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The year is finally coming to an end, which means I’ve been doing all kinds of year-end stuff with our finances – things like organizing my receipts in preparation to do our taxes, going through the various statements that have to do with our rental properties, and also assessing our financial situation for the year. I’ve gotten a lot done, but I’ve also learned a lot as well.
First of all, I never really got into the swing of using Mint to track our finances when it first came out, but I did recently start using Personal Capital. In case you didn’t know, Personal Capital is a free service that allows you to track your spending and investments in one place. I linked all of our retirement and bank accounts to it (it was easy), and it quickly spit out a ton of information including our net worth, details on our different stock holdings, and detailed category spending. I absolutely love it.
Our 2014 Spending
First of all, our spending stayed in the acceptable range as far as I’m concerned. From what I can gather using Personal Capital and my own bank statements, we completely lost around $1,200 this year. I have some vague idea of where we spent that money based on my credit card statements, but I cannot tell you what we spent it on. My guess is just random stuff – things the kids needed for school, random relative’s birthday presents, stuff for our house. I honestly don’t know.
Still, I don’t think that’s terrible. I do budget $200 per month to spend on miscellaneous, so we basically used up half of that to pay for random things. I also discovered, however, that the other half of our “miscellaneous” category was literally eaten up by grocery spending this year. Why, why, why does this keep happening to me?
I am happy to report that both Greg and I maxed out our Roth IRAs this year. I am also going to max out my SEP IRA, but I am waiting until we do our taxes to see how much more I can add. I got close, but my guess is that I can contribute another $1,000 or so (since I am self-employed, I can contribute up to 25% of my earnings to my SEP IRA).
Greg is not really in love with the retirement options at his new company, so we might reconfigure our business set-up so that he can begin contributing to his Vanguard SEP IRA again, although that is still up in the air. We are considering other investment options as well, but we’re currently just in the brainstorming phase. (Check out the instagram page of Netotrade.com for some inspiration!)
We are mostly debt-free, but we owe money on our primary residence and two rental properties. We pay the mortgage on our home ourselves but our renters pay the respective mortgages on our properties. Here is the total amount of debt paid off on each one from the beginning of 2014:
- Primary Residence: $12,200 paid off in 2014
- Rental #1: $6,900 paid off in 2014
- Rental #2: $6,500 paid off in 2014
Since the mortgages on these properties are all on the smaller side, that really is some great progress. I just signed both of our renters onto a new lease on November 1st, which is also music to my ears. One of our rental families has lived in our rental for five years! They are excellent, and I hope they stay forever.
Our Goals for 2015
I will probably create a list of comprehensive goals for 2015, but I’ll outline them here first. For starters, our plan is to continue creating a zero-sum budget and trying to stick to it as much as we can. Anyone who says they stick to their budget 100% all the time is lying too, by the way. #Truth
Second goal: Our plan is to continue maxing out retirement accounts so that we can quit working one day. Awesome, huh? Honestly, that is my goal. I am tired…tired…tired of working. I wasn’t made for this. Heeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllpppppp……
Third goal: We are going to travel more. So far, we have a few cool trips planned with credit card rewards next year. In January (for my berfday), we are going to St. Maarten and the tiny island of Anguilla. I can’t wait. Second, we are taking our kids to Jamaica during my daughter’s Spring Break. (Related: How We’re Going to Jamaica For FREE Next Year) I’m reaaaaaaaaaaally excited about this one because I arranged for my parents to come as well. They have never been to an all-inclusive resort, and I cannot wait to see how much they love it. And remember when I mentioned we would have five days this summer to do something? We decided to spend 3 days in Las Vegas and two in San Diego.
So, there it is – a recap of how 2014 went and our 2015 goals in a nutshell. Right now, our main plan is simply to “stay the course.”
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
How did your 2014 go? Did you meet your spending and saving goals?