Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

The Dollar Stretcher Community has a new home!

Feel free to read the great frugal living tips, ideas and discussions readers and community members have posted here. But if you'd like to post something or start a discussion, please click here to go over to our new community site and create an account.

Please contact Brandy@stretcher.com for questions about these forums.



Financial Goals for 2014

Last post Tue, Nov 26 2013 11:41 AM by MRSOBRIEN. 23 replies.
Page 1 of 3 (24 items) 1 2 3 Next >
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 11:50 AM

    Financial Goals for 2014

    I saw in the stretching thread today that people were thinking about their financial goals for next year. I think a lot of us are starting to do that, so I thought it would be apt to start a new thread! What were some positive changes or gains you made this year and what would you like to focus on next year?
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 12:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

    This year, I'm really proud of how much of our student loan debt we paid off. We still have a ways to go, but we started with a huge amount and our goal is to pay off everything in 3 years instead of 10, 25, or even 30 years like some people we know! We had one splurge this year, which was spending a week in Hawaii, but we paid for it in cash and it was to celebrate recovering from a very difficult surgery last year. As for financial habits, we stayed committed to sitting down together and writing out a budget on paper at the beginning of each month. We also made some changes to our habits. We used to put all of our expenses on a credit card for hotel rewards points and then pay off the entire balance every month. But we ran a two-month experiment and found that when we paid for everything with our debit card, we underspent our budget. So we switched over to using the debit for most things and I think we will stick with that next year, although DH wants to put things we're not apt to overspend on back on the credit card (like gas and parking), as well as some fixed recurring payments (electricity and water) so we can keep getting the hotel points. (We have to stay in hotels almost every month for something or other and the points have saved us a bundle in the past). We'll sit down and talk about that. One thing I'd like to find a better solution to next year is tithing. Initially, we started tithing on the card because our church encouraged everyone to start giving on an online auto-pay program. But we realized at some point that Amex was charging a 5% transaction fee to the church for processing the payment and we felt convicted that they weren't getting the whole tithe. Even if we used our debit, it was going to be a 2-3% charge. The church still encourages credit card giving because it provides them with a regular and stable income stream, and it gets people to give who haven't been good about it in the past, but we were going to tithe regularly anyway, so we went back to checks. But that's been a little irritating because our church waits weeks to cash the check and it will come out of our account on some random day when things are a wee bit thin. We always leave the tithe amount sitting in the account, but suddenly it will be withdrawn one day and throw me for a loop. I suppose we could pay the tithe on the card plus a little extra to cover the transaction cost, but that seems silly too. I don't know. We also need to look at some savings goals for next year. This year, we just kept a small emergency fund and threw everything else at our student loans. But now we're starting to talk about making some life and career changes and I'm wondering if we shouldn't start socking some money away. On the other hand, any money that's not going to the loans is costing me in more interest, so I'm torn.
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 1:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

     Good for you MrsO!

    I'm glad you started this thread.  I've reached a couple of major financial goals this year so I've been thinking about what the next big ones should be, and how to break those down by year.  

    I've been living on 1/2 of my take home pay so maybe a goal would be to shave that down to 1/3

    And I intend to cut my food waste...but I'm having trouble figuring a way to quantify that and set shorter term goals as steps to whatever the final goal is.

    And, it's about time for me to rethink retirement and the goals for that so maybe one of my financial goals is to revise my retirement plans and goals.

  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 4:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

    MRSOBRIEN: Well, if your church is so haphazard about cashing checks it doesn't sound like they are too desperate for the money. Maybe ask them to be more regular? Our church has money counters every Monday and it is taken directly to the bank to deposit. Haven't thought a great deal about goals yet so this will be brief. First off one goal is to have our car paid off by March. A 2nd is to accumulate $$$ in contingency fund...probably for health purposes in case we need it.
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 4:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

    Kassy, I'm excited for you guys - having a paid off car is the best feeling. DH and I both have paid off cars and I can't tell you how much I LOVE it. My current (12 year old) car is the first car I've ever owned that was paid off and I'm going to ride it until the wheels fall off because I just can't go back. As for our church, I have no idea what the deal is. I know the financial secretaries count all of the money on Sunday, but I think part of the problem is we have our bank directly mail our tithe check to the church. Perhaps they just don't open mail that often!? DH loves automated payment but perhaps we should go back to writing out a check by hand.
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 4:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

     MRSOBRIEN-I am amazed your church is so slow to cash your checks!  Ours is the same as Kassy; they count on Monday and deposit right after that, definitely by Wednesday of each week.  I though of a solution for you though-does your bank's online bill payment service allow you to send payments to local/small companies that don't have the ability to accept online payments? Mine will print & mail a check to a company I designate (like our local pest control for example).  The service is free and they withdraw the funds from my account when I make the payment request.  If you have a similar service through your bank, that might work.  Then you don't have to worry about when they cash the check or the transaction fees that using a card incurs.  I agree that I don't want any of my tithe to go to credit card companies!

     

    For the topic at hand, my goal remains to pay off all of our debt.  I need to look at numbers closely and see what progress we can make in 2014.  In 2013, we didn't add more debt but we didn't pay much off either.  Some changes have been made in the past few months-I took a part time job and we refinanced our mortgage.  Both of those things have added to our income and we will hopefully start making better progress.

  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 4:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

     Ah, never mind, I see we were posting at the same time and you already use your bank's bill service but it's set up differently and you still have to wait for the check to cash.  That's tricky!

  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 4:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

    We did major spending in 2013: kitchen remodel and a Disney trip (used tax refund to help with that). So 2014 will be the year to build up savings with minimal large spending. Both DH and I are committed to our cars until 2015 and we really don't need to do any major things to our house (knock on wood and say a prayer!). I had a nice raise at work but DH was only COLA. So we have extra to put toward a couple of things:  increase giving to church; increase savings to get back up to our 2012 level and maybe start another vacaction fund.

    I have a feeling we will NOT have a tax refund this year. 2012 was a strange tax year for us with DH having a reduction in income and having 2 kids in full time daycare for part of the year. Things changed in 2013. So we may need to have some cash to pay the tax man in April 2014. So time to start beefing up savings again.

    Erika
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 5:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

    Mamasjob, tax stuff so complicated! DH and I used to file our own taxes but we had a few friends get smacked with unexpectedly huge tax bills the last few years so we decided to start to just invest in a good accountant. We went with the accounting firm that does our church's bookkeeping. The thing that saved us at tax time this year was that we asked our account to run the numbers for us in the fall (paid an hourly fee for labor) to make sure we were saving enough to pay our taxes in April. Turns out we were definitely short and would have been in for a rude awakening! So we had six months to save up the difference and our accountant was grateful that we didn't freak out at them during their busy season from January - April. Its obviously more costly than filing yourself, but we can't say enough about having someone knowledgeable handle that icky mess for us. We also need to figure out our church giving. DH feels God is challenging us to give more next year at the same time that we're thinking about some big life changes, so we'll have to take some time to pray about it over the next few weeks.
  • Tue, Nov 19 2013 5:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Financial Goals for 2014

    We have no debt, so our primary goal is to save aggressively for early retirement. We're hoping to be there in7 years, but it may be longer. DH has a minimum figure he wants to achieve before we retire, probably higher than most people need, but we're planning for future medical expenses with my diabetes. If we lived as frugally as possible we could get there sooner, but life is for living, not spending all your time tied to a job and responsibilities. Jill
Page 1 of 3 (24 items) 1 2 3 Next >

The Dollar Stretcher has a new community!

Feel free to read the great frugal living tips, ideas and discussions readers and community members have posted here. But if you'd like to post something or start a discussion, please click here to go over to our new community site and create an account.

About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us



Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems