2018: Making a Fresh Start

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Happy New Year!

Well, 2017 was definitely a year to forget regarding our finances. We were so close to paying off all our debt, only to see it quadruple in the summer!

But I’m thankful we have the resources to deal with it and have a new awareness of both our spending and our values. And after almost of decade of budgeting, I’m actually kind of grateful for the hard-learned lesson of saving for the unexpected – which to be honest, is never really that unexpected.

My Goal for 2018

So for this year, my biggest financial goal is to tackle that debt, not by necessarily paying it off (it’s all at 0% interest), but by saving enough up so we can pay it off.

I feel like we’ve only really evaluated our spending after the fact and not really been as intentional as I’d like. So while I love a good data set, I’m taking the opportunity this Jan 1st to reset our budget and make a fresh start.

This is a feature of my budgeting software, YNAB, that allows me to keep my accounts but wipes out my category balances so I can re-evaluate and organize them.

 My Plan: Re-evaluate via Reorganizing

I’m hoping the act of reorganizing our budget categories will prompt us to reevaluate our priorities. Do we really need DirecTV and Netflix, Hulu, and Prime? If we want to visit Disney again in 2019, how much should I start saving per month now? Are we willing to cut our individual fun money amounts so we can put more toward our savings goals?

You get the idea.

Food is by far our biggest discretionary expense to tackle. Last year, I combined our grocery and household goods categories, which muddled up our actual food expenses, so I’m breaking those out again.

I want to be more granular with what I track, so I’ll probably break out our utilities and some annual expenses as well, but I need to make sure it isn’t too unruly. I don’t want to have to scroll for days to see what I have available in a certain category.

Thinking Positively

I’m actually looking forward to starting fresh and I encourage you to give it a try. If not to actually wipe out your budget and start over, to just take a look at what your goals are and if your spending and savings are lining up.

Are you in? Do you have any financial resolutions this year? Please let me know and we can help encourage each other throughout the year.

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