Holy moly. I cannot believe how fast 2015 flew by. It was like I was standing still while a blur that was my life streaked past. I’m going to be 80 years old and wonder how the hell it happened…
Anyway, I’m back from the craziest travel December of my life since my parents, sisters, and I moved from Holland to Argentina when I was turning 16 years old.
In the last 30 days, I spent 16 total days traveling away from my home and 18+ nights away from my bed thanks to a few overnight pet sitting jobs. I cruised from December 13-20, took a road trip with friends to New Orleans from Dec 26-29, and attended our annual Lonestar Game Fest Board Gaming Convention from Dec 31-Jan 3. WOWZA! I had a blast but I will honestly state that I am SO happy to be home for a while. Yet I am planning our next getaway in April already…
All of that said, it’s time to see how my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions turned out and get some new ones started for 2016!
2015 New Year’s Resolutions Wrap-Up
1. Max out both Roth IRA’s for 2015. That’s $11,000 overall.
We stole $5500 from our emergency fund in March 2015 to max out our contribution to one of our IRA’s, and we used our $13,500 tax refund in April to pay back our emergency fund and to fully fund our other Roth IRA. DONE!
2. Our 2007 Prius rolled past 130,000 miles in 2014. In case our car dies sooner than 2017 as planned for, and the interest rates can’t be locked in at less than 1% again, we want our car fund at $15,000 or more by the end of 2015. It was at $10,400 at the end of 2014.
3. Our rental home was built in 2004, so one or all of the big systems will break soon. We got the rental savings account to $4100 at the end of 2014, so I’m shooting for $10,000 by the end of 2015. That should cover a new air conditioner, water heater, and oven all at the same time if necessary.
We thought we were going to buy another rental home in 2015 instead and conglomerated a few of our savings and investment accounts. Buying another house ended up being harder than I thought it would be thanks to most of our self-employment income being in cash or Paypal payments (banks don’t trust cash deposits). So I know we hit these two savings goals, but I don’t know how much is actually for the car and rental house versus whatever we decide to invest in this year. I can just say we have $38,870 set aside in total. Life is a never-ending series of choices and I’ll know more this coming year about our more long-term future hopefully.
4. Build up extra cash to at least $15,000 by the end of the year. We ended 2014 around $8800.
Thanks to a good month in March with pet sitting and the rest of the $2500 from the tax refund, this is DONE! This $15,000 is on top of the nearly $39,000 I listed above. We must think cash is going to help us a lot more than it is since we are collecting it like crazy and then sort of hoarding it. That will most likely change in 2016.
5. I’m going to exercise for at least 30 minutes 100 times in 2015. That comes to about 8-9 times a month. I know this sounds like it should be easy, but I figured I should start by simply staying accountable in some way. The dog walking during pet sitting may help.
My back slowed me down considerably for 2-3 months of the year and just a little for another 3+ months. BUT, thanks to dog walking as a professional pet sitter, I did exercise for at least 30 minutes 100+ times in 2015. But I need to do more yoga or stretching of some sort as well as some muscle work in 2016.
My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions
Financially, I’m tired of saving with no real purpose. Hoarding cash at an interest rate of 0.75% is a bad decision for anybody wanting to grow passive income streams.
Personally, I want to continue maintaining the relationships I have with friends and family. I spent all of 2015 reaching out to my family more and attempting to see my friends so regularly that we have become a family of our own as well. This made my heart feel way better even though I have been struggling with self-employment and financial decisions…I just sort of went into auto-pilot there.
With that in mind, here are my 2016 resolutions…
1. See my parents and my grandparents at least once a month.
That sounds like a weird resolution, but I get so overwhelmed with pet sitting, my online world, and my friends (who all live within 45 minutes), that I forget to connect with my family. My parents live 75+ minutes south pretty much and my grandparents live 75+ minutes north pretty much. Seeing each other means meeting up somewhere or 2.5 hours minimum of driving round trip for either of us. I’ve been doing much better in the seeing them department, but I am making it a resolution so I don’t start slipping.
My sisters and I are going to see each other more too, but I don’t want to make it a certain amount of times thing since both of their schedules are those of young adults in different, changing parts of life and it’ll be more dependent on them than me (which I totally get, lol).
2. Regular friend time.
I’ve had a consistent weekly Girl’s Night with friends for a while now. We also started a couple’s weekly dinner night with another set of friends that we’ve really enjoyed. That is on top of our monthly potlucks with all of our friends that can make it. I never want to lose regular time with friends. I truly believe the people and relationships in my life are the actual point. Money, work, hobbies and the rest fill in the blanks. Super important but basically useless if I don’t have family or friends.
3. Max out both Roth IRA’s for 2016. That’s $11,000 overall.
I still want to keep maxing out our Roth IRA’s since that’s our main retirement savings vehicle right now. We may look into other options since the whole rental property thing might not be happening…
4. Maintain our $15,000 emergency fund.
This year may have baby-making involved. Our emergency fund might take some hits with medical deductibles or even something boring like car stuff…whatever. I want to keep the emergency fund at $15,000 by the end of the year no matter what flies our way.
5. Maintain our $20,000 self-employment fund.
Yep, on top of all of the other cash I’ve mentioned ($39,000 for investments/car/rental property stuff and $15,000 for a basic emergency fund), we also have a $20,000+ account that we use to pay ourselves each month for our online business. It fluctuates as we bring in more or less. But overall, I like to keep it at $20,000 or more because I am scared shitless of having no backup if our business ever crashes. I’m that worrier person you all know…
6. HEALTH. I will weigh 150 pounds or less by July 2016 AND won’t go over 150 again in 2016. PERIOD. I am between 160-165 now.
I don’t want to keep falling apart. My back will obviously feel at least a little better without the extra weight. My joints don’t hurt yet and I want to make sure my weight doesn’t make them start.
How did you do in 2015 and what are your goals for 2016?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!