Tags Posts tagged with "2009 Goals"

2009 Goals

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The guy doing most of the cutting...Sometimes you feel the momentum building up behind you and you just have to go with it.

That’s how having these enormous trees taken out as we speak is making me feel.

There are a bunch of french guys out there working for me and making my house “better” which, in turn, raises my standard of living.

If feels pretty good, you know?

It has me thinking that I should just go all out and get a contractor in here to do up the first floor.

Maybe even get the oil tank out of the basement while they’re at it. And I should get things rolling on that “tear down the garage and build a brand new one” idea I tossed around last year…

Okay, perhaps that’s a little much… I don’t have *that* much momentum…

But I still have that itch to go all out and just get all of these costly renovations just plain out of the way and in the rear view mirror without worrying too much about how to pay for them…

Sure, you could pull any number of scenarios from when I said I’d considered lowering or eliminating my 401k contribution — something I still haven’t done yet.

Doing something drastic there would definitely make things easier to finance.

And Grant, who pops in pretty regularly with well thought out comments, had a great suggestion too. Take an extended break from my crazy mortgage payment schedule and instead save up to do everything I want to do next year.

Sure, it’d push back paying off the mortgage by around a year but it would also give me a much nicer living situation a lot sooner…

And thinking about it…between December of 2007 and July of 2007 while still struggling with my credit card balances, I spent over $40k on home renovations.

Less than a year later, I was debt free.

I can totally do this.

The problem is finding a contractor…

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Pay off the house?Well, we’re six months into the year now and I’m really starting to regret not setting some concrete financial goals for 2009.

At the onset, I really only had two goals for this year.

  1. Find a contractor to gut and remodel the entire first floor of my house. New kitchen, new bathroom, new floors, new walls, and new ceilings throughout.
    Preferably, I’d like to have the project nearing completion by May 2009.

  2. Pay for all of the work done by the end of the year. Realistically, we’re going to have to find financing for a great deal of the work and, again, I’ll probably use my credit cards for most of it.

Well, my second goal can’t happen without the first actually happening. And we’re beyond May 2009 and we’ve made zero progress on that. Hmph.

It’s not that I’m stuck in the mud or anything, I’m just not aiming towards anything either. There isn’t any excitement to be found on my spreadsheets of late… (How nerdy does that sound?)

Of late, I’ve fallen back on an old habit, debt repayment, to try and salvage the year. My only remaining debt is the mortgage so I’m attacking it like I did my old credit card debts.

See, while I’d love to have the first floor of my house remodelled, I dunno, for some reason it doesn’t excite me the way that not having a mortgage payment does — and when the time comes that I don’t have a mortgage payment, well, that’ll free up a lot of money for all of the remodelling I could possibly dream of.

That’s how I’m looking at it now anyway… (Apparently, I was thinking this way back in January too.)

So how soon can I get there?

I put together a chart this morning detailing when my mortgage will be paid off and how much of an extra monthly payment I’d need to make to get it there.

I went in increments of $250 all the way up to $2500. Yeah, $2500 per month extra. That’s crazy buy when I was at the height of my credit card repayment, I was sending VISA and MasterCard just shy of $2500 each month.

I could afford it then so there isn’t any reason I can’t afford it now — though at the time I was throwing every last penny towards it and somewhat struggling to have enough in my checking account to cover the bills as a result…

Mortgage Prepayment ScheduleLooking at the chart — if I just pay the minimum, the mortgage will be paid off in September of 2026. Seeing as I’ve never paid just the minimum on my mortgage, this isn’t a scenario I’m looking at…

I mean, in September of 2026 I’ll be turning 50. I can’t imagine still owing money on something that I bought when I was 25. I just can’t imagine that.

Really, the first few rows of the chart don’t interest me at all. I know people say that every little bit helps, I say it too, but I think that this chart proves that every “a lot” of bit really helps.

On the other side, the last few rows look a little too lofty. They also don’t seem to make enough of a difference to the end date to justify how much we’d struggle financially to make the payments in the first place.

The $1250 mark is where things start to look attractive to me with the end date of May 2014. For another $500 per month, we could fast forward things over a year.

In that scenario, my house will be paid for in less than 4 years?!

Can I delay the first floor remodel for 4 years? Probably not — I’m not really sure.

At the very least, we’d need to have “some” work done between now and then. Maybe not the remodel I picture in my head just yet but, either way, it’ll slow our progress towards this goal some.

So, for the remainder of the year, I’m going to attack the mortgage like it’s a nasty credit card balance.

I won’t throw every penny at it but I’ll be sure to fall somewhere between $1250 and $1750 each month.

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My brain hurts.A simple yes or no answer will suffice.

Over at the Happy Rock, Debt Destroyer lists out his monthly expenses and every month I think to myself, “Man, that guy spends a lot…”

I’ve even left a comment a few times saying almost exactly that.

But does he really spend a lot?

Obviously, his numbers always seem high to me so I’m pretty convinced that he spends a fortune each and every month but, honestly, I’ve never really kept great track of my own spending — just my plus/minus.

In short, I’m going to give it a try.

I think I had a pretty expensive February, so these numbers might be a little bit higher than usual, but maybe not…

  • $1350.00 : Mortgage
  • $897.20 : Auto Insurance
  • $498.00 : Hockey Jerseys
  • $327.08 : Natural Gas
  • $320.00 : American Cancer Society
  • $154.72 : Electricity
  • $123.62 : Business Expenses
  • $109.26 : Cable/Internet
  • $98.67 : Water/Sewer
  • $62.00 : Clothing
  • $60.00 : Valentine’s Day
  • $59.40 : Phone
  • $38.87 : Gas
  • $20.15 : E-Filing
  • $14.97 : Finance Charges (GRRRR!!!)

That adds up to $4133.94!

Holy crap.

DD’s tally for January was $4205.68 — just a tad more than me!!!

I’m actually quite surprised that I’m right there with him… and to think people gave him a hard time, myself included, over a $180 Pearl Jam box set and here I am dropping nearly $500 on hockey jerseys.

(In reality, I dropped over $800 on hockey jerseys as the American Cancer Society donation was in fact a charitable donation for, well, a jersey…)

It’s complete madness.

The only good thing I can take from this analysis is that, as I said, this was an expensive month for me.

It’s not like I drop $897.20 on auto insurance each month. And the $818 spent on hockey jerseys, as lame an excuse as it sounds, was a much needed splurge.

Subtract those two from the picture and my expenses for the month were only $2418.74.

I say that like it’s nothing… Crazy, I tell ya…

And, technically, I could even take it a few steps further and take out the water bill (it’s quarterly), Valentine’s Day, the e-filing fee, and the finance charges.

And really, with the weather warming up, the gas and electricity bills be be cut in half (or more) in a couple of months.

So I guess it’s all good news for the months ahead.

Either way, though, my short term goal for March will be to keep my expenses under $2500…

According to Microsoft Money, I haven’t accomplished this since April of 2001 — not even close. That blows my mind.

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Some New England style house...The lack of a financial goal for 2009 is sorta making me worry… I mean, I set all of those very specific financial goals for 2008 and worked hard all year long and pretty much accomplished them all.

This year, I’ve got nothing.

I’m saving up for a home improvement project without a price tag.

It’s too, um, fluffy for my tastes.

So, in a desperate search for something more specific that I can keep track of — and after reading Frugal Dad’s resolution about downsizing his home (and concluding that while it will work out well for him, it would be a horrible idea for me), I’ve been toying with the idea of hitting the mortgage hard.

Over the past two years, my debt attacking strategy has knocked around $25k per year off of my combined debt balances. At a pace like that — now, finally, with no other debt besides the mortgage — I could theoretically pay off the house in 4 years.

I mean, just last year, when I set out to overpay the mortgage by $6100, I instead ended up knocking $11k off of the principle, almost double, while still paying down the credit cards and an auto loan.

I can totally “afford” to do this.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s dumb to pay off your mortgage early… But I think it’s even stupider to downsize a home that you can easily afford, while likely taking a loss on it as well.

Now, Frugal Dad intends to pay off his future mortgage (for the smaller home) in 10 years time. Maybe that means that I didn’t fall into the bigger is better trap of the last decade because, if I pay mine off in the next 4 years, I’ll essentially be paying it off in 10 years as well.

Regardless, the thought of being just 36 years old and owning my home free and clear (with no other outstanding debt) kind of outweighs the stupidity of it all. Different strokes for different folks.

Still on the fence about it though…

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Pierre CullifordI suppose it’s time to set and log some goals for 2009…

When I set my goals for 2008 back in December of 2007, I thought they were a little lofty but somehow I managed to tackle every one of them.

The only one still remaining is the $10k in savings, which isn’t likely to happen after my Black Friday episode, but it’s still a possibility, albeit dim.

Even if I don’t manage to achieve that one, I’m still far ahead of where I was at this time last year. Far ahead.

My goals for 2009 aren’t going to be as specific as my goals for 2008 were.

I don’t have any debts worth paying down at an accelerated rate anymore and, while I’m still struggling to get a grip on how to save money more efficiently, I think I’ve made HUGE strides in the past year.

Just having a few months worth of expenses up your sleeve, or in an ING account, really does take a load off of your shoulders. I didn’t think it would, but it did.

So here are my ultra-vague goals for 2009 that will be all but impossible to track throughout the year with colourful side-bar graphs:

1. Find a contractor to gut and remodel the entire first floor of my house. New kitchen, new bathroom, new floors, new walls, and new ceilings throughout.

Preferably, I’d like to have the project nearing completion by May 2009.

2. Pay for all of the work done by the end of the year. Realistically, we’re going to have to find financing for a great deal of the work and, again, I’ll probably use my credit cards for most of it.

That said, I’ll have to cross my fingers that I don’t receive more “Change of Terms” letters like the one I received from Citibank earlier this week. That would be bad.

So far, we haven’t really done much in regards to these goals.

We’ve briefly researched a few general contractors, two of which I’m all but certain we’ll seek out for quotes when we’re ready to get things started financially, but I can’t, for even a second, claim that we’ve looked very hard or even thought about exactly what we’d like done.

On the financial front, we’re saving like we’ve never saved before while also reading the fine print on every credit card convenience check offer that comes in the mail — just waiting for the right offer and when it comes, we’ll be sure to take full advantage just to have the cash in our hands and readily available.

The 100% credit card financed method has worked in the past so I’ve little doubt that it will work for us again.

So that’s it.

Pretty short list this year but pretty lofty at the same time…

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The Cat’s Out of the BagI’ve been living in squalid conditions for over a year.

Rice and beans, beans and rice, right?

I was too “busy” paying down my debt to notice, right?

Cutting corners, you know, to save money?

That’s how I can justify how horrible that room looks…


Well, not exactly.

While I am horribly ashamed of that photo of the entry way to my home, the rest of the house isn’t like that at all.

If it were, I mean, dontcha think I’d be a prime candidate for the police to come barging through the door with a camera crew in tow for a taping of the show Cops?

The setting is almost too perfect. All it needs is a plaid couch with cigarette burns in the cushions and domestic beer cans strewn randomly about the floor…

My crime would be driving without a front license plate. (Did you know that they’re required?)

“Suspect is a white male of average build. Last seen driving a late model BMW in the vicinity of Gargamel’s castle…”

But now that I’ve shamed myself on the internet (what was I thinking?), it’s time to get things moving on this room (and entire first floor, while I’m at it) and set up a budget for 2009 to pay for it all, which I’ll start in November.

In the months ahead, I have one bill to pay that will likely be paid from my savings account. My horrible homeowners insurance premium is $902 (ouch!) and it’s due on December 18.

Aside from that, though, the month-to-month finances should remain consistent from here on out. No trips planned, no weddings scheduled, no huge holiday expenditures on the horizon, and we never really spend much for our birthdays (which are in the summer anyway). Basically, it’s an empty schedule.

Also, in an effort to speed things up even more, I’m going to try to get my wife on board — wipe out her credit card and boost her savings. A lot.

But my savings need the most work…

Resorting back to what worked so well while paying down debt, I realize that the only way to go is to make it automatic and then, if anything is left over, keep throwing that on to the pile too.

At the height of my pay down, it wasn’t unusual for me to make 7-8 payments to the same creditor in a week’s time. I’ve got to grow my savings the exact same way. If I find $5 in my winter coat pocket, that’s enough to initiate a transfer. Just do it.

So what’s my ultimate plan?

I’d like to be able to save up at least 1/3 of the cost of the remodeling cost before we get started. I’m not saying that I’ll use it all at the onset of the project, but for peace of mind, if nothing else, I want to have it available before I commit myself to such a huge debt load.

The remaining 2/3 would be financed on credit cards.

I know, I know, if you’re new to this site, that must sound crazy. Who’s willing to charge that much?

Well, that’s the method we used on the siding project and it was a whole lot more cost effective than the more common home improvement loan route we took for the roof the year before.

If you’ve got the right cards, the right offers, and a zero balance, you can borrow tens of thousands of dollars at well under 5 percent. No bank or contractor can offer financing that approaches that.

So, to begin, I’m going to continue the auto savings plan I started this month where I’m transferring $400 per month into an ING savings account. I may not reserve it for a vehicle purchase anymore, but I’m not going to cancel the transfer series either.

I was also planning to step up my extra mortgage payments from $50/week to $165/week to keep me on pace to have the mortgage paid off by 2015, but now, instead, I’m going to send that to my savings account plus what I would have been contributing to my savings account anyway and all of my passive income.

All together, on a good month (you know, when my clients actually pay their invoices), that would be around $2310 going in to savings right off the top. That’s freakin’ huge.

Basically, almost $10k every 4 months.

Sounds lofty. Borderline un-realistic.

Probably is.

I’m not really sure, I’ve never not had huge bills to pay…

The plan starts next week.

Can You Dig It?


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