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2013 Goals and Plan

1. Pay Down credit card #1 to $750 by 12-31-2013. To do this, I need to pay off at least $100 a month. I will post our monthly progress.

2. Pay off credit card #2 by 12-31-2013. I need to pay off at least $50.00 a month. I will post our monthly progress.

3. Bring car savings to $2,000 by 12-31-2013. I really need to contribute a lot to this one, as our car is going to need replacing in the next year or two. I need to contribute at least $75.00 a month. Update: As of 1-4-2013, we have a different car. We cleaned out our car account to about $500.00 to do it. We were presented with an unprecidented opportunity that we could not turn down. It has turned out to be a pleasant surprise in several ways.

4. Minor and major house maintenance and repair. The two big things we are planning for the spring are getting the rest of the tuckpointing done on the south side of the house and planting an oak tree in the back yard behind the kitchen. The cost of the tuckpointing will come out of money we are already setting aside. We need $600 to do that and are setting aside $90.00 a month. It will probably March or April when we do that. The oak tree will be paid for out of our tax refund and money we are already setting aside. It will be about $150.00 to pay for the tree, delivery, and planting.

5. Continue making extra principal payments on the mortgage, even if it is only $5.00 a month. With the rest of our tax refund, we plan to make a large principal payment. We have a 30 year mortgage which we got in 2010. We want to have it paid off several years before I retire so I can ramp up retirement contributions.

5. Increase regular savings to $3,000. I want to have at least $12,000 in regular savings in five years. My expenses are approximately $2,000 a month, but could be cut somewhat in extreme situations. I am going the HR tomorrow in order to increase what I have going to savings out of my pay.

6. Reduce unnecessary spending. I am doing grocery shopping with cash, which has decreased my normally $170 or so weekly grocery bill to around $130. I am even stocking up on stuff I use a lot when I see it on sale or have a good coupon. I am also sticking to my routine of making my own tea at work with my tea bags and travel mug. I bring my lunch to work nearly every day, buying usually on paydays. I also did some gardening this past summer and plan to do the same beginning next spring. See #7 for more on this. These actions have helped to considerably reduce spending.

7. I plan to greatly expand my gardening venture next spring. This past summer, I only did tomatoes and basil and had a ball doing so. Growing my own food was not only satisfying, but tasty as well. I plan to add kale, onions, carrots, peppers, radishes, and spinach to my choices. Doing so will help me to become less dependent on the grocery store during the summer and also eat organically and locally grown food. I plan to continue growing kale next winter also. For some veggies, I will freeze some extra for the winter.

8. Pay off outstanding medical debt. This includes two bills, one for $105.22 and another for about $200. UPDATE ON 1/28. The $105.22 is PAID OFF. Woo-hoo!