2017 was a huge year for us as it marked the first full year that we were focused on making conscious decisions about our spending, actively reducing our debt and avoiding any new debt. It’s been really helpful (and motivational!) to keep track of our progress throughout the year. And, after we checked out our progress in 2017, we’re really excited about our financial plans for 2018! Here’s how we did:
CHANGING OUR SPENDING HABITS
We made a lot of conscious decisions regarding our spending habits in 2017 that have greatly impacted our ability to put more money toward paying down our debt. I’ve talked before about how we’ve cut costs on bills and eliminated unnecessary expenses, but, there were a few more changes that we focused on in 2017 that made a pretty big impact our on spending, too.
Asking the question. We tried to be much more purposeful with our spending, asking the “will this purchase get us closer to our goal?” question before making each purchase throughout the year. Of course, experiences like visiting national parks in Colorado and buying tickets for a local park’s Christmas event weren’t included in this category, as they fall into our smaller living (with less stuff), but bigger life (with more experiences) goal.
Staying in vs. going out on the weekends. We still enjoy nights out at the bar or casino, but, we’ve drastically decreased our Friday AND Saturday, every weekend spending habits. Each night we stay in instead of go out drinking, we save approximately $60, at minimum. And that adds up quick!
Eating at home vs. eating out. We definitely still eat out, but, we’ve made a conscious effort to have the ingredients in the house all the time for quick and easy meals at home. Knowing that we can whip something up at home quickly makes it more difficult to justify eating out for convenience and has saved us a pile of money.
REDUCING OUR DEBT
Our main focus this year was paying down our existing debt and I’m so, SO proud of our progress throughout the year! In 2017, we put a whopping $40,912.08 toward paying down our debt. Month to month, it doesn’t seem like we’re making much of a dent on the mountain of debt that we had accrued, but, seeing a total that we paid throughout the year is pretty incredible.
BRINGING IN SOME EXTRA INCOME
A kind of unexpected bonus for us in 2017 was adding some extra income to our cash flow most months. When we outlined our goals for the year, we didn’t plan to add any additional income above and beyond our paychecks. But, throughout the year, we ended up taking some small steps to bring a bit of extra money in, and ended up bringing in a cool $1358.34 extra income during 2017 without too much extra effort. This is another one of those “it really adds up” pieces. The best part of this extra income piece? Not only did we get a little extra jingle in our wallets, but, we also got rid of a TON of stuff from our house!
Overall, 2017 has been a really good financial year for us. Despite a few unexpected expenses along the way, we’re really pleased with how much progress we’ve made toward becoming debt free. So, here’s the big question: What ideas should we consider in 2018 to do even better?
Are you interested in our journey toward becoming debt free, selling everything, quitting our jobs and moving onto a boat?! There's much more information available on our website and we'd love for you to check it out: Small Living, Big Life.