In mid 2017, the focus of this blog expanded to include my wider life goals. You can find these baseline goals here.
Below you can track my progress report and new goals added and refined each year.
In 2017, we passed our asset stretch goal of $555.5k, ending at $572.5k and even paid an extra year of mortgage!
We also added a little bit extra to our kids 529s ($1k each), while staying within our $75k expenses budget. We were also able to buy a new car with extra earnings and replacement money! As for expenditures, you have to give us credit, we ended at $74,994 of our $75k budget!
By all measures an excellent year financially and a little ahead of schedule on our overall journey.
Below, check out our 2017 financial report.
Every so often, I set out challenges for myself to create new habits or try new things, in a way that helps me focus and be accountable for them. Going forward I will start documenting them here, along with my learning, growth, wins and failures.
I hope these challenges inspire you to create your own list, aligned with your life goals! Habits around the things that matter most to you create the perfect foundation for purposeful, fulfilling living, which, like a plant, needs to be constantly nourished.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”― Rumi
Challenge: Zero-Waste Periods
As part of our move towards minimalism and a more gentle way of living, we are focusing on replacing and reusing where we can. This month the challenge for me was to replace menstrual or period products with better alternatives for the environment and for my own health.
Why do this?
Each year, globally, more than 12 billion pads and tampons are tossed into landfills and sewage systems, made with bleached rayon, cotton, and plastics. This is not only bad for the environment, but also not the best for our health (or wallet!), either.
I first switched to a Lena cup a few months ago and, while a little apprehensive at first (and it does take a little bit to learn how to use properly), I am happy to say this experience is even better than regular tampons.
I picked the Lena cup after much research, including reading comparison reviews like this one between Lunette and Diva as well.
Next, I did a trial run of Thinx underwear. I thought this may be a good secondary protection with the cup, but was still really scared to use it. After a few hours of using it with a cup I decided to give it a try alone. And, it worked!
It worked so well in fact I completely forgot I had my period! I immediately proceeded to place an order for 5 more (if you buy multiples you get a discount). I think these are ideal also for those annoying days right before your period where you are not sure you are going to get it or not, and those super light last day periods, and as a secondary protection during the heaver middle days.
Finally, I gave Hannahpads a go. These ones scared me the most to be honest but they are so soft and cute! I was mostly nervous about them moving around, but they have stayed put pretty well. The washing is not too bad, but then again I did cloth diapering with one of my kids so I kind of new what to expect.
And so, with that, I went from disposable pads and tampons to reusable period underwear, menstrual cup and organic cotton pads, as per the images below.
Honestly, I cannot believe I did not make the switch earlier, what was I waiting for?!
I am not looking back.
Call to action
Female readers, if you are using disposables still, please consider a change, even if small! Will you join me in this challenge or a similar one of your own towards this goal?
After all – “Little drops of water make the mighty ocean.”
What small actions are you taking in YOUR control to help the environment or your health? Heck even just for your wallet! These are expensive at first, but may prove economical after you realize how many of the disposables you go through in a year.
A few months ago, we hit our assets goal and created a stretch goal – from $527.5k to $555.5k. This month, we hit that stretch goal so we started wondering if we should have a stretch goal for the stretch goal. Initially we thought hey, let’s try to hit $575k – $580k, but instead we decided to use any excess money from the stretch goal and put it towards our mortgage.
I know a lot of people hate on paying the mortgage early but, I find the idea of having zero debt – inclusive of mortgage – very liberating, especially if we are already doing ok with the other goals. Given the market situation, we started holding more cash, and it was just kind of sitting there. And so here is the new plan to make a little better use of that money:
Our EOY goal for assets is $555.5k, which is our initial stretch goal from a $527.5k base goal. At least $10k of this to be held as cash.
Right now this stands at $551.5k (we had already passed this but used some of the cash to pay mortgage). We are hoping dividends alone can push us through to the goal by end of year providing market stays, we shall see.
Mortgage Debt Goal
Our new EOY mortgage balance goal went from $98k to $76k. This essentially puts us two years ahead of home pay off schedule, leaving about 6 years left of payments.
We still have to make an extra payment of $10,200 to hit the goal, which we should easily achieve with regular savings from income in the next two months, though I will reduce this if market pulls assets down and I have to put money there instead.
Now, that will be a stretch for sure, but fun to see how close we can get.
Crossing the $500k mark earlier this year felt like a big turning point and it is getting easier and easier to get into the habit of just saving and not worrying about it. I am very much enjoying the process and progress.
What really surprised me also, is how much joy making extra payments to the mortgage brought me. I mean, I thought it would be nice but I can see why people do this even if not THE best financial move always. I did a little happy dance with a nerdy grin when I realized the end is closer than I thought – at least for now.
Finally, I am doing so much better at ‘flowing’ and not worrying about what I cannot control. This has resulted in actually checking my balances a lot less often and most importantly no worrying about if we will go down to one income or not, market downturn, etc. Of course, ask me again when / if that actually happens, see how well my bold claims hold water :).
How about you? Have your goals changed a bit as you close the year? What is your feeling about extra mortgage payment?