2014 Goals – $12k in debt reduction

Here we go!  It’s the last day of 2013.  No reason to wait until tomorrow (or the next day since we’re celebrating New Years.  Or why not just wait until the weekend?).  Here’s are my goals for 2014!

Professional Goals

  • Attend a prestigious institute for teaching.  This one is a little specific… I’m applying to a 2-week professional development opportunity in New York.  There’s quite a bit of competition to get in, but I’m fairly optimistic.  Hopefully I’ll be kicking off my summer “break” with 2-weeks in NY learning with a bunch of other young teachers.
  • Find a solid work/life balance.  The two coaching positions I hold are perhaps the most time consuming positions at my school.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I love coaching.  But in the next two months I’ll need to make a decision.  There’s a part of me that is considering dropping a sport.  I don’t want to do it, but it would probably do my personal and professional life wonders.  The monetary hit is noteworthy, but not significant.  The real question is if I’d regret dropping a coaching gig. This will be a bit of a dilemma, so my goal is to come out with some kind of decision that I am happy with in 1 years time.

Personal Goals

  • Go on 1 trip – keep it under $1k.  Other than the potential institute in NY.  I have a tentative plan for Vegas.  I think I could keep that trip under $800 (with, of course, the small potential to come back with a few extra dollars).  Last year I spent $1200 on a 6 day trip in Denver.  This year I want to scale it way back.  If Vegas ends up happening, I think it can be done for less than $800 and perhaps cheaper.  And just like Denver, I know it would be money well spent.
  • Drop 10 pounds.  It wouldn’t be a list of New Years resolutions without this one, right?
  • Bike more, drive less.  I guess I would call myself a pseudo-biker.  I have a bike, I like using it, but I’ve yet to transition to it as my main means of transportation.  Come spring, I’d like to give it a shot.

Debt Reduction Goals

  • $12,000 reduction in principal.  This is what “The Plan” calls for.  It will be a tough goal to hit.  In actuality, I want and need to exceed it.  That will require about $4k in addition to my regular, monthly payments.  It’s going to be a stretch.
  • Find a new Summer-Income source.  Last year I pulled in about $1,600 in umpiring softball.  This upcoming summer, that gig is gone.  I’ll reach out to another softball league and hope to be able to replace that income.  Otherwise, I’m going to branch out a bit and see if I can find a more steady, hourly gig.  The problem is, I only really have 6 weeks of “free” time in the summer so it might be tough.
  • Hit $5k in additional income.  This is what I’ll need to hit the goal.  Right now I can expect about $2k.  Where that additional $3k will come from, however, is uncertain.
  • Make “the decision.”  To put it bluntly, I don’t know if it is possible to pay down my debt in three years.  I’ll be detailing it in my next post, but I intend to use this year as the “test year” on whether or not I go all in for the following two years.  Sure it would be nice to clear the debt by age 30.  But I have to consider the negatives a little more: could I get a condo if I saved for a down payment?  Should I be growing retirement money?  Should I just enjoy my 20s and head to Thailand for a month (seriously, that last one… tempting…).  One year from today, my goal is to be ready to make that decision.

There you have it – my goals for 2014.  Anyone out there putting together some New Years Resolutions to hit?

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10 Responses to 2014 Goals – $12k in debt reduction

  1. Mimi says:

    I have really enjoyed reading about your debt pay-down this year. I think you would get a lot more readers if you commented on more of the PF blogs. I know that this takes some time commitment, but it is a good way to grow your readership. You have a lot of good things to share and there could be some income for you. (ie. guest posts) Who knows! People love to read about student loan pay-off strategies. I have no debt at all, but even I get a kick out of it!

    • Thanks for reading!
      I definitely try to comment on other blogs but not nearly as much as I would like. Perhaps that should be a new goal – 1 comment per day!

    • tarasensei says:

      Indeed! I just got here via his comment on GRS. I was impressed by the idea of a teacher – i.e. moderate-income earner – paying off all debt by 30. I work in nonprofits so a lot of the high-income PF advice (from IWTYTBR, MMM, etc.) doesn’t apply.

      • Well look at that! Thanks for stopping by! I too have found it a little difficult finding PF blogs focused on paying off a high load of debt on a single, moderate income. Looks like I’ll have to pave the way 🙂

  2. These are awesome goals! I really think the decision is a great goal to have. It’s really nice to have a long term goal and try to achieve it, but it’s also important to not just focus on that one thing and leave all the others behind. It’s all about balance and even if it takes you an extra year, but you have some money for retirement save also, perhaps that’s even better!

  3. kat says:

    i understand where you’re coming from on “the decision”–i’ve been struggling with similar “allotment” issues as well. our situation is a little different than yours because my husband is a contract engineer–it makes having a sizable cash cushion pretty important to me in case his contract ends and he doesn’t have another job lined up. it also means we don’t have 401ks so we’re all on our own and aren’t that great yet at fully funding our IRAs. thanks for giving me some more things to think about! 😉

    • Ahhh… having a cash cushion is something that I also overlook. Mine is approaching 3k, which is not bad considering I rent and if my car were to spontaneously combust I could still get to work. But it is still a little uneasy.

  4. I think that you could still work hard towards repaying your loans AND go to Thailand. The big cost for Thailand would be the flight and accommodation. Figure out ways to cut those costs and that becomes very affordable. If you are 25 it’s possible for you to get student rates on fares. Check out STA travel or a similar business and ask about pricing. I think the bigger issue is a question of balance. Once you figure out what will be a sustainable process things will settle down.

    • Unfortunately, I’m almost 27 – STA is out of the picture.

      I can definitely do both – but as it stands now, I am already well short of my debt paydown goal, so adding a significant expense (like a month in Thailand) will assure that I don’t pay down my debt in 3 years. Maybe in 4 though, and that’s where I need to decide what works for me best!

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