Every New Year’s Day, Mr. PoniesandFIRE and I spend time budgeting, dreaming and planning our year. We do an entire annual budget and figure out what we can accomplish in a year and get fired up. As we finish up 2018, I am struck by an intense feeling of WE MUST GET IT DONE NOW!
PoniesandFIREjr starts kindergarten in 2019 and I am feeling like the years are slipping through my fingers. I want more time as a family, more time together, more memories. In order to accomplish that, we have to work less. In order to do that, we need financial freedom. We need our house to be paid off.
So I dream. On January 1st, we will be sitting on $127,650 in mortgage debt and $17,996 on our truck. In 2018, we reduced our debt by around $19,000. A quick look at our budget projections show that we can pay off maybe $40,000 in 2019 with good focus. That is certainly nothing to scoff at, but it’s not enough. I want to hit more like $75,000 gone in 2019 and finish it off in full before PoniesandFIREjr finishes his kindergarten year in June 2020.
Is that possible? Not without some huge changes and big strokes of good luck.
Realistically, there isn’t much to cut from our budget. We could get rid of Dish ($75/month) when our contract is up in the spring and keep working to reduce our electric and grocery bills, but honestly, that’s going to be very small potatoes.
I think our better game plan will be to focus on increasing income and here are the ways I am thinking about implementing in 2019.
1. Mr. PoniesandFIRE taking extra jobs. He occasionally gets called for extra jobs, which he has no requirement to take and we have mostly turned them down for the sake of family time, but one a month could be another $150-$200/month. ($2,400)
2. Increase my prices in my business. I haven’t raised my rates in at least 3 years and a 12% increase could bring in another $160-$200/month ($2,400)
3. Increase poshmark and FB marketplace sales. I made around $600 in 2018 reselling things around the house, mostly outgrown or unwanted clothing. I think I could triple this (or more) in 2019 with a little more focus. ($1,200)
4. Work for a banner year in horse sale commissions. I charge a 10% commission on horse sales and if I hustle, the sky is the limit in 2019. ($15,000)
5. Fence painting. My main job pays around minimum wage for fence painting outside of work hours, as much as you want. Obviously, this isn’t doable until late spring and is weather dependent, but I’m pondering putting in some hours this summer for extra income ($750)
This is obviously not enough to cover the $35k we are short on my goals, but every $1 is a move in the right direction. I will keep brainstorming and analyzing what makes the most sense in terms of time/effort versus payoff.