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Financial Shape in 2008: End-of-the-year report


It's nearing the end of 2008! Can you believe that? It's been a full year for us with many struggles and triumphs. My husband and I sat down this week and talked about our goals and ran the numbers to see where we were at. And we were very thrilled to find out that we were able, by the grace of God, to accomplish all of our goals for 2008!

Here's the list:

Short Term Financial Goals for 2008

1) Have our fully-funded emergency fund in place (6 months' worth of living expenses) by the end of April. As of March 11, 2008–DONE!

2) Switch health insurance plans and open an HSA. We
were approved for our new health insurance plans in April and have also
set up our HSA. Done!

3) Start up an IRA and invest at least 5-10% of Jesse's income in this. Started in March. (We plan to increase this to 12-15% of Jesse's income as soon as we purchase our home.)

4) Open up a mutual fund for each of our children and invest $50 per child per month in it. Started in March.

5) Save up and invest $30,000 this year towards paying cash (100% down) for a house in 3-5 years. As of the beginning of November, this is also DONE!!

When we listed off these goals at the beginning of the year, they felt very audacious. In fact, we both thought we were being overly ambitious. But, as we've found in the past, it's better to aim high than to be content with mediocrity! And so we did!

Amazingly, through a number of unexpected events and the blessing of God, we were able to accomplish these goals. Yes, it meant some rigid budgeting. Yes, we've made some significant sacrifices. Yes, we done a lot of "living like no one else". But the perseverance is paying off and we're very excited about that.

We haven't sat down and formerly written out goals for 2009, but we do have one already-agreed-upon extremely-ambitious goal that my husband gave me permission to share publicly: We are aiming to have saved up enough money by this time next year to pay 100% down on a home!

This goal looks a little daunting but we've run the numbers and determined that with lots of hard work and scrimping, it might just be possible. One of the biggest reasons we are hoping this goal might become a reality in the next year is because of our recent move.

Not only did moving back home allow us to now be close to our families and back in our home church, it was a substantial career move for Jesse and it put us in a less expensive housing market. These things, coupled with the fact that we'll likely be living here long-term, have given us huge motivation to scrimp and save in order to buy a home sooner than we'd anticipated.

I'll keep you posted on our progress and we'll see what happens!

How did you do in 2008? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2008, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes this past year. Then, come back here and leave your link
below. If you don't have a blog or would rather share anonymously, feel
free to leave your update in a comment. Let's all keep each other
accountable to be better stewards of
our resources!

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  1. Kelli says

    I have a question: What do mean by paying 100% down on a house? I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that.

    Money Saving Mom here: That means we’re hoping to pay cash for the entire purchase price of the house. It’s just another way of saying that but when I used to say we were hoping to “pay cash for a house” everyone confused that with “paying cash for the down payment”.

    Hope that helps!

  2. says

    It is nice to read a good news financial update. Good opportunity for me to reflect back…

    We got a lot of things accomplished this year so 2009 will be a year of saving.

    This year we accomplished the following…
    Paid cash for our daughter’s wedding.
    Paid cash for a new roof on our rental property.
    Paid cash for a new cooling system on our rental property.
    Paid cash for many trips for wedding prep, wedding, graduation, moving our daughter, prepping rental property for sale, etc.
    Paid cash for a new washer/dryer set for our daughter as their wedding gift.

    In fact, we didn’t incur any new commercial credit debt. We did purchase daughter #2 a new vehicle so there is a new bill. She is in college on scholarships so this is possible.

    We are maxing out payroll deduction for retirement. We still coupon, eat leftovers, stockpile, bulk or clearance shop. We have a garden every year as well. I do what I can though I am not working to keep our expenses down…haircuts, no drycleaning almost ever, etc.

    I’d rather live on less now so that there is something extra for the rocking chair years (no so far away now) and so I don’t burden my children or family with my care.

    I love helping others save and live large on a small budget so my blogs fill that bill!


  3. says

    You are an inspiration! We had a baby this year my insurance did not cover, so we had many challenges on one full-time income and marginal part-time income to meet expenses and pay the thousands required for the doctor, hospital and ever important epidural. But, somehow, we made it. We still have some work to do to get our savings back up to where it was, but we will end the year with no credit card debt and able to pay our bills, fill our cupboard and live well within our means.

  4. says

    Congratulations to the Payne Family. I still remember your initial post when you set your goals and how you said you might as well aim high. Your experience is a true testament that with faith in God and the willingness to work hard nothing can stop anyone from achieving their goals. Great inspiration!

  5. says

    Wow, great job! We love living like no one else either. It’s nice to know others do it, too. Keep up the good work. We kind of hit a snag this year since we had a baby in March, but we had our HSA set up, so everything since she came along has been free.

  6. says

    Thank you so much for doing this challenge this year. It really got our family to think about our finances and do something to improve them. Thanks!

  7. says

    I read in a previous post that you have set up a mutual fund for your house savings. Do you have any recommendation in this area, or could you direct me to where I could get some guidance?


  8. says

    Great post, I just wanted you to know I posted about your post on my blog. I did get the link to your site to work I just have not figured out how to linkback. (Is that what it is called when you get notified someone posted about your blog).

    I am new to blogger.

    Thank you for your informative blog!

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