We made it. That’s about how I feel about 2016. It was a crazy busy year filled with beautiful moments. Those moments seemed to get lost in the anxiety and hustle of the renovation our farmhouse. None the less, we made it. A few weeks before Christmas our friends joined us as we moved everything into our home. We unpacked – just in time for family to arrive for Christmas.
Looking back over the last few weeks, our favorite moments were the ones where we were able to slow down and spend time with the kids. Building, playing games, driving little miniature cars all over the home were some of my favorite moments. We finally had a chance to breathe, slow down and enjoy the home that we worked so hard on this year.
This was also the year we spent more money than we ever have before. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up a little. We sold our home last spring (cha-ching!) only to put every cent we had into our farmhouse. We know it’s worth it and we don’t regret one penny, but we’ve been thinking about 2017 and how we want to change those habits of pouring money out of our bank account.
I took the OnUp mental quiz. I thought by the end they would confirm what I know in that we had a crazy year. But actually, it made me feel pretty good about our attitude towards money and where our goals are for 2017. So talking with no kid interruptions during a long car ride this past week, my husband and I have come up with a few financial goals.
We want to get serious about a college savings plan. Our oldest is 7 and it’s about time we got serious about saving towards their college goals. I personally paid my way through college with some help from my parents so to be honest, I don’t feel a burden to save 100%. Working through college was good for me. In contrast, my husband’s family graciously saved and were able to pay his way through his undergraduate degree, so he graduated with no debt. I think we want to find a happy medium. So this year, we’re getting serious to do the best we can and what we end up with will either pay for a smaller cheaper college or they can choose to go somewhere in the Ivy League and this will give them a good start.
We want to get serious about retirement. My husband has saved for retirement every single working year he’s had. I on the other hand, have been self-employed while staying at home with the kids and have saved nothing the last decade. We started to research saving for my retirement since his is working well, so that there’s a bit of a balance to our retirement plans. I hope to be able to retire when he does so that I’m not working 9-5 while he eats “bon bons” while watching MacGyver for the rest of his life.
We want to pay off our van. We paid off one of our cars this year which was pretty amazing considering the cost of renovating a home. Go us! However, I feel like our van is hanging over my head. I’d like to get serious about paying it down. We have 2.5 years left on the loan, so I’d like to pay it off by the end of the year.
We want to give more. Our giving hasn’t matched our increases in finances. We’d like to give more to church and to Young Life, a mission related organization we’ve been involved with for decades. In fact, we’ll probably start with our budget towards that and work our way backwards.
We want, actually we need, a garage. I’m not sure how big we are talking, but as of now we have nowhere to park the cars to keep the ice and snow off of them. It’s not the end of the world, but as we’re in the middle of the winter, a garage would be nice. We also need another place for storage since old houses were not built for storage.
My final goal this year is a big fat vacation for the family. I want to go all out with an entire week of vacation with just our family. By big, I don’t mean expensive, but I do mean having 7 full days to relax and enjoy time together somewhere awesome. Where that is? I don’t know yet.
Money is big. Money can be awesome. Money (or lack there of) can bring anxiety. I’m speaking from experience. Now that we’re moved in, I’m ready to get serious with our goals this year, since the house is somewhat behind us. Being an old home, it will always need more work, but we’ve tackled the big ones already so here’s hoping there nothing too major.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.