2016 was an insane year, I’ll be honest I’m glad it’s over. 2017 holds a lot of uncertainty for me as I embark on the journey of self-employment. But a lot of uncertainty also means a lot of opportunities.
I’m excited to see where it might lead. But before I can see where I might be headed and improve on what I learned in 2016, I need to review where I’ve been. So here is my 2016 review along with my 2017 goals.
My 2016 Numbers
It wouldn’t be Less Debt More Wine, without an update on my money.
Beginning of 2016
Car Loan: $7454.58
Bar Loan: $9,590.76
Student Loans: $241,011.76
At the end of 2016:
Car Loan: $5,844.90 difference: -$1,609.86
Bar Loan: $8776.22 difference: -$814.54
Student Loans: 248,758.48 difference: +$7,746.72 Because Income-Driven Repayment plans don’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.
What Happened in 2016
I had a lot going on in 2016. I moved (for the second year in a row), though I didn’t enjoy my new place much since I also I traveled a ridiculous amount for work. After traveling nonstop for over two months and not having a life I found out I was going to be laid off at the end of 2016.
Fortunately, I had started to focus on freelance writing during the summer of 2016 and have decided to have a go of it full-time starting this month. Approaching this date has involved a roller coaster of emotions, from excitement to anxiety but I’m fortunate that I’m not going it alone. One of my best friends is striking out on their own too.
Related: My Debt Journey
What I Hope to Accomplish in 2017
Given the amount of change, I’m not too surprised that I didn’t make the progress I’d hoped to on my debt. Working my full-time job brought in a steady paycheck but it also greatly limited my ability to make more, especially when I was traveling.
Now that I have complete control over the amount of money I earn I’m more motivated. That motivation means I’ll start making a lot more progress on my debt.
My current minimum debt payment required is about $1k. So my goal for January is to put $1,500 towards my debt. As such my monthly debt reports will now include my monthly goal of what I will put towards my debt.
I’ll Be Sharing Income Reports in 2017
If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, then you’ve already got some idea of what my income reports look like. I’ve decided that in 2017 I will be sharing those income reports on the blog. I expect the first one to be available early to mid-February once I’ve tallied up January’s income.
I’m Going All In But I’ve Still Got A Backup Plan
While I am going all in and betting on myself I’m doing it with a safety net. I’ve got nearly 5 months worth of income saved up, in case my self-employment doesn’t quite hit the mark the first month. I’m also taking advantage of the career services my former employer provided as part of my termination package.
Worse comes to worse, I’ll have some time to start looking for another job if self-employment doesn’t seem to be working out. Though I feel like I do have somewhat of an advantage over others making the switch. I’m already used to working from home.
Because while I was on the road a lot this last year and a half for work, I didn’t always travel that much and I’ve always been home-based. That means I have about 4 years of experience working from home. Making that switch can be a big adjustment and it’s one I’ve already done.
It’s all well and good to plan to put more money towards debt, but it’s another to set SMART goals. It is difficult to come up with specific goals when I don’t know what my income will look like. However, I figure it is better to set a goal and work my ass off to reach it than to wait and see what happens and then try to figure out what to do.
One of the biggest lessons I learned when paying off my credit cards was to put my money towards my goals first. So I decided how much I wanted to put towards the goal and then did that first rather than seeing what was left over after putting my money everywhere else.
My debt goal for 2017 is to pay off my car loan and my bar loan, a total of $14,719.12. This would require me to put on average an extra $850 per month towards those debts. It is a stretch, but I’m confident that it is possible.
What are your debt goals for 2017?