By Erin Huffstetler | 01/12/2020 | 6 Comments
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Here’s an update on how we did with our 2019 goals.
Normally I share my goals in January, but this year I’m sharing them in March. After some unexpected blows last year and the beginning of this year, I just had some things I needed to address first. Now, the dust has settled a bit, and I’m ready to share my goals with you. But first I need to catch you up on a few things.
I realize I haven’t talked much about how we earn our income (putting that on the to-do list now), but the Reader’s Digest version is that in recent years, I’ve earned a full-time income from this website and a second full-time income by writing for About (now broken up into a bunch of other dot coms). Having those two incomes is what made it possible for my husband to quit his job six years ago, so he could come work with me, and so we could both be home with the kids. Last year, just a few days after I shared my 2018 goals, About cut two-thirds of my pay. While we were, thankfully, still able to keep our bills paid, it really slowed down the progress we were making on our goals.
Losing such a big chunk of our income meant we had to table our plans to work on the cabin last year. So, it really stung when a neighbor called the day after Christmas to let us know that our cabin had been broken into. Now, instead of all the progress we had hoped to make, we were ending the year in a back slide. All told, they took over $2,200 worth of stuff –the boots that I had saved up Amazon gift cards to buy, the cast iron pots and pans that were Christmas gifts, the camp stove that we bought at a yard sale. Four year’s worth of small steps towards our dream, all gone because someone decided to take them from us.
Soon after the break in came the news that About would be terminating my contract at the end of January – 14 months before I had planned to quit. We were playing it safe and waiting until the mortgage was paid off (and we’d completed the rest of our PayOff2020 plan). So, while this unexpected news meant I got to walk away from a gig that had come to make me miserable, it also meant a further loss of income. Here we were at the beginning of a new year, wanting to feel hopeful, and feeling like we’d just been punched in the gut again. Now what?
As I worked to wrap up a 12-year gig, I spent a lot of time thinking about our goals for 2019 – evaluating our priorities, and trying to figure out how to set goals that would help us stay positive and keep us moving forward. I knew it was important to set goals that were realistic, otherwise we’d just be staring at a list of things we couldn’t afford to do at the end of the year, and that would only serve to frustrate us further.
So what did I come up with?
Our goals for 2019
- Continue working on our PayOff2020 plan.
- Work on projects around the house.
- Take a family road trip.
- Repair the cabin roof.
We only have 14 more mortgage payments left, so we’re on track to complete that portion of our plan. We’re still making progress on the rest of the plan, but we had to slow down quite a bit last year, and are no longer on track to have everything paid off by May 2020. We aren’t giving up, though. I’m still hopeful we’ll find a way to catch up.
Update: We’re down to four more mortgage payments, so we’ll be able to cross that part of the goal off our list in May! We we were only able to make small progress towards the rest of the goal, but we aren’t giving up.
Our youngest graduates high school in a little over three years. I’d like to be caught up on home improvement projects and maintenance tasks by the time the kids are out of the house, so this year, we’ll be digging into some of those projects. Our list includes things like painting and landscaping, so there are plenty of things we can work on for little to no money.
Update: We crushed this goal. In 2019, we planted 47 Spartan Junipers to complete the privacy screen around our yard; removed two problematic trees in the backyard and re-landscaped the area around them; planted tons of new flowers and shrubs, that we were invited to come dig out of someone’s yard; and started a big painting project. Here are some pictures of the progress.
These privacy plantings have grown quite a bit since this photo was taken. I’ll share an update in the spring.
This is the area that we re-landscaped after removing a couple trees. It’s also filled in quite a bit since I took this photo, so I’ll do a spring update on this, too.
It may seem strange to prioritize a vacation when money is tight, but our kids are nearly grown, and we want to make the most of the time we have left with them. Some things just can’t be recaptured, so, we’re going to work together as a family to earn the money for a trip.
We can’t afford to replace the roof this year, so we’re going to address a couple leaks, and call it good.
Update: We repaired the roof early in the year. Then, later in the year, we lucked into a killer deal on plywood, so we’re one step closer to being able to replace the roof.
And that’s it for this year. Just four goals. While that may not sound like a lot, I think those four goals are going to challenge us plenty.
I’ll keep you updated throughout the year, as we make progress towards our goals.
What are your goals for the year? I’d love to hear about them.