Setting goals for 2022 seems a little scary to me. I set high goals for myself for 2020 thinking “this would be my year” but then Covid happened and we ended up treading water for the entire year along with the rest of the world. I set no goals in 2021 except to keep our heads above water. This year however, instead of surviving I want to thrive!
2021 was a tough year for us financially. Our expenses for the kids increased dramatically, we ended up owing a chunk of a change in taxes, I took 6 weeks off for surgery, we had to replace a car, our oldest child moved out and our grocery budget doubled even with our cutting back methods and utilizing free school lunches over the summer when the kids were home. Having strict dietary needs and a child that only eats certain items really increases our budget, especially if those items are skyrocketing in price. We used to be able to keep our budget under $600 for our family of four plus helping our oldest daughter out but now we regularly spend $1000 in a month for groceries and we never eat out, and I mean never. My dining out budget for the entire year is probably $200 and we use gift cards if at all possible.
For 2022 we are setting some goals but only tentatively. We ended up refinancing our house at the end of 2021 to take advantage of the low interest rates. We did take a little bit of cash out to pay down some debt and fix a couple of things, but we are still hovering at around 40-50% equity which I am ok with. We most definitely did not max out our loan amount to pay for major remodels like some of my neighbors did. Hopefully their investments will pay off when they sell their houses in 5ish years like they plan to but it seems risky to me.
- Max out IRAs – Done. We did this last week with some of the Refi money. I do not recommend this at all but I am way behind on my retirement so for us the risk was worth it.
- Increase our 401k contributions – I haven’t increased this yet because the employer match goes up in April. Our goal is to narrow the gap between what we are contributing now and maxing it depending on mid-year promotions.
- Save, save save. I don’t have a savings number goal but I increased our investment amounts, reinstated my automatic contributions to our emergency fund and increased the kids’ college savings amounts.
- Decrease our grocery spending – This year I really want to focus on meal planning and eating through our pantry and freezer. I have been working on slowly building our food storage up to about 30-60 days worth but food goes bad and I wouldn’t want to waste any of it. We just completed our January pantry clean out and are worked on the freezer in February. I don’t feel comfortable letting the pantry get down to bare bones any more, not since February of 2020 when we last did this and then Covid hit and we were out of everything but we do need to regularly make an effort to eat through the odds and ends of what we have.
- Be more mindful of our spending – Last year I tried to greatly reduce plastic in our every day lives and this year I want to focus on mindful spending. Some questions we are asking are: Are we buying things just to shop or do we actually need them?
That’s it for 2022. Our focus will be on saving and trying not to let our expenses get away from us. What are your goals for 2022?