I'm very pleased - can you tell? ;-) It's been a heck of a year, with the unexpected bonus payback, large tax bill, car repair, and several home repairs (one unexpected & urgent). Yet, we've stayed on track. How, you ask? Well, we refinanced into super low interest rates on both our primary residence & our vacation house. On the vacation house, we offset the majority of the savings by going with a 15 year mortgage. We also made other changes:
- Tracking our spending! By far our number one tip for not overspending.
- We cut miscellaneous spending:
- Cable at our vacation house
- Internet at our vacation house.
- Reduced our cleaning from every week to 2x/month, and cut this back as much as possible when we were out of town, etc.
- We traveled far less, and stuck to the planned trip for my sister's 40th birthday (funded not out of our budget, but my eBay earnings) & one trip with M.
- We also cut the kids activity budget (camps, lessons) quite a bit by planning & evaluating which weekends we'd be in town, and combining a lesson that's at our gym. I get a free workout while the kids are in karate. (Normally I pay for child care while I work out).
- Pay off my 401K loan. I took this out in February, to buy our home loan down from a jumbo, enabling us to lock in an incredibly low rate. Current balance - $40,917. I also have four pay period deductions to pay this off, so the stock combined with the pay period payments should close this down.
- Save, save, save the other $10,000. I'm hoping to have $30,000 in our emergency fund before I quit my job. I'm currently at $16,745, so the extra $10,000 and payout on any remaining vacation days should get there.
How have you improved your financial picture over the past year? Love reading all of the stories of people tackling debt, saving for the future, and changing their circumstance.