Our New Financial Goal...It's A Doozy!
Okay, I’ve been thinking that dh and I need a financial goal. There are three major areas of our home that need major repairs: two unusable fireplaces due to damage in the chimney that not only render the fireplaces unusable, but also lets cold air down into the house in the winter; a large, floor to ceiling front window in the living room that is not well-sealed, broken in some places, ugly, and lets in breezes and water; and a master bathroom that has a mold problem that I am convinced is getting us sick frequently, is hideous to look at, and that doesn’t even really function properly.
We made a conscious decision not to touch our stocks or our 401k or 403b because we want a secure future, however, these are not cosmetic house repairs. They will improve the value of our home and make us a lot happier and will help reduce the bills in other areas, heating and cooling primarily. So, we need an alternate plan because the bathroom, window and chimney still need to get done.
So, I proposed to dh that we start with a plan to save $10,000 by June 2009. We have a special bank account that we’ve been using for my tuition, and we’ll continue to do this. After just paying my fall tuition, we are down to $200 in that account. Also, this year, we’ll have $7,000 of tuition bills coming in that we won’t be reimbursed for so, we need to realize that it’s really more like trying to save $17,000, since approximately $7,000 will come out of that account for grad school and won’t be reimbursed.
I think we can do it. I know I’ve written before how we are living paycheck to paycheck. However, a few things happened recently that will help our situation:
1. I get a small raise in September. Not much, just a few bucks on each paycheck as I move along the salary guide, but it’s something.
2. Dh has always contributed the maximum to his 401k, however, he just got notice that he was about to max out for the year (you are only allowed to contribute a certain amount per year and he is going to hit that limit if he continues to contribute 21%, but by lowering to 20%, he’ll be fine) so we reduced to 20% and it’s a few more bucks in his paycheck as well.
3. Dh will get his merit raise in March…toward the end of our goal, but still.
4. We switched ds#2 to ds#1’s daycare because he’s finally old enough to go (2 and ˝) and not only was it less money to begin with, but we also get a 10% discount on his tuition because we now have 2 children there.
We need to seriously start looking at things to sell on eBay and SecondSpin. This isn’t where we are going to make mega bucks, but every little bit helps. We have cd’s that we NEVER listen to that we can sell, because we can just download the songs we like to our iPods. I’m sure there are some knick-knacks around that can go, even though we aren’t really knick-knack people. My piano money will all go in there. Tax returns, etc will go in there. We can even put a portion of birthday/Christmas money that comes in this year in there (not all of it, because we deserve nice treats for ourselves as well). We can transfer some money from our main checking accounts in there if we keep our other bills as low as possible.
Here’s what I think we do well:
•We have a shared commitment to this goal
•We’ve taught our children good money management skills and they don’t have the “gimmes”
•Utilize the library for dvd’s and kids books
•Pack all lunches from home
•Cook homecooked meals and not eat out (on our dime)
•Teach piano for extra income
•Freecycle to get things that we need (like J’s fabric scraps…it’s a great hobby and we’ve made it free)
•Sew ripped clothing to make it last longer
Here are things we can improve on: (feel free to add)
•Find cheaper/homemade healthy snacks for lunchboxes and home
•Reducing our grocery bills (means we may need to get more creative with our meals…we can hack it…smaller meals means smaller waistlines, too)
•Hang dry all of our laundry (just need that outside line)
I’m thinking in terms of mini-goals to help us achieve the grand goal of $10,000 in the bank.
$200 per month AT LEAST goes into that special account. Obviously, we’ll put more in, but we must put in at least $200 a month
Keep our Amex under $750 per month, which includes our groceries, which brings us to:
Groceries under $350 per month. Diapers, paper products, and all other items included. Just need to get creative.
I am tired of sitting around and not taking action on the house. If we aren’t going to use the money we already have to fix it up, and we aren’t going to borrow, then we need to set aside other money for it and this is the best plan that I have.
For accountability purposes, I’m going to keep adding to this thread for our progress and will put a place in my signature to show the monetary progress as well.
We leave for vacation on Saturday and won’t be back until August 16th, so that is the date that we will begin. I’m home for 2 weeks prior to school starting again, and so I will use that time to begin with scouring the house for things to sell to get us kick-started.
Wish us luck!!!