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!
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at least in your life now, when unexpected expenses pop up, you are much more prepared than you were in the past, so be grateful for that! 🙂
Also, I completely support having a few luxuries in your life, and replacing them when they’re broken or finished, especially if they’re quality of life items. My mom needs some serious dental work to replace her 1980’s done bridgework that has to be fully replaced. She lives with having missing molars on the lower left side of her mouth now because she’s worried about the cost, although she actually has the money to pay for it (and us kids can help too). When she told me she can’t even really eat steak anymore, I told her she’s gotta make the appointment and find out the full cost and get the work done. (she’s got this fear of spending that much money at once in that penny-wise, pound foolish manner I think). There are some things in life, like enjoying an occasional steak, that to me are quality of life items, and living with missing teeth when you have the financial ability to alleviate the problem is a poor use of money in my opinion. What good is money for if you can’t use it on the things in life that truly matter? (**now I know, if a person can’t afford to fix expensive dental work, that’s an entirely different can of worms and I sympathize fully).
I hear you, Tara!! Keep working on your mom to get that dental work. She deserves quality of life over money in the bank. I totally get where she’s coming from, but as you said, penny-wise, pound-foolish. We used to do so many of those same things. So glad we’re learning better now.
Our goals sound similar to yours. We are planning to be 100% debt free by the end of the year. We also want to expand our canning and food preservation from our garden, begin keeping honeybees, and possibly raise layers (chickens) for eggs.
We’re considering chickens too. I’m not terribly keen on the idea, but I love the thought of having fresh and healthy eggs right in the back yard.
Good luck Laurie and family! 2016 is going to be a great year! I wish you much success!
Thanks so much, my friend!
Ummmm yeah you win ” Although we did great on grocery spending for 2015 (our lowest year yet at roughly $422 a month for our family of six!!!)” We as a family of 2 plus dog were at $450, I mean I include everything we buy at the grocery/Costco but yeah once again you win. I’m wishing you the best on the pay off debt journey!
Thanks so much, Steven! We appreciate the support more than you know.
I hope 2016 is a great year for you and your family!
Thanks so much, Michelle! And the same to you.
I’m not sorry to see 2015 in the rearview mirror either. I hear you on being plain tired and needing some rest and few big wins. It sounds like you have a great plan for 2016 and I’m definitely cheering you and your family to victory!
Thanks SO much, Tanya. And you will have a great year too. 🙂
I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with negative nellies out there. 🙁 I think self-care is always a good idea to implement into your goals. Not enough people do. I’m actually reading a book called, “Busy” right now to try and help me manage everything I need to do, and more importantly, drop things I don’t need to do, per today’s article. Best of luck to you and your family this year!
Hmm, I haven’t heard of that book! Sounds like it might be good. That’s another of my resolutions: read more this year. Part of self-care, you could say. 🙂
How wonderful that you are on track to pay off all consumer debt in 2016. I’m REALLY looking forward to reading the whole story from the hindsight perspective. Blessings to you and your family this year, my friend : )
Me too, Ruth – me too! 🙂 And abundant blessings back to you as well!! God is good, all the time!
Love the goals, Laurie! Looking forward to hearing about the new side hustles. Here’s to a great 2016!
Yes, DC, for both of us!!!
I’m always so disappointed when people feel the need to be negative to those who have the courage to share their ups and downs during a financial or personal journey. Can’t wait to hear about your debt payoff when it does happen.
Thanks, Kim! We’re looking forward to sharing the story. 🙂
Best of luck with your goals Laurie, who cares about what people think. Do you know the AGA burners? I spent a few weeks cooking on one this winter and loved it. They’re not too expensive second hand. They are always warm so warm up the room, dry clothes and you can always put something in the oven it’s ready to go. Very nice for cold weather.
Thank you so much, Pauline. No, I’m not familiar with them!!! I will look for one!
More family experiences sounds like a great plan. Sometimes we get so focused on what we feel like we “ought” to be doing (volunteering, etc.) that we forget our own families under our noses. I don’t have any generator recommendations, although I would mention that if it’s at all possible, it’s a huge help to swap out your electrical box for one that includes a generator plug right on it. Then, instead of running extension cords all around the house, you can just plug in the generator and go on as normal.
So true, Janeen!!! Our electrical box already has that feature, thank God!! This is why I’m so eager to get a generator in here – it would be so easy. We’re just having a bit of analysis paralysis regarding what type of generator. They cost so much money and we don’t want to end up with something we’re not happy with.
Sorry to hear that a couple of people went and ruined the debt payoff sharing for you. Alas, trolls will be trolls.
Good luck with your goals. Canning and preserving are always great, whether you want to live on or off the grid.
I’m going to try to grow my blog more in 2016 in the hopes of making any kind of income off it. We’ll see how it goes. I’m also going to try to keep working out. So far, so good!
That’s terrific, Abigail!! I’m certain you’ll kick tail on your goals. You’ve got drive!
Your 2015 sounds like mine – definitely some bumps in the road that were hard to overcome, but I’m looking forward to a better 2016. Wish you all the best and can’t wait to follow along with you through the year!
Thanks, Brittney! The very best of luck to you guys as well!!
Forget those nasty people with negative comments. You are working hard and paying off debt. Enjoy your accomplishments. We’ll be here cheering you on!
Thanks so much, Melanie!!!
Hope you have a great new year! Sorry to hear about the negative nellies…please pay them no attention. I know it’s definitely harder said than done. I’m pretty sensitive to criticism…sometimes even when it’s constructive. I heard this quote recently and it is very true…”try not to take things personally. What people say about you is a reflection of them, not you.” Like Abigail said…trolls will be trolls. For some reason, they take satisfaction in ripping people anonymously behind their keyboard. Their lives and self-esteem are probably poor and they get joy out of being negative towards others.
You’re so right, and I know that. Am working on not taking those NN’s so personally. Making progress day by day. 🙂
I wish you to reach all your goals for the new year. Me and my family have moved to a farm in October last year and now we are also setting goals for growing a lot of plants. Doing gardening and taking care of animals will be the main thing that we need to learn to do. I am very excited about it! Good luck with your goals! Thank you for sharing!
SO happy for you, Jan!!! I hope you love the farm life as much as we do. We plan on having lots of gardening/homesteading posts this year, and we’d be honored to have you tune in!
I always hate to hear of my friends getting negatively impacted by jerky commenters. It’s so easy for people to comment and criticize without having walked in anyone’s shoes. Your journey is your own and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. I think you have some pretty awesome goals for 2016 and know that I am in your corner and cheering you on to achieve all of them!!
Shannon, I appreciate your support more than you know – thank you, my friend. 🙂
We are on the same league Laurie. I’d definitely get out of debt this year and would remain for the rest of the year at least. Good luck to us. We can do and achieve these goals.
Great to hear, Jayson! Be sure to share your success story with us when it happens!
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