Setting goals is something I do personally and we do as a family every single year. Usually, I look forward to these goal-setting session with great anticipation. This year, not so much. It’s been an exhausting year here from a personal standpoint, and although we are praising God that we came through the many bumps in the road that we experienced with success, I’m Just. Plain Tired. Although I can’t share all of the details of our hurdles, they were intense to say the least.
Have you ever had a year like that? No need to share the details, it’s just that, in spite of the many tribulations I’ve experienced in my life (see more on that here, here and here) I’ve usually come out with a victorious attitude. This year I just feel kind of like I escaped certain destruction by the skin of my nose and I’m darn worn out.
But that isn’t going to stop me – or our family – from setting our 2016 goals. There’s lots to be done here and we’re eager to get it done.Here’s our plan for 2016:
2016 Goals and a 2015 Recap
Food Growing/Preservation Goals
We’re getting ready to expand our gardening, canning and preserving BIG TIME in 2016. We did a great job of increasing our gardening bounty in 2013 (our first year on the farm) and 2014, but because of the above-mentioned bumps in the road last year, our 2015 gardening efforts were a complete and utter fail.
2016 will see a much bigger garden, and a much bigger food preservation supply, Lord willing. We did absolutely no canning last year, and I’m thoroughly missing our Smoky Chipotle Salsa and our Dill Pickles. Our gardening mindset this year will be on truly self-sufficient food supply building.
Off-the-Grid Living Goals
I can’t go into too much detail right now (hubby wants to keep it private until the plans are finished), but we’ve got some seriously extensive plans for off-the-grid living expansion as well. We still don’t have our wood-burning stove installed (although it is sitting in the great room as a beautiful centerpiece 🙂 ) and we need to do something along the lines of purchasing a generator Not sure what that’s going to look like yet (can’t figure out what form of generator will work best: Propane? Solar? Any suggestions, my prepping friends?) We also want to install a hand pump for our well since it’s on an electric pump, but if we get a decent generator in place that might not be necessary. Still, because water is such a vital supply to life (especially if you have farm animals) I’d feel better having a manual pump on the well.
Due to the exhausting circumstances surrounding 2015, we’ve let our stockpile supply run down to nothing. In a way this was intentional (more on that later) but we’ve got to get some other prepping measures in place and then we’ll be building the supply back up. More specifically, we’re going to increase our food, water, and shelter prepping measures.
If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that I’ve said absolutely nothing about our debt payoff journey for several months. In the summer of 2014, we had a few unexpected expenses (laundry room flooded twice and needed to be remodeled, our only TV died) that put a nice-sized dent in our debt-payoff progress. When that happened, we had a couple of Negative Nellies respond to the posts sharing those details by ripping us apart big time for getting into debt. Their nasty words took such a toll on my self-esteem that it took me months to overcome the negative effects (Yes, I need to seriously NOT CARE what others think. Working on this and getting better at it all the time. 🙂 ). At this point in the game, I can’t afford any more unfounded verbal lashings (I’m perfectly fine with constructive criticism) so I’m not sharing our progress until the consumer debt is gone. At that point, I’ll gladly go into serious detail about the ups and downs of our journey in hopes of inspiring others.
SO, our 2016 financial goals consist of:
- dumping the rest of our consumer debt
- making a serious dent in our mortgage debt
Again, I’ll go into detail about how much we’re dumping and how we’re doing it later on. It’s gonna be a great story. 🙂
How are we planning on kicking it up to finish off our journey this year? Here’s the scoop:
- We’re seriously limiting our spending. Although we did great on grocery spending for 2015 (our lowest year yet at roughly $422 a month for our family of six!!!) we failed miserably in the area of entertainment spending. Our average for entertainment spending in 2015 was a whopping $145 a month. Ouch. Much, much higher than our 2014 and 2013 actuals, which landed at $56 a month (avg) and $74 a month respectively. The reason for this lies solely in the fact that with all of the troubles we experienced this year, we turned to some serious instant gratification measures to reduce stress. We’re not beating ourselves up over this, but 2016 will indeed be different. We also had major home repairs that needed to be done this year, to the tune of nearly 14k. Not going to lie – that
hurtpounded the crap out of us financially. But the house is in great shape now, and to our knowledge, nothing else major should need to be fixed. That’s the good news, I guess. The other good news is that the struggles we experienced this year really taught us to love ourselves a lot more than we had been. As such, finishing the debt payoff is top priority because we love ourselves enough to know that we deserve financial freedom.
- We’re continuing to work on increasing income. Although Rick’s OT income dropped in 2014 and 2015, my freelancing income went up. As an addendum to that side hustle income, we’re adding on some other side hustle avenues, which, if they work, we’ll gladly share with ya’ll. This combo of lowering expenses and increasing income should add up to BIG RESULTS financially for us.
As I mentioned earlier, the one benefit of all of the crap we went through in 2015 was that it taught us how valuable we are as individuals and as a family. As such, we’re working to allot a bigger portion of our time to self-preservation and self-improvement. These changes will come in the form of increased physical exercise (for the purpose of self-care), increased time together as a family and implementing more “experiences” together as a family as well. We have some idea of what this will look like, but not set-in-stone parameters. Therefore I’ll be giving updates on the blog about this as we experience them.
My goal with the blog is to provide regular, awesome content each week that will truly benefit and inspire you: our faithful readers. We’ll increase the amount of resources we’ll make available to you on prepping, survival skills, financial education and homesteading. We sincerely hope you’ll stay with us (and join us if you’re new) for all of the exciting things that are coming in 2016!
If you haven’t already, now’s a great time to sign up to receive our weekly newsletters and to receive our articles via email. You can do that by clicking on any of the invite boxes hanging out around the site. Thanks for joining!