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My big 2014 goal

For those of you who have been around my blog for a few years, you might remember how I almost lost my frugal card in May 2012 by purchasing a used car and taking on a car payment.  Up until that point, I had been driving paid for cars since 2005.  It was crazy hard to take that leap to give up a paid for car, and trade it in for a payment.

That being said, you might remember my previous car, a 2002 Subaru Outback (a lemon indeed) was the albatross around my neck.  Between the extreme price of gas (it got 20 mpg, and I drive 300 miles a week), and the fact that it was in the shop more than it was out, my current car payment is net neutral.  My 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid (Honda Solo as Jack promptly named it on the day I brought it home), has been great to me.  The only money I have put in to it is about $20-25 in gas per week, a 75k and 90k mile service.  February 11th will find me with new front brakes, but hey, it’s a seven year old car with 95k miles on it.

It is SO much smaller than my Outback, and I haven’t really had to test it in the snow, but overall, I’ve been pleased with the purchase.  Ironically enough, in 2016, I’d like to purchase a 2014 Subaru Outback.  I am convinced my 2002 was a lemon, as every mechanic I took it to insisted that Subarus are never this problematic.  The 2014 Outbacks have much better gas mileage than their previous brethren, and I would like to return to a car that doesn’t involve a game of trunk Tetris if I have to go to both Target and Costco.  At some point in our lives, I’d love another kid, and the Civic Hybrid trunk is half the size of the regular Civic, as the hybrid batteries are stored behind the backseats.

So, why I am rambling about this?  Because I’m about to tell you my big plan for 2014.

I’m going to do my damnedest to pay off my car this year.
Oh yeah!After years of not having a car payment, it really sucks to pay that monthly note.  I’d love to be done with it and move on.  How am I convincing myself I can accomplish this goal?1) All extra money I make from this blog, writing articles, etc., is going right towards that payment.  Did you know that if you click any Amazon link in any of my blog posts, or using the “Things I Dig” Amazon badge towards the bottom right of my blog, and buy something, even if it isn’t the thing I linked, I get a tiny kick back? Oh yes, I do!

2) Garage sale in spring.  With the house remodel scheduled to take place in spring, and my parents hopefully moving in this fall, we’re going to have less room for our stuff.  Which is fine, cause we don’t need so much dang stuff!  Purging our junk, and making money will be beneficial for helping to get this car owned free and clear.

3) I’m going to try and thin my grocery budget even more in the next few months.  I’m going to keep the same budget, but any money left at the end of the month will be applied to the car.

4) In July or August, we’ll finally pay off Jack’s tonsil surgery (March 2013) and sleep study (Nov 2012).  The combined bill for those two things was well over $6k, because of our huge health insurance deductible.  Currently, our health savings account pays $116 per month, and we pay $184 per month out of pocket to pay that sucker off.  For those of you who need a recap, Jack had a sleep study done in November 2012 because of his aggressive snoring.  It was found that he had 16 apnea incidents in just seven hours during the study! Homeboy’s tonsils were so big, that they forced him to stop breathing during the night.  I’ll gladly pay every penny of that surgery to have a healthy and rested boy.

5) In September, Jack will start Kindergarten.  I am still trying to figure out before and after school care, but it will only be for a combined few hours per day.  Not having our current daycare and preschool monthly payments will be HUGE for us.  We’ll almost feel rich not writing those checks each month!

6) Swagbucks!  I already use Swagbucks as my search engine to earn bucks and then I trade them in for Amazon gift cards.  I’ll use those as much as possible for birthday presents, and other necessary home items.  That should free up some budget to apply towards Honda Solo.

Now that you know my plans, I’d love to hear your suggestions and what has worked for you to pay off a big debt in the past!

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21 comments on “My big 2014 goal”

  1. We just paid off our car using Dave Ramsey’s debt plan. It is AMAZING. Next on our list.. paying of our other car- which will be much more work. Everything extra- tax returns, babysitting money (I don’t work but I babysit regularly but not regularly enough for it to be counted as income we can rely on). Good luck in your quest in paying of your car! I am right there with you!

  2. You NEED to find out if amazon.ca purchase count. In the “sponsored” thingies on the right, I see something that I looked up yesterday (which actually freaks me out a little…) So does that mean I can give you a little kickback? I know I have asked before, but I will be ordering these, plus a few birthday presents in the next few days. (My email should be linked to my name here, if you want to email me any details). I will only be ordering about $50 worth of stuff right now, but I order small amounts frequently and every little bit adds up….. Does that mean you will know what books my daughter reads?????
    Our car should be paid off soon too, but I am not sure what Hubby’s secret formula is besides overtime.

  3. You should see if you can get on the How Swagbucks Works For You feature (or whatever the hell it’s called). Might even bump you your traffic to here (and Amazon kickbacks).

  4. I got rid of my crappy Ford escape this year and got a 2014 Subaru outback. My payment was way lower and I get 34 mpg instead of 17. I also drive 300+ miles per week and this saves me at least $120 in gas per month. I know. I keep track on a spreadsheet :). I also fill up every 7-8 days instead of every 4. And I love the car. And it doesn’t leave me stranded in the middle of the road. True story.

    • This is so awesome to hear. Thank you for responding with your experience. I’ve spent hours reading reviews online and stuff, but haven’t heard personal experience from someone I “know”. I am debating between the Outback and Forrester, but all I can see about the Forrester is that the base model is cheaper than the Outback, but the only ones available are super expensive.

      Are you really getting 34 mpg? Are they highway miles? The Outback is supposed to top out at 30 mpg. What color did you get? I’m loving the silver and the pretty light blue. I really like the new green, but after having a dark colored car, I don’t desire having to keep it clean.

    • I have metallic blue with black/gray interior. The only downside is that my windows aren’t tinted which was fun this summer. HOT! And with this lovely winter weather my black floor mats are caked with white road salt. I guess that’s what you get in the Midwest. During this summer I was getting 34 mpg. I drive about 1/2 highway 1/2 city miles. It’s a continuous transmission which means it doesn’t shift like a normal car and it’s supposed to help with the gas mileage. It’s also partial zero emissions so that makes me feel better when I’m driving 350 miles per week.

      During the winter I’ve been getting more around 27 mph which is way better than what I was getting in my Escape. Of course it’s been bitterly cold here and I let my car warm up for about 5 minutes before I leave in the mornings so that drags it down a little too. The all wheel drive is great in the snow but I’m sure you won’t have to worry about that too much 🙂

      I went with the “cheap” version so I don’t have many bells and whistles but overall I’m very happy with it.

  5. Having a written budget has helped tremendously. I’d be lost without my simple Excel spreadsheet. I’ve used it for several years now and made changes where necessary. We were completely debt-free for a while, but then car repairs, a new HVAC (OUCH), and some “stupid tax,” as Dave Ramsey puts it, put us back into some debt. My goal is to pay off all of that this year, then next year work on paying off the car.

    My son moved out in January. Since then, our water and electric bills have gone down, not to mention putting gas in the car. I’d say get rid of your kid, but he’s a little young to be on his own right now …

  6. I can’t help you there, just now going back to a meal plan and budget. I’m tired of having to call the kids every month for help when a crisis hits! We drive an older, ’86, Chevrolet Suburban. One fill up a month is between 100-150, gas mileage is great on the highway and sucky in town. That fill up usually lasts a month at least, and we don’t drive very much, at least. We have to haul around three adults and two big dogs for “walkies” every other day since we can’t do it near home, and once every other month 2 hours away for major shopping, so we needed a comfortable car, and it is. I also feel relatively safe in it. We do all the maintenence and repairs, buy new tires every year, and insurance isn’t much because I don’t drive.

    Clothes are a big item for us. We buy some about every four years, things I can’t make (jeans and coats, gotta have ’em), and shoes, socks, and underwear every year. My goal this year is to work on the food budget money and pay down the medical bills. The hubs doesn’t have insurance so we are running into all that mess now, and he spends about 300 a month on his meds! Going to have to get the DH some new glasses soon, I’m still getting buy with the dollar store readers. They’re cheap and I have them everywhere!

    The BIL is covered under the state and medicare, fortunately. Unfortunately, if anything happens to him we lose two-thirds of our income, and that is something I have to plan for. It’s been one of my nightmares lately. I get paid to take care of him and that is the only job I’ve had for a long time now. Plus, I lose my insurance. I keep thinking if I win the lottery it would help, but that’s kind of a crappy retirement plan!!

    • Good luck Mama. Does your husband qualify for anything under the Affordable Care Act? I have family members that were paying $500 a month for horrible insurance, and now only page $65 a month for much better insurance.

    • Frankly, we both object to that so much…I just don’t know right now about insurance. We will have to do something eventually as he isn’t old enough for Medicare yet, and medical assistance turns down most people now and sends the information to the insurance agenies instead. Just haven’t really decided what to do. I really don’t like being forced to go through that horrible system to get substandard coverage.

  7. You should go on a spending strike! Myself and another blogger are doing one in the month of January (so we’re almost done), and are blogging almost daily on our progress:

  8. Lots of great tips! We are paying aggressivly on our student loans and few other debts we have as well. We recently discussed the option of the hubby possible being done with the military in 4 years (as opposed to retiring in 10), so we were even more driven to pay off our debt. We decided that each time we made the decision to eat out, but went home and cooked instead, that $40 would go towards the loan currently getting the highest payback amount.
    Also, each time we pay off a loan, we roll that payment into the next one that has the lowest amount due. So right now we are paying about $1100 on my student loans (which I don’t have to be paying on because I am a full time student). This loan will be paid off in May, then we will roll that $1100 into our next loan so that one will get $1500 a month, etc. Our last loan will (hopefully) be paid off in Jan of 2017. That’s $100k paid off in 4 years. Yeah, we live like we are poor, but it will SO be worth in when we are free and clear of all our debt.

  9. I have always used the simplest ways to save…I turn the hot water heater down after dinner dishes and on before 1st shower…if you are gone all day you could turn down again….I use our programmable thermostat…55 at night (in Michigan!) and during the day when I am gone….65 before I wake and before I get home. Turn off lights, unplug “stuff’. Cheap cable and Netflix. ATT go-phone for cell ($25 every 3 months and minutes roll over) We have a $15k deductible on our health also – hoping I can save with ACA…couple more years till medicare. Always use leftovers, make my own yogurt,etc. Love your blog

    • That’s a neat idea about the water heater! We didn’t realize it but we had a small water leak under our kitchen faucet and it was the hot water that was leaking. When we got our last energy bill, it was $70 more then the month before. Had no clue why until we discovered the water leak.

      We are guilty of always leaving our laptops on. I have a feeling we would save a ton if we shut them off and unplugged them at night.

  10. It’s great to know you’re coming along with the car payments! I know how hard it is to pay car loans, especially when you don’t have enough income. However, it’s nice to know that you’ve planned different ways to earn for this year. Good luck, Sarah! 🙂

  11. Pingback: 2015 goals - Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity