Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Year In Review

So, it's that time:  time to look back at the year that has passed.  It is time to look at successes and failures and to consider where we want to go from here.  I'm going to paste the text from my goals post from January and, in blue, talk about what went right and wrong.

1.  Continue my Loyal3 Lunch portfolio, adding an average of $20 per week, or $1000 over the year.  More would be better, but a lady has to live a little, right?

Very few people were reading my Loyal3 Lunch posts, so I quit doing them.  I also lost my motivation to avoid the lunch counter on an off during the year.  I do continue to invest via Loyal3 using money I earn in dividends from Motif investing or using money I am pulling out of Kickfurther.  I know I should avoid that lunch counter more and since one of my 2017 goals is weight loss, that should be more motivation.  

2.  Devise a budget and work with my husband to stick with it.  We've never done this in a formal sense and despite the fact that we have limited some of our large expenditures, it seems that money is slipping through our fingers rather than going to meet long-term goals.

We did this for a couple of months and it showed about what we expected--we spend too much on food, both in restaurants and in grocery stores.  However we aren't real motivated to change that.  I'm going to suggest we budget for food away from home this year and see if we can reduce this cost.   

3.  Unless we end up needing to buy a car this year; do not take any money from savings; live on current income.

Except for what we spent on cars (yes, plural) we succeeded.

4.  Add $300/month to our Prosper or Lending Club accounts as savings for another car.  We have enough money in the bank for our next car and should we need to use it, we will stop investing in these accounts to replenish our savings.  

We added $850 to our Prosper account this year and we bought new (to us) cars in August (for our college girl) and September (for my husband).  The car for college girl was a planned expense; the one for my husband came about because my son wrecked his car and since my husband was driving an old high-mileage car, we passed that down to my son and got my husband a nice car.  Of course with new cars comes more expensive insurance so our transportation expenses have increased significantly this last quarter.  Hopefully college girl will get a real job shortly after graduation in May and take over her own car expenses.  

5.  Continue our 401K savings at the current level.  Maybe next year we can increase them, but right now, holding steady is about the best we can hope for.  

This goal was accomplished.  However, neither one of us are expecting substantial raises this year and we've both been hit with increased health insurance premiums.  We've left those saving rates alone.  

6  Add $100 per month to each of our Roth IRA's.  This will be a challenge.

At tax time we were looking a pretty big bill so we contributed $1000 each to our regular IRAs.  Later in the year we contributed $1000 each to our Roths. We also transferred some money from a non-IRA retirement account to our Roth IRAs but that's not new money invested.  While we didn't contribute monthly, we did add $4,000 to our retirment money and that's a good thing.  

7.  Renovate my den.  I'm expecting about another $1500 from my dad's estate.  I want to pull out some paneling, put up sheet rock, and paint.  If there is enough money, I want new flooring. 

Still waiting for the IRS to finish with my Dad's estate.  On the other  hand, I now think the final installment will be a little over $2,000.  

8.  A second honeymoon for me and my husband.  My youngest is going on a Girl Scout trip this summer, and since she won't be home, we'd like to leave the big ones and go off on our own for a week.  

We did this and had a great time in New York City this summer.  

9.  Earn at least $50 per month from freelance writing.  I currently have a client and I'm going to try to pick up some more work.

Success!.  The client I talked about here only hired me once more, but I've picked up two regular clients for whom I enjoy working.  I've earned over $1,500 this year as a writer. 

I spend most of Memorial Day looking at job offers on Upwork and responding to them.  As a result, I picked up several jobs this summer and actually spent a good deal of time this summer writing for other people.  However, the bottom line is I wasn't paid a whole lot for most of the jobs, I didn't particularly enjoy doing them and I haven't actively pursued new clients.  

I write regularly on education-oriented topics for Classloom, which is a social media app for teachers/schools.  This week's topic is standardized testing and it includes a link to a survey where you can give your opinions about whether standardized tests have become monsters.  I picked up that job on Upwork and at least right now, there is no end in sight.  

One regular topic on this blog is Kickfurther and one of my Kickfurther Merchants of the Week, Mulberry Silk Comforters, pays me to write blog posts for them. 

What are your financial goals for the next year?



  1. Spending on convenience food is a tough habit to break. That's one we focused on this year, and breaking that habit saved us a ton.

    1. I can definitely see different choices saving us a lot in the food area. I'm starting with the lunch counter at work.

  2. Sounds like you did very well with your goals, all things considered. Weight loss and staying within budget are on my agenda as well. Seems like money and food are always the big ones. Good luck on your goals and happy new year to you and your family!

  3. My goal is to sort out all of the numbers: retirement accounts and loan amounts. Between the two of us, we have at least seven retirement accounts, not counting social security.