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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Staying on Budget

Well, 2017 was a bit of a spendy year for us. We are lucky that Jim has an income that allows me to stay home and to pay cash for our purchases. We pay off any credit card balance each month and have done so for almost 10 years now. We had a lot of credit card debt early in our marriage when we were starting our family. We hated the feeling of it, but we chose for me to come home once we had children. Once I started working, we paid off our debts and made a promise to never carry a balance again.

Both of our children are in college and so a chunk of savings goes to that each year. I am happy to say that we will be done paying for college in 2018 ... woo-hoo! We plan to start Roth IRA accounts with that money in 2019. Then, I had my tummy tuck. Jim purchased a used motorcycle with my encouragement. He had one before children arrived and I had always told him that he could get another once they were out of high school. He enjoys a ride most weekends! We took a vacation to Vermont and that was so worth every penny. We had the best time and are already looking forward to making plans to get away from life a little in 2018. Not sure yet where we will go, but Jim loves the beach and we haven't been to one in a long time. I also stocked a craft room full of yarn! I went a bit overboard, but now I can just go to my shelves and pull down yarn whenever a project strikes me. I have to say that it is so difficult to avoid buying yarn ... the variety and beauty of it calls to me!

Soooooo, 2018 is all about getting back on track! I plan to be as focused on this as I am on my health. We need to replenish our emergency fund and start saving to pay off our mortgage. Our goal is to pay it off by the end of 2020. We get no tax benefits from keeping a mortgage and we just want to be out from under the debt. I have been doing pretty good managing my impulse to buy stuff. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone and nothing major was purchased. Now, I just have to keep that focus in 2018.

To help me, I have our budget in an Excel spreadsheet and I keep track of all income and expenses on it. That way, I can see at a glance what our current situation is. We do have a couple of home improvement projects that need to be tackled. We don't plan on retiring in this home, but it will need some updating in the kitchen and bathrooms to help with a future sale. However, those projects are not in the budget at this time. We will be working on the front landscaping in 2018 as we pulled out all of the bushes this past spring and never did anything else! Oh well, ....

I am looking forward to working on my frugal ways again. We have gotten off track with that, but 2018 is a new year with a renewed focus on the budget. I know we can do it!

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