Looking back at our 2018 goals, we accomplished all but one-ish:
- Debt reduction: In 18 months, we reduced our debt by $43k!
- Travel: we travel hacked and used rewards points for a family trip to the Bahamas
- We’re still maxing out all pre-tax contributions
- This is where we didn’t quite accomplish our goal: we haven’t been too prescriptive about saving more for the kids. We kept the 529s the same at $100 per month and did open separate investment accounts, but only put a little money in there. Once we’re out of consumer debt and the HELOC, this will be a focus.
- Lowered wireless bill: we’re saving over $800 per year with our change to Total Wireless
Wins are fun, so I’ll start there. In 2018, all three of our properties have increased in value! According to both RedFin and Zillow, they’re up. That’s a satisfying – and easy – lift in net worth on Personal Capital. But there are some big variations in values between those two and I’m going to look into why. Expect a post on that.
So, the hole. I feel like it’s been slow progress on debt reduction, but looking at the past 18 months since we’ve started down this path, we’ve reduced our debt by $42,901. That comes to $2,383 per month. That’s a lot of money! This includes our consumer debt, home equity line of credit and mortgages. All of our optimizing has really paid off – it truly is the aggregation of marginal gains.
Keeping up the momentum in 2019:
- We’ve just consolidated our final two credit cards into one 0%, $0 transfer fee card – it’s under $15k, so we’ll knock that out quickly.
- Then ramp up the HELOC payments and transfer some of the balance to a 0% APR to ease the interest being charged (>$200/month – UGH).
- The car payments are 1-2%, so we’ll let those loans run their course. These monthly payments will avalanche to …
- Increase payments on the lowest of the three mortgages; I will re-map the payment schedule once we’re at this point.
All too often though, we (probably me) fall off the FI wagon and succumb to big spends. Some we plan on, others are not planned. Planned on:
- 2018 Income Taxes: With the changes in tax laws, we think we’ll be paying around $3k. This wasn’t planned on, but now we know, so I’m calling it planned. This was due to the new property tax deduction cap of $10k.
- Summer Camps: we enrolled before November to take advantage of the early bird discount (saves $30 per week; with 2 kids for 8 weeks, that’s a savings of $480)
- Finish exterior painting: about $800 remains
- Little League: travel team + regular season = >$1000. The payments are spread out, but still, it’s a lot of money for a kids sport and that doesn’t include equipment!
- Monthly expenses for after-school childcare and music lessons will remain the same through June.
I wonder what large unplanned spends we had in the past 18 months? I’m sure there are many – look for that post in the near future!