>> Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We had high hopes for our finances in 2009. My husband was back at work after 3 months of unemployment. And even though our income had been significantly slashed, we knew we had the tools to recover and rebuild. We were not counting on unexpected medical bills, another job loss, a move and having to pay rent and a mortgage.
Here are the original goals we set for ourselves:
1) Pay off my husband's car.
2)Make monthly "car payments" into a car savings account each month.
3)Build our emergency fund up to six months of living expenses.
4) Continue our normal contributions to retirement savings.
5) Paying extra on our mortgage.
6)Save $1000 to cover all expenses for next Christmas.
7)Finally, by the end of the year, we plan to evaluate our savings plan and find a way to begin saving for college expenses.
So how did we do?
1) Well, the car was paid off in January and that has been a huge help to us as we were able to navigate all the financial challenges a little better with no car payment.
2)We attempted the monthly car payment but were not able to do that every month.
3)Our emergency fund has been greatly reduced over the last few months.
4) We've not added anything to our IRA is the last few months.
5) We stopped paying extra on our mortgage when we realized we would have to sell the house.
6) We saved about 3/4 of the money we'd planned to save for Christmas and were able to stick to the reduced budget.
7) We were never able to address the college savings this year.
Looking back, I'm so thankful for all the tools that helped us navigate a challenging financial year. I have no doubt God provided us with the wisdom and resources we needed. In 2008, we learned to make and stick to a buget from Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover which is still a favorite resource of mine. I had also become a coupon shopper which had allowed us to greatly reduce our grocery budget. We also learned to say no to more stuff and find contentment with what we had.
As we look forward to 2010, the immediate outlook is more of the same. Until our house sells in Kentucky our finances are going to be very tight. Our income covers our basic expenses. Things like clothing, entertainment, travel to visit family, gifts, etc. are not part of the budget and will have to come from any extra income I am able to generate. But I have to say, it's kind of exciting to know that once the house sells we are going to be able to really save knowing just how little we really need to get by on.
So there are no big, grand financial goals for 2010 at this time. Currently our three goals are:
1) Sell our house.
2) Stay within our current budget so we don't have to deplete our savings any further until our house sells.
3) I need to find ways to generate extra income to cover the extras as well as best utilize coupon shopping for the things we need.
Once our house sells, we will revisit our budget and financial goals.
If you are new to budgeting and living frugally, I will be sharing a post soon on how to set up a budget that works for your family so stay tuned.