Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Financial Goals

I know this is kind of late, but in reality it isn't.  I am a person who usually waits until taxes are done for the year before I worry about planning forward for the year ahead.

A couple of things this year, however, stopped me from this normal pattern.  One:  I found my husband's last pay stub for last year in with a pile of paperwork I found in the car (I'd been searching for it), so while I'm still waiting on the "official" paperwork I was still able to get online and do a preliminary tax return (once I cross reference said pay stub with the tax return and make sure everything jives I'll finalize and submit online).  So I now have a realistic, and depressing, idea of what our tax return is going to be and I can move forward from there.

So, here's what needs to get done for financial goals for this year.

Financial Goals for 2016:
1.  Get first bill paid off for husband's teeth to avoid incurring deferred interest charges and high interest rate (due in April.  Tax return just covers this bill plus about 20.00.  Thus the "depressing" part).

2.  Pay off second dental bill for husband's teeth by December to stop from incurring deferred interest charges and high interest rate.

3.  Pay off daughter's braces as soon as possible to lose the 15% interest rate on said bill.

4.  Pay yearly car insurance for husband's car (due in April/May).  This is about 400.00 every year. 

5.  Pay husband's continuing education and licensing fees, about 400.00.  Due in March.

6.  Pay vehicle registrations on my car and husband's truck.  These are our daily vehicles, so both are needed.  Both are due by June.  440.00 about for both vehicles.

7.  Pay for son's communication app as soon as possible to load onto his communication device, this will be 300.00.

8.  Two winter tires for my car for next winter.  I'm estimating about 500.00 to be safe.
All totaled I have about 9800.00 in residual bills on top of our normal monthly bills and that's after our tax return is applied to the total.  This, to put it simply, sucks.

And the final goal, which I honestly don't know how to do it right now, but "put money back into savings" has got to go on this list even if it seems like a pipe dream at this point.

Some plans I have to combat this and hopefully see the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

1.  Continue to consolidate bills. 
I am going to add my cell phone recharge bill (about 30.00 every three months) to my grocery budget.  This is going to be stretching my grocery budget something fierce with everything else I have on it, but every little bit counts.
2.  Cut down grocery budget.
Yes, I'm doing this AFTER I'm putting my cell phone onto the budget too.  This is going to be hard, but it's one of the only areas in which I have absolute control, so I'm going to see what I can do to save money in that area.
3.  Continue to cut back on utilities.
I've started working hard to keep lights off around here when everyone is gone but me.  I also turn down the heat and bundle up in a sweater or something to stay warm while I do housework.   I make sure to make a nice little nest for our old feline when I do this to help her stay warm and keep her arthritis from bothering her too badly.  I have been unplugging TV's, DVD players and the like during the day and once everyone is asleep for the night when possible to stop those items from consuming energy.  I also have been trying hard to unplug tablets and my laptop when they are fully charged to stop them from drawing energy when not necessary.
4.  Until bills are paid for beginning of year (about 900.00 approx), live off pantry and freezer  as much as possible.  Only pick up bare necessities.
This leads into my "bare essentials" challenge I'm going to be doing around here.  I'll be posting up a basic meal "list" that I'll be drawing from during this time to draw my weekly menu plan from (so far I've got breakfasts and lunches done, but dinners are more dependent on what I have for meat, so I'm trying to figure out how to finalize that). This isn't a pantry challenge, really, as it's just necessary to do to save money to pay bills, but I'll be posting up grocery shopping totals and how it's going as it goes on and giving a pantry update to see how my pantry and freezer hold up during this time.  It might get interesting, but I see no other way around it.  This, honestly, is giving me anxiety as I just got my pantry BACK after living off of it for so long, but at the same time I just plain don't have a choice.  And really that's why we have food storage, so best to use it when you need it.
So, there you go folks.  My goals for this year.  Hopefully the Good Lord will help me work all of this out and help me get by.


  1. I know that you are not looking forward to the "bare essentials" challenge, but I'm looking forward to reading how you do at it. I have a feeling it will come together better than you expect...even if it does get a bit interesting.

    Good luck with keeping on your financial targets this year, Erika. I'm sure you will do and share some amazing things while taking this journey!

    1. It has actually been requiring planning skills the consistency of the Normandy Invasion, I swear, to get the whole plan down. I quickly figured out that I couldn't just set a certain budget per week for groceries that was way less than I use now (like 40.00) as with my son's diet and him still being in nighttime diapers that 40.00 would not go very far at all. At least after a lot of crumbled up paper, a lot of deleted apps and a lot of doodles on margins I think I finally got a good set plan going *laugh*.

    2. I have a homemade notebook full of frugal thoughts, ideas, recipes, etc. copied from books, etc. One of the ideas in there is to plan every grocery shopping trip as if you were planning the Normandy invasion, so I had to LOL when I read your reference to the same : )

    3. LOL! I remember when I did coupons I really did plan shopping like a battlefield with having to shop with both kiddos all the time. I had all stores memorized via the isles and would go through them at a rapid rate while my children snacked on cookies or anything that would keep them occupied.

      Once allergies came along, shopping became more depressing, but easier in the layout as I just ended up having to shop the perimeter of the store all the time. Glad I have more options than that anymore :).

  2. You are pretty amazing! You have made " gold from straw" before, you will do it again:) ( reference to a fairy tale).
    Check on the winter tires. Sometimes you need all 4 for the vehicle to drive safely. You have good lead time possibly a set with rims will come up on CL. I have seen them when people sell a car but do not sell the winter tires. Best wishes in your search in this area.
    What a blessing you gave your daughter with her braces. I don't know the back story but I do know a few adults who were unable to have them as a children and sought them out as adults.
    If the app is Prolouge 2 (spelling?) it sometimes comes available on World Aautism Day or reduced in price during Autism Month in April. What did the school say about funding it? How do kids with other communication aids( hearing) get funding? Or maybe they don't. You are such a warrior mum I'm sure you have checked this all out. I am newish to your blog.
    Best wishes, you will chip away. You have great homemaking skills that save so much!

    1. With the winter tires, my winter tires are actually only a couple of years old and in good shape. It's my summer tires that are the problem as I have two that are pretty much bald at this point. So, my husband (lucky him ;) gets to pull the studs from the two winter tires that have just plain lost a lot of them due to lack of snow the past couple of winters and I'll be using those as my new summer tires. My husband's dad worked as a tire guy for Firestone for years, so when he told use the tires would be fine, I'm confident that they'll be okay. Thank you for thinking of me though as I know exactly what you are talking about with tires.

      As for winter tires...I've been looking on Craig's list, but haven't found much. It seems my tire size is a bit funky compared to the tires that are readily available, so I'm out of luck there. Even Amazon doesn't have winter tires that will fit my car, which stinks because Amazon is SO much cheaper to buy tires from.

      My daughter had to get braces because she had a 70% cross bite on top, which was going to impact her ability to chew correctly. We didn't even think about not getting them when we heard that. The process is even going better than expected, so we're happy :).

      Pro Lo Que 2 Go isn't the app my son needs, unfortunately (well I guess fortunately really as at least he's past picture exchange for communication purposes). He needs Lamp Words 4 Life, which is a motor memory based communication program. He's doing wonderful on it and is babbling more and more as he uses it, so I really want to get it in plenty of time for the school speech therapist to program the I-PAD mini with the app settings the school has him on before school is over for the summer. Then his independent speech therapist and I have a good platform on which to start working intensively during the summer months :).

      With Alaska state Medicaid they don't cover anything electronic, especially IPAD based things as they claim that the child can put games on said device and therefore it won't jive. I've heard this is a lot different in some other states, but that's what we have to live with up here, so I could try and get a mini grant (terribly long and pain in the behind process) or just plain pay for said stuff. I'd rather pay and know we'll get it :).

    2. Erika, do you have groups like Shriner's club, Lions club or something like them in your area? TG's comment made me think of this. You can write to these clubs to request help to fund buying the equipment you need for a disabled child. Write them a letter explaining why the equipment is necessary and that you are having difficulty financing it due to low income. They may be willing to give you a donation towards the purchase of the program. It's definitely worth a try!

  3. Good luck, I'm impressed by your resourcefulness on your blog. You've mentioned looking for a part time job before, but have you thought of mystery shopping? I work full time and don't do a lot of shops, but last year still managed to get about $1,000 in fees and $2,000 in reimbursements. I will do them for my daughter to get her fix on fast food and to allow us to occasionally go to restaurants. I also get oil changes and car washes as well as pick up grocery stores and gas station/convenience stores. It is not great money by any means and sometimes you have to wait a while to get paid/reimbursed, but it is a little extra and the reimbursements help with my budget. I also do phone shops occasionally. Check out jobslinger with your zip code to see if there are shops out there for you. Mystery shop forum has a lot of info and a list of companies -

    1. Thanks. I'll check into it. Last time I checked on mystery shopping there was like no interest in Alaska at all, so I'm curious to see if that has changed over the years :).

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  6. HI Erika, I am assuming that you have a tracfone or something similar since you said you needed to recharge it every 3 months. My hubby and I both had tracfones with double minutes but recently there was a sale on the tracfones with triple minutes. It was cheaper for us to get the new phones with the triple minutes than to have to buy phone cards more often. If this is the case for you, maybe keep an eye out for the triple minute phone deals. :)

    1. I actually have a phone with triple minutes. I did the math and when they first came out with them I went on Amazon and found one for 27.00 in the "smart phone" looking design (before they came out with their own). I love it :).

  7. I had done a 2016 plan back in December, but the $2000 in vet bills for December and January and the $1500 for the lift station pump and pump installation have pretty much destroyed my plan. Well, that and the unexpected command appearance my MIL wants for Christmas in Hawaii this year. She says she will pay the condo rent and the grandchildren airfare, but this 'gift' will cost us about $3,500. I have been there before, didn't like it (so noisy and expensive), and would never choose to go back but she wants all the siblings and grandchildren to be there. She is getting older, blah, blah. If she just wanted to see us, we could drive to her house for a few hundred. In any case, that's about $7000 that wasn't included in my annual plan which was fairly tight anyway. I am anxious to have enough information to get my taxes done. I have my fingers crossed that we will get some back this year instead of paying. I just hope we can have a bit of time before the next huge unexpected expense! I was kind of panicking as I took money out of savings yesterday, knowing that I'm going to have to pull even more out soon. Plus, the 'savings' I pulled from was really a debt payoff account. My car has 0% interest rate, so I've been putting money in an account to pay it off where I could make a tiny bit of interest. I had to buy new tires for my Highlander in October. They were $1000 and the car only had 26,000 miles on it but the tires were seriously getting bald and I knew I couldn't handle the winter weather with those tires. There is a huge difference with the new tires. Before I was slipping on everything! I think your cost estimate on that is good. I will be cheering you on! After I saw your 2015 results, I know you can do this!