Let me start by saying I'm feeling much better than I was this time last year. Last year we were in dire straits financially. This year we're much better off. We have been paying off credit cards monthly, are poised to pay off our 401k loan in the first quarter of 2014, just refinanced our mortgage (which will save us $1000 a month), and recently received a nice windfall to finally have a substantial emergency fund. Knowing all this was going to be happening, we had a very nice Christmas. Everyone got what they wanted (and more). While Christmas isn't all about the presents, it did feel good to be able to splurge without having to worry about how I was going to pay the bills. Whatever is left in our account when payday kicks in tomorrow will go into savings as well.
So here are my goals
My plan this year is to use our checking account only for budgeted expenses. Any fun expenses come out of savings. I have two accounts set up already. One will be the emergency fund (equal to 2 months of all expenses to cover emergency house stuff or any other unforeseen circumstances. That account will be replenished with each quarterly bonus check), and another for fun stuff - vacations/ classes for kids/ birthdays/ going out /clothes shopping / big decorating expenses. Those are all the things that killed me in the past, budget wise. So I am taking them out of the monthly budget and will deal with those expenses separately as they come up.
To keep us in this good situation, I plan to keep up to date with our budget, by using mint. I know I've said that in the past but always got so depressed as we were over budget every month. Now that we have more wiggle room, I will make it work.
Contribute quarterly to 529s
As I write this I am 3 miles shy of my goal for the year of running 400 miles. I plan on hitting the treadmill for those last few tomorrow. Next year, I am going for 500 and plan to average a race a month (various distances but I would like to do another half). It's hard to find winter races in Chicago so I may supplement with some virtuals to keep me motivated, and double or triple up in the summer months.
Come up with a new weekly project list. I did this two years ago, and got a lot accomplished. This past year I didn't do it, and it shows. I've already come up with a long list, I just need to figure out what to do when. When you break it up one week at a time, it's a lot more manageable.
Along with the weekly list, I plan on setting goals for the month. This could be bigger projects (like redoing a whole room), mileage or anything season specific
Make a cleaning schedule and stick to it. I came up with one last month and it worked pretty well until Christmas shopping got in the way. Breaking it down to certain rooms on certain days will make it doable.
So that's the plan. I know I can do it, and I want to - the keys to making anything a success. I may not be blogging as much but that means I'm doing something more important for me and or my family.