1. Mr. ThreeYear and I had a talk a few days ago about starting to make one or two additional payments on our mortgage. As much as I can rationalize that our mortgage is fine, it’s a fifteen year note, and we’ll pay it off before retirement, it bugs me a lot. It’s our only debt and it just sits there, mocking me, especially since it’s less than a year old and we have a ways to go before it gets under $200K. So, congrats to you for that incredibly large extra principal payment! Rock on! And it’s probably a much better return on your $$ than the stock market gave us this year, so even better!

    We are also working to make 2019 more about non-financial goals. While financial goals are tangible and satisfying to achieve, the truth is the single-minded pursuit of them can make life dull. And when I get so focused on having XX in the bank account, I forget what my actual values are and won’t spend the money to go celebrate my friend’s 40th birthday in Jamaica.

    Hope you guys are enjoying your final days of 2018! Wishing you a wonderful, fabulous, fulfilling 2019!

    • Same to you! And you’re so right. I get so laser focused that I don’t even like the person I turn into.

      I think 2019 will be more about learning to develop some financial patience and focusing on other parts of life!

  2. When I first got a Fitbit and started tracking my steps, I lived in San Francisco. The biggest advantages where that it’s a very walkable city and the weather is generally decent.

    I remember doing research on Fitbit (and the other wearables) and one study said that even the act of owning a Fitbit (or similar) causes people to walk an extra mile per day on average. It’s like a little nagging accountability tool in your pocket that’s always there.

    The side benefit of focusing on all those steps was that my productivity improved as my fitness improved. Losing weight is like being on a drug! Plus, better sleep, stress relief and all the rest that comes with regular physical activity.

    Keep hacking away at the mortgage and thank you for sharing your story!

    • I’m actually going to try to track more with my FitBit next year. The only thing I consistently focused on was steps. I’d like to look at stairs (I usually get those no problem because…toddler!) and sleep. I am so good at justifying that I’m not sleeping that poorly, but I bet I averaged 5-6 hours a night. Everything else suffers, I think!

  3. I am right there with you on the “at least it’s something” toward retirement. I’m way older and I still can only set aside $200 or so right now…the retirement calculators are all like HAHAHAHAHAHA when I enter that amount in, too.

    Who wants to live to be 95, anyway?

    Keep going!

  4. Karen

    Additional payments are the best! I used the extra paycheck from March and August (teacher paycheck schedule) and any extra service/chaperone money to throw at the principal. I don’t regret paying our mortgage off early, not for a second. But like others, I am making 2019 goals less about frugality and more about kindness, gratitude and good health–pretty cliche huh? Happy New Year:)

    • They’re cliches for a reason! I actually was gifted an act of kindness at the end of December, and it totally changed my thinking and a small part of my budget for 2019. I can’t wait to write about it!

      Cheers to you, Karen! I hope 2019 is good to you.

  5. Nicely done getting that 403b set-up. That’s exactly the amount I first started with almost ten years ago. $150/month matters and gives you something to build on in the future.

    I think we’re going to go harder at our mortgage this year, too. The $9400 extra principal payment is impressive!

    • It’s my poor writing skills. That’s what we paid toward the prinicipal total. But we only had to pay $1500. So feel free to still be impressed with the $7000+ extra 😉

      I think I am going to have HR increase my deduction to $200. If I get more consistent with freelancing, I’ll actually try to up my 403b more…but that seems like a step after the training wheels come off.

  6. You’re making me feel better about having no real defined goals for 2019 yet 😉 And 4 disposable cups for the quarter is freaking fabulous. I have to say, I think it’s been months since I’ve gotten one (if you don’t count recyclable bottle) and that is all thanks to your original note about it here. Seriously. You brought that into sharp focus for me.

    • And this is a weird semi-tangent, but I’ve also made it a point to not buy anything in plastic bottles. So if I really want a pop, I have to buy a case. I know aluminum is still not good, but I feel much better about that choice than single-use water bottles or sodas. Plus, I’m trying SO HARD to ditch the pop habit!

    • I too have become aware of my plastic cup usage thanks to you- so you’re definitely making a difference! 4 is great! My downfall is still free wine tastings- they will not reuse those little cups.

  7. I just had a conversation about that with a relative today who couldn’t understand why I asked for a reusable bottle instead of just buying a disposable one from the gas station. “It’s so cheap/easy.” We didn’t have time to get deep into it but I just politely refused saying we do our best to do reusable only or do without.

    I’m still figuring out what happened to us this year and how we’ll go into next year but focusing on money has always been my soothing activity that lets me ease into the harder stuff and so it is playing out again now. I’m feeling conflict quantifying the year and taking refuge in the money first.

    That’s probably because we had some layoff scares earlier this year and I’m still clenched up tight over bracing for impact.

    It was an interesting realization today that I wasn’t fazed in the least by the fact our NW is quite a ways down from market plummets, I’ve fully focused on seeing this as a buying opportunity for us and not letting it get under my skin. We also made one small payment to principal and I may make another one on Monday just to get us off to a good start for the new year.

  8. Brilliant! I am a terrible goal setter also.

    I was thinking about this yesterday – i set challenges, not goals.
    I have never, untill recently, set any long term goals (at the age of 49).

    Before that i had set challenges: Finish school with a high enough score to get in to the short list of courses i wanted, finish my degree, get a job in the most sought after architecture practice in town, work overseas, get a mortgage, etc etc.

    So I am glad that I am not the only one lousy at Goal Setting.

    Doesn’t mean you cant achieve great things, as you have proven.

    I took the 5 day ‘Choose your word 2018’ last year. may be a bit airy fairy, but it worked wonders for me,especially in times of doubt,overwhelm, etc. She is running it now, again, for 2019. Its free – I have a link up on my blog or just go straight to claudiawhitney.com.

    One question that I had – you pay off more money on your mortgage than you need to (I do that too). We also have an offset account – do yo have those?

    And well done on the fitness, even though you say you let that part of you slide you seem to have made good progress. well done!

    (I made good progress also then let it all go to hell over the last 2 months. back on track Jan 1, i promise 😐 )

    Thanks for all the great posts this year – looking forward to see you shine yet brighter in the New Year


  9. My Q4 was a mixed bag. I did great in October, having finally separated my finances from Tim’s in September. But November was filled with expenses to get the guest house in rentable condition plus movers for the husband/in-laws and a bunch of other things that meant I didn’t put away much in November or December. Well, out of my normal paycheck, anyway. I was able to put $669 against the mortgage and $669 into retirement (each being one-half of my bonus). That felt triumphant. Even if my retirement contribution numbers left much to be desired for 2018. It was still better than previous years, and that’s something.

  10. For not having yearly goals you are killing it. Actually, I think having shorter-term goals, like monthly or quarterly goals makes them more achievable. Last year I wanted a no spend year, by late summer I barely remembered what I was trying to achieve. To the point that I had to go back and read my original post.

    I hate my mortgage also. I’m hoping to put a big dent in the principal this year.

    Great work Penny

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