As we close out the year, I wanted to check in on a few things:Made one extra mortgage payment and switched to biweekly mortgage payments. This alleviates our higher interest rate and will reduce the interest we pay over the life of the loan. I don’t plan to sell this place (I wouldn’t make extra payments if I did).
Did not max out my 401k. I spent a lot of money this year and didn’t prioritize saving. That’s changing this year, as my husband is finally onboard with weekly savings goals (a first for both of us). Maxing it out means $692 per paycheck, before taxes (assuming 26 paychecks per year).Did not max out my Roth IRA. However, this was the first full year of contributing to it on an automatic, biweekly basis, so this is another goal for next year. Maxing it out means $192 contribution per paycheck, after taxes (assuming 26 paychecks per year).
Switched to bringing lunch everyday and carpooling. This has been pretty great. I get cash from my carpool buddy and reduced my spending during the week by at least $20. What I bring to lunch isn’t always super-healthy (sometimes I bring ramen and a piece of fruit) but in the long run it definitely is healthier.Focused on big financial wins. A couple of things became reality this year in my career and finances that I have aimed for for a long time. While I still need to be smart and stay out of debt, my new focus is upping my professional career and position.
In 2015, I have a few money and personal goals:Take care of myself. In 2014, I learned a lot about myself and things I’ve glossed over most of my life. I tend to focus outward and ignore what’s going on with myself. I am focused on still being who I am while enjoying giving to others (and not making it feel like a chore or duty, but doing it because I want to).
Increase and diversify income. This is always on the list.Contribute $18,000 to 401K. It’s no small amount to me!Make one extra mortgage payment and continue biweekly payments.Increase automatic monthly savings and Roth IRA contributions. This should total at least $400 per month, and I’d like to increase it each month.Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Here and elsewhere. I’m also working on making a real name Twitter (but no LinkedIn or anything else) and want to start writing in my own name on topics related to my work and just general writing. Writing is the only way I truly organize my thoughts, vision and even my understanding of things. If I’m not writing, I better be doing something else creative.
100 hours of service. I’ll close out 2014 with 9 hours of community service and I’m ready for more.
2014 was quite a year. Awesome stuff happened, but there was also way more stress than I would have liked and I think I handled it OK, but not great. On the surface, I did good. But I killed myself inside with worry and anxiety. But in the last few months, I started finding my flow again and remembering all the things I love to do and still need to do. Here’s to living each day in 2015 with an open mind, a calm heart and a giving hand.