I would like to write a post about all the things I hope to accomplish in 2017 but I’ll save all that for a later post. This is a big enough goal that I want to focus this post solely on this topic.
My goals for writing a consistent blog last year, obviously, failed. I never wanted it to be something that I really felt tied to though. I don’t need something else in my life to feel guilty about not completing. Just want it to be a creative outlet if I feel so inspired.
Like now and being inspired to share our 2017 journey with people. I’d like to spend less time on Facebook but still want to be able to share our adventures with people. We’ll see how this works and how it is received. Make sure to comment letting me know what everybody thinks! What you want to know or what you don’t care for. I’m curious about the readers thoughts on things.
Onto our goals. Every year for the past few years Isaac and I have sat down and reviewed our budget for the previous year. We look at the areas where we overspend and discuss if we need to increase our budget or decrease our spending. It usually ends up being a little of both.
2017 we sat down and did the same as usual. Set some savings goals and are still working towards our 3-6 months of emergency savings. We are putting some money aside for Helen’s account. We have a goal that each girl will have $2,000 by their second birthday for an investment account. Once we reach the $2,000 goal we decrease what we set aside for them so we can focus on our own savings and retirement funds. Once we reach a place where we are able to comfortably fund our own accounts, we can resume funding the girls accounts if we need to.
We were able to meet our goal for Nora just after her 2nd birthday and we are on track with Helen as well. It’s nice to know that we already have this little nest egg started for them and whatever their adventures will bring. It’s also great that they have their own accounts for the grandparents to contribute too if they want. We usually do less toys and stuff for their birthdays and holidays and put the money into their account instead. They don’t know the difference but their future college, car, house, fund sure does!
It also feels like each year we have a little more determination to stick to the budget that we set. Each year we get a little more accurate in how much money we should budget for each category which definitely makes it easier to stick to our goals. It also seems like each year we move towards wanting to spend less money on less stuff and spend our time and money on experiences instead.
One of our big goals for the year is our travel budget. The idea came about when I was sharing a cup of coffee with my sister-in-law. I can’t remember now if she read it somewhere or if we just brainstormed it but I’m excited about it regardless! One of the things we struggle with is saving up for trips overseas because we don’t want to stop traveling locally until we have enough money.
Our idea is that we will do a three-year rotation, each year planning to budget $3-4,000. Year one we only travel/camp locally, spending $1,000-$1,500 and save the rest. Year 2 we plan a trip within the U.S., spend $2,000-$2,500 and save the rest. Year 3 we plan an international trip, spend $5,000 -$6,000 and then repeat the cycle. We’ll see how well we’re able to stick with this plan and if it’s a good way to help us save and plan for these future adventures!
The last part of this post focuses on our general spending goals for the year. This is an idea that I’ve been mulling over for a few years and decided this was the year to really challenge ourselves. That and I finally talked Isaac on board which will make this experiment a lot easier than going at it alone. I really want to try to minimize our spending for the entire year. Eliminate as much spending as possible! No extras of any kind within reason. We will obviously still be buying food, doing vehicle maintenance and other daily necessities.
Our plans are to focus on homemade gifts. Staying out of our favorite stores like REI, Cabela’s & random Target runs. No little random craft supplies. No random gun supplies. No clothing unless absolutely needed. No little travel toys or trinkets. We have enough of all that stuff. If something that we really can’t do without breaks or the kids outgrow their shoes we will replace them with as economical and affordable an option.
Just today I placed an order for new clothes for the girls since they are both outgrowing their current wardrobes. Instead of going out shopping or buying brand new I found an online consignment store. (Threadup & Swap.) I looked carefully at what they currently had and which items would be the most wearable for the most amount of time. They each have less than 20 items in rotation and can be worn at anytime of the year.
I purchased more short sleeve shirts and just one black long sleeve and one white long sleeve shirt. This way they can wear the long sleeve under the short sleeve and be able to wear their clothes through all of Wisconsin’s seasons. I was able to stock both their wardrobes for the entire year for about $80 each. Pants, dresses, shirts, swimwear. I budget $150 for the year and so they each have enough left for snow gear, socks or shoes if they end up outgrowing something.
The experiment isn’t so overwhelming if we look at it month by month. To think of not buying anything for an entire year is a bit intense but if we just look at making it to the end of the month it seems very manageable. I would like to post an update at the end of each month about how we are progressing. I think it will be a great way to chronicle the experiment and see if we’re able to hold true or not.
I’m looking forward to the freedom of being able to focus on our true priorities of family, experiences & travel. Not feeling guilty for coming home with things that I know we really don’t need cluttering up our home. Hopefully writing and sharing our journey with you all will help keep us accountable as well! Look forward to hearing all your thoughts!