 made tomorrow would save us $11,760.69 in interest and reduce the term of our loan 54 months (4.5 years).

If I were to send an additional $54.54 a month on top of the $24.52 extra I usually send for the rest of the time we have the loan, we will save $16,137.62 in interest and reduce the term of our loan 106 payments (nearly 9 years).

I can’t find a way to calculate doing both of these things, but I do plan to do both of them! And the good news is, I think we should be able to accomplish all three of the goals outlined above before the end of 2018. Maybe even more!

Conclusion

After paying all of the bills and sending the extra payment to our personal loan, we paid off a total of $1,306 in debt and raised our net worth $701 for a total net worth of $(42,438).

I know my numbers aren’t very impressive this month, but I am proud nonetheless. We moved forward even though we gave at Christmastime with the same generosity as we have in recent years, but with much less stress. We didn’t go in to debt.

Making Changes and Finding Balance

The side hustle has been going well. Very well. So well in fact that I find it is taking over my personal life. I found myself griping at my mother about missed opportunities to make extra money instead of spending time with her. My daughter would sigh dejectedly when I told her I had to hurry to drop her off at home to do an order straight after work and school.

One day last week while waiting to hear back from a customer regarding their substitutions, I texted a close friend: “I feel horrible.” It was true. While I was rushing around the store taking care of someone’s groceries, my daughter and our dog sat alone in a dark house. I was enabling someone to prioritize their personal life over the mundane task of grocery shopping while I prioritized their task over my family. I felt heart sick.

My husband made it home before I did that night, and having had a hard day at work he was grumpy with me when I arrived. I was already feeling melancholy and was defensive and it wasn’t a good mix. We had an argument that night and I can trace it all back to putting my side hustle before my own family.

If you read my posts regularly you know I’m an avid listener of podcasts and reader of personal finance books. One line I heard when listening to The One Thing stuck with me. It was in regards to working at Keller-Williams. They encourage your prioritize your spiritual life and your family and personal relationships over your career. In fact, if you are seen regularly working long hours and putting your career first, the CEOs of the company will start to question you on your priorities.  Why? Because they believe that that behavior is unmaintainable. You are going to drop a ball eventually, and not every ball bounces back. Your family is made of glass. When you drop them they crack, and if you drop them too many times they will eventually shatter.

For that reason, I have decided to slow down with the side hustle.

Paying off my student loan debt is still very important to me so I won’t quit altogether. A few weeks ago my husband and I came to a compromise regarding Shipt. I would work as much as I needed in order to get to $100 (my demand), but no later than 8pm a day (his demand), and I would stay home on his days off (his demand) unless I had not yet made $100 (my demand).

I’m going to change that now to everything the same, except once I hit $100, I stop. This will still allow me to maintain my family relationships and still have the ability to pay off $25-50 per week to my student loans which was my original goal.

From now on, when I make more than $100 I’m going to know that somewhere in that week, I have sacrificed family time, my home, health, safety, or all of the above. I will question my priorities when this happens and especially if it happens repeatedly.

I got star struck when I started getting orders every day, sometimes 2 a day, and breaking $100 to give to Navient every week. But I recognize that this is not a behavior I can maintain in the long run and still have a happy life.

I want to be able to take my daughter for ice cream after school, let her practice her driving (she’s still so slow!), and write blog posts in front of a fire by my husband’s side. Okay, it’s a fake fire but that was a nice image, right?

I feel good about this change. No breaking glass over here.

 

2017 Goal Recap with 2018 Updates

I started out 2017 behind in bills, meaning I didn’t have enough money at the end of the month to pay all the bills that were due the next month.

I’m ending 2017 all caught up and feeling pretty positive about 2018! I came across this article recently.  I had forgotten all about it and was amused as I read over what goals I had planned out for the year.

I thought I’d go over them with you.

Financial

  • Bills caught up approximately by 4/2017
    • Achieved! I’m not sure about the date, but I did eventually become able to pay all of next month’s bills on the last pay day of the previous month.
  • Send extra payment of $175 a month to Navient, focusing on smallest loans first
    • Fail! – I never did end up increasing those payments like I wanted to. I think instead I decided to concentrate on the debt snowball, focusing on one thing at a time rather than spreading all our extra money among many small things. I think that was the right choice! Now I send extra to Navient and I’m finally getting somewhere with this loan.
    • 2018 Goal – Continue to pay $25-$50 a week from side hustle through the year
  • Increase Christmas Club and Vacation Club savings accounts from $5/week to $20/week.
    • Fail! I had a hard time letting go of that money, and now I know that it’s silly to put so much a month in to something that isn’t THAT important. That was an extra $30 a week that went in to savings and eventually to bills and debt instead.
    • 2018 Goal – Continue $5/week automatic transfer to Vacation and Christmas Club savings account. Cash flow any vacations and gifts.
  • Personal Loan sent to 0% interest 18 months balance transfer 4/2017
    • Fail! Do you know I had still not gotten an offer to do that darned balance transfer?! I’m still waiting! At that point it would have cost $101 (3% fee), saved $336.60 in interest, and moved the loan maturation date from 8/2019 to 9/2018.
    • 2018 Goal – Pay off by 3/2018 by paying all extra money at the end of the month to it.
  • CP Visa paid in full 8/2017
    • Fail! We were sending $100/week to this card in an effort to pay it off, but we ended up just swiping away the $100/week again on miscellaneous stuff. We made a change in 2017 and started sending this card $100/month instead and trying to use it less, but it still stays maxed out.
    • 2018 Goal – I haven’t figured the bills out far enough in advance but I know that after the Personal Loan is paid off in March, this CP Visa will be next on the chopping block. I estimate it will be paid off July or August 2018.
  • HHR paid in full by 10/2017
    • Achieved! If I remember correctly we actually paid it off earlier than this.
  • Save $250/mo. for vehicle to replace Equinox lease in 3/2018
    • Fail! – Like with the Christmas and Vacation savings accounts listed above, I decided our money would be better spent tackling high interest debt like the Personal loan and CP Visa.
    • 2018 Goal – Purchase a used car with less than 100,000 miles, 5-8 years old, and preferably around $6,000. We are preapproved for a used auto loan from our credit union of up to $20,000 at 3.49%. I verified that there isn’t a minimum required amount to finance after I was briefly star struck by a $2,995 VW Beetle convertible. 3.49% beats 9.5% (the rate of our CP Visa and Personal Loan) so our money is better spent going toward those debts rather than avoiding financing a used car.

I then went over some ideas what to do next in 2017 as I didn’t have a clear plan. Here they are:

  • Send extra money to mortgage to bring balance below $56,160 and getting rid of PMI payment of $54.54/mo.
    • Fail! I didn’t do anything above sending the regular extra I do every moth.
    • 2018 Goal – This is still an idea I like. I have been toying with the idea of adding it to my debt snowball. At the time of writing this post, I would have to pay $5,499 to do that. Adding this to my debt snowball would be about #3 on the list. I would put it after the Personal Loan and CP Visa, but before my student loans and before any debts with interest rates under 4%.
  • Send extra money to Navient which has interest rates up to 6.55%
    • Achieved! A work in progress.
    • 2018 Goal – Continue working with Shipt and paying $25-50 a week on highest interest, lowest balance accounts first. Start throwing extra money at the end of the month toward these debts after Personal Loan, CP Visa, and maybe the PMI are paid in full.
  • Send extra money to retirement account which would earn 8-10% over next 29+ years
    • Fail! I now know this is a bad idea as long as I have debts that I am paying over 4% interest on. I will focus extra money on those debts first.
  • See a financial planner
    • Fail! I still want to do this!
    • 2018 Goal – Set an appointment with The Financial Gym the next time we go to NYC.

That’s it for Financial Goals for 2017. It’s amazing how my mindset changed over the year, and how much I learned listening to personal finance podcasts and reading personal finance books all year.

Now let’s see what 2017 Me had to say about other areas of my life.

Home Goals

  • Install new interior doors upstairs 4/2017
    • Achieved! We did install new interior doors, we just haven’t sanded and painted them.
    • 2018 Goal – Sand and paint the doors.
  • Purchase high efficiency furnace and central AC with 0% 24 month special financing through Home Depot
    • Achieved! Kind of. We only did the furnace, which allowed us to install a Wi-Fi thermostat which is really fun to set schedules and turn down when we are away from home. However we haven’t been saving any money on our gas bill at all so that’s disappointing.
    • 2018 Goal – Purchase high efficiency central AC with 0% 24 month special financing through Home Depot. I KNOW this one will save us money because our AC died a couple years ago. One of my coworkers happened to have a motor that fit my fan blade even though it ran at a higher horse power than our old motor. We used it last year and our electricity bills were ungodly.

That’s the end of the 2017 Goals Review!

Let’s go over all the 2018 Goals so they will be easy to review next December.

Financial

  • Pay $25-50 a week to Navient earned from Shipt working in this order:
    1. Navient #9
    2. Navient #1
    3. Navient #2
  • Cash flow any vacations and gifts
  • Send end of the month money to Personal Loan beginning 1/2018. Pay in full in or around 3/2018
  • Send end of the month money to CP Visa beginning on or around 4/2018. Pay in full in or around 7/2018
  • Send end of the month money to mortgage to get rid of PMI payment of $54.54/month beginning in or around 8/2018.
    • Will continue to send the same mortgage payment, so additional $54.54/month will go toward principal. This will drastically reduce the term of our mortgage.
  • Send end of the month money to Navient concentrating on highest interest rates and lowest balances beginning in or around 8/2018.
  • Turn in Equinox 3/2018 and purchase used car
    • 2008 – 2012 manufacture year
    • Less than 100,000 miles
    • Between $6,000 – $8,000

 

Home

  • Purchase high efficiency central AC in or around 4/2018 using Home Depot 0% 24 month special financing
  • Small scale kitchen remodel with tax refund money
    • Garbage Disposal
    • Flooring
    • Dishwasher

>1 Year Goals

  • Eliminate any debt with interest rates higher than 4%
  • Minimum payments on any debt with interest rates lower than 4%
  • End of month money divided in half and sent to individual Vanguard Target Date Retirement Funds

I feel really good about these 2018 and further goals! I had a lot of fun reviewing the goals I made just 2 months after I started my debt free journey.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn as I continue to educate myself through reading personal finance books, listening to personal finance and personal development podcasts, and sharing my journey with the debt free community on Instagram.

Thanks for reading and following my journey! You can follow me on Instagram @networthnegative where I share inspirational quotes from the personal finance books that I read and post daily updates on debt elimination and more. I hope to see you there!

Thanks for reading!

XOXO,
Dolores