2018 is upon us, and I am working on setting goals for the coming year. I am using my bullet journal to help me keep our finances at the forefront of our minds so we can give it all the focus it deserves. If you are interested in bullet journals, goals and general notebook nerdy-ness, get ready to geek out hard and come on a tour of my layouts!
Goal #1 – Pay no NSF fees this year
Its embarrassing to admit that we paid any NSF fees at all last year, but we did. I would get so focused on debt repayment that I would throw too much money on our debt, and forget that we had a payment coming out. As a result, BAM! NSF Fees. Which is a major annoyance when you are working SO hard to pay off debt! So, I have added two trackers to help me with this.
This wheel was created to help me keep by weekly bills and date specific bills together in one place. I realize it looks confusing, but it makes sense in my brain. The outer wheel is dates, the inner two are days of the week/weekly cycles. So for example, I can see that we get paid by weekly on Fridays.
I used this little layout every single time we got paid in the last half of 2017. It was the end to NSF fees, so I plan to continue to use it. It isn’t my prettiest layout, but its about function not perfection.
Side note for the pen nerds:
I didn’t know when I started that the markers are meant to be blended, which, could be a bonus in the future now that I know how the markers behave. I was disappointing with this page turned out because the colors look muddied. However, I found that my Tombow fudensuko pen doesn’t smear hardly at all, so in the future, that will be my go-to for outlines. Smearing aside, I get the hype of the Tombow Dual Tip Markers. Love them!They are incredibly bright and vibrant. The Galaxy palette is my new favorite. Thanks family for the amazing birthday gift!
What I am trying to do this year is pay our monthly bills ahead of time using our first paycheck, and use whatever is left over from paycheck two at the end of the month to lump sum onto debt. With this tracker I can check off bills that I have already paid, so I don’t end up paying them twice. It also helps me to calculate how much needs to stay in our account for automatic bill withdrawals.
Goal #2 – Bring in $950 additional income/month
I have created a budget on only my husband’s income, which allows us to repay $900/month of debt. What a one income budget ensures, is that, we can pay all of our bills if my income is sparse or I need to be home with the kids. It also allows 100% of any income I take home to be re-directed into sinking funds and additional debt payments.
My personal income goal is to make at least $6, 140.70 this year to cover debt, plus an additional $5500 to fully stock our sinking funds.
I have been getting creative with our finances, and so, I added this income tracker (I found the idea here) and it allows us to tally up all sources of income. I wanted to be able to look back over the year and see exactly how much my side hustles brought home and how much apps like caddle, ebates, and Checkout 51 added to our income (learn more about those here). My plan is to indicate each income source with a different colour.
In order to keep track of the total dollar amount that we need for our sinking funds this year, I added a tracker for those as well. I still need to factor in Christmas and birthdays, but we haven’t decided on the dollar value for each of those categories and will add them in when we do. I want to be able to anticipate upcoming expenses better, and this helps me to achieve that.
Goal # 3 – Pay off $16, 940.82 in 2018
Meeting this goal in 2018 would mean that we completely knocked out our smallest line of credit. Plus, that would include paying off 75% of our van loan. I set the bar a bit high for one income, but I think we can manage it. In my opinion, goals should be set just high enough you need a bit of faith to get them done.
Have I mentioned I like bright and colourful things? When it comes to something visual, this tracker does the trick. I can see all our loans at a glance, and the progress we have made on each one. Plus, I needed a little pep and a pop of colour to makes something as dull as debt repayment exciting. Its the little things…
In addition, I found this really incredible website called Undebt It. It calculates the fastest way to repay your debts using various pay off methods. Shockingly, when I tried out all the methods, our pay out date was the same every time. (I am planning a future post about our plan of attack for debt repayment.)
To complete this layout, I added the pay off date estimations and plopped them along the left side in blue. These are the dates we will pay off each loan if I contribute nothing additional. I fully intend to be adding extra money with an income I make this year, so I thought it would be fun to see how much faster we can pull things off.
Lastly, I have added a simple worksheet. This sheet calculates how much of a dent we have made in our total debt load each month. It is not very exciting, but is a tool that I used monthly in 2017 and will keep using. I enjoy looking back and see how much we were able to pay off each month with a dollar amount attached. This is the total I use to fill in the ‘big picture’ repayment tracker.
For the first time in a long time, I feel in control of our finances, and I am excited to see how using my bullet journal impacts this area of our life. In general I think the bullet journal is the best thing since sliced bread, if you need an organisational tool, take a look into this one. I will keep you all posted on things that are/are not working well, and if I make any changes to my current layouts.
Do you use your bullet journal for finances? I’d love to hear how you are using it to help you achieve your goals in 2018.
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