Last week I wrote a post about how 2018 will become my year of financial stability. Today I received my first paycheck of 2018 and a major decision I made n 2017 is paying off – I changed my health benefit plan.
For me, this was a big decision. With having an insurance agent for a sister, I spent years living in the world of “what if”? What if I need major surgery? What if I develop some crazy disease? What if…? But the reality is that I rarely go to the doctor. I rarely get sick, and I definitely do not have some crazy disease. In fact, I realized I had spent thousands of dollars on “what ifs” over the course of several years when that money could have been going towards paying off major debts – like student loans.
Now, if you have a disease such as diabetes or a blood clotting disorder, it may make more financial sense to have better coverage. For me it did not. So I did my research on what options were available to me through my employer (several) and went with a lower premium/higher out of pocket cost plan. I figured for the maybe once a year I go to urgent care or the ER, what I would save in biweekly premium costs would be more than enough to cover the bill.
Shortly after making this decision, I learned I would be receiving a 2% cost of living adjustment come the new year. Now I have been with my organization for 5 years and this is, by far, the highest cost of living increase I have ever received (my organization keeps a tight grip on the purse strings).
Well…. it paid off. I had $300 more in this paycheck than I had in my last one. That equates to an extra $7200 a year! That’s a lot of coin to put towards other/better things. I haven’t yet decided how I will spend my extra $600 month, but I’m that’s a struggle I am more than happy to have!
To put it bluntly, 2017 was a year of financial ruin for me. I lost my first home to a short sale as the result of a messy divorce and spent several thousand dollars moving cross-country for a new opportunity. The blow of both of those life changes left a bruise that still lingers….. but 2018 WILL BE my year of financial stability.
I made 3 major commitments during my first full weekend of 2018, and I cannot do them alone. 2 of the 3 will also take the same commitment and support of my fiancé and (step)daughter.
1. We are now only eating out once a month. This is HUGE for us as we used to eat out once a week at $100+ a pop (from boozing during dinner). That’s over $400/mo on what?! Nothing that is leaving a long-lasting impression on me other than wider hips. My fiancé and agreed to only eat out once a week and limit our alcohol consumption during those meals (one drink v. two)
2. The second one ties in to the first one but requires slightly more elaboration. I have spent the last few years sharpening my leftover remake skills, because honestly, who wants to eat the same thing 4 nights in a row? I have vowed to not only make more meals at home, but develop more variety in my meal options, freeze half of large meals I make for future meals when I am too tied to cook, and buying less pre-made ingredients and ready-made meals and make more from scratch.
3. Get control of my finances!! My fiancé struggling from a low credit score due to a lack of credit v. bad credit. One of the things he did was to create a Credit Karma account and monitor his score weekly. He would get emails every time his score went up or down. His score jumped nearly 100 points in less than a year based on suggestions CK made. So here I am like SIGN ME UP! I created my account and spent about an hour perusing all the features an account offers. One of my favorite features is an outline of all your accounts reported to your credit score in order of highest to lowest and organized by category (credit cards, car loans, students loans, etc). I’m going to attempt my own version of Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Method – starting with the smallest and working our way up.
So my January money goal is this – pay off a credit card bill from Christmas for $487.
My goal is sharing my personal financial goals is to 1. motivate myself (I put it in writing for all the world to see, now I must act on it!), and 2. to serve as inspiration to others. Financial security is no easy feat – it takes times, dedication, and encouragement from others to reach your goals. So happy goal chasing!