2014 started off pretty great! In 2013 I paid off my $10,000 credit card debt. My big financial goal for 2014 was to not go into debt for our wedding and honeymoon, and we succeeded! When I reviewed all the spending from the wedding, I was pretty shocked that we didn't go into debt. The originally wedding budget was $13,000, but we ending up spending about double that amount. I'm not really sure how we were able to pay for such an expensive wedding, but it worked out.
Sam was in charge of paying for the honeymoon, and he was on track to have enough saved until he had a MAJOR car expense in February. Some very expensive computer part ($2200!!!) went out in his car and that set him back with the honeymoon savings. We did end up putting some of the honeymoon expenses on our credit card while on the honeymoon but we paid it off as soon as the bill was due. We had some very generous wedding gifts that made up the difference. Just like the wedding, we went over budget on the honeymoon, but every dollar was worth it! It was a really amazing honeymoon!
At the end of 2013 I wrote down my goals/resolutions for 2014. Some of the goals were financial and some weren't (ie: first item listed). Other than not going into debt for the wedding or honeymoon, my other financial goals were to increase my student loan payments and start saving for a house. We accomplished both those goals!
I increased my student loan payments a couple times in 2014. The first increase was an additional $100, then six months later I increased another $50. I'm currently on track to have my student loans paid off in October 2015, which will be 4 years early.
We started saving for a house in July or August; I can't remember which month. We're still going strong with our house savings and will reach our goal amount by June 2015. We plan to start talking to a realtor in February to help us decide if we want to build a new house or buy a house already built.
Other financial plans we implemented this year:
- saving everything I make and living off of Sam's salary
- a dedicated savings account for Christmas gifts
- started saving for a new (to me) car. We hope to purchase a new car in 2016.
- greatly increased our 401k and Roth IRA savings
I just want to expound on that last bullet. After we got married, Sam used the IRS calculator to see how much taxes we would owe. We're one of those lucky couples who gets the "marriage penalty" tax, meaning that we owe much more in taxes as a married couple than we did as single people. Sam said we would owe an additional $6,000-$10,000. I have no desire to give that much (more) money to the government, so we tried our best to decrease our taxable income. We're both withholding more money for taxes, and we also increased our 401k's. Sam doubled his 401k savings and opened a Roth! I'm so proud of him! We'll see how this pans out when we do our taxes...