Another year is (almost) over so it’s time to reflect on what has happened to us over the last twelve months. We always knew that 2015 would be a year to remember for us, after finding out I was pregnant at the end of last year. We knew that our lives would be changed forever, but I didn’t realise just how amazing the journey of becoming a parent was to be. Since August, our lives have been totally focused around bringing up our son, even with a rocky start with two hospital re-admissions, ensuring he is happy and healthy at every month. I’m looking forward to seeing even more milestones throughout 2016; rolling, crawling, sitting, walking, 1st birthday and everything in between!
At the start of the year, I made some goals for us to achieve by the end of the 2015. I like to make both monthly and yearly goals, to keep us focused and motivated throughout the year. I have to say, as yearly goals go for me, I haven’t done as well as I would have hoped to have done, but you learn from that experience and move on.
My Financial Goals for 2015 were:
– Put £8,000 into savings
– Overpay our mortgage by £3,400
– Have 220 NSDs throughout the year
– Open a S&S ISA
– Earn £1,000 in side income.
Now, part of our savings this year was to buy a “new to us” car before our baby arrived, due to only having a tiny, three-door car beforehand. We managed to buy a secondhand car outright with cash we’d saved by May, when we bought one for £6,500 cash. So, some of our savings for the year were actually spent earlier on. I haven’t included that amount in our total, as it’s already been spent. Some of savings are for short term things, but the majority of this is for a long term goals. We would have met this target had it not been for Storm Desmond which caused some damage to our house in December, which we needed to repaired as soon as we could. So, in 2015, I have managed to save £7,525.98 which is £472.02 behind our target. I’m in two minds about how I feel about this; the number is a good amount, but I haven’t met my target for the year. Must do better!
Halfway through the year I changed how we viewed our mortgage overpayments; being mortgage free is part of our bigger plans, but we’ve put the bigger overpayments on hold for the time being, whilst we focus on building our savings. So, naturally, we are far from this target in the end. In 2015, I overpaid our mortgage by £2,043.21 which is still a good number, but far from our target. However, we hit a big milestone this year in that our mortgage is now under £100,000 which is exciting! I think the number will fall more quickly now that we’re in the 5 figure number.
I know I go on about how NSDs are really key to us keeping to our budget, but I really like the idea and find them really helpful in focusing on not spending money. I thought 220 NSDs might be tricky to meet, but I’ve actually managed to have 227 throughout the year! Although that still means that I had 138 spend days during 2015 which seems like quite a lot written down. I think I’m going to increase my target for NSDs in 2016, just to see what happens.
No one was more surprised than myself at the fact that I have actually opened a stocks and shares ISA this year. Although I put it on my 2014 aims and then this years also, I don’t think that I believed I would finally open one and start investing. I think that the world of investing is still a somewhat confusing and complicated place, but I have started my investing journey within the confines of a stocks and shares ISA.
Related post: I’ve Started To Invest – Finally!
Lastly, this was a very optimistic aim when I wrote it at the beginning of the year, as I had no real plans as to how I was going to achieve it. In fact, I didn’t properly start to think about making an online/side income until later on in the year, so I didn’t give myself a fair chance in meeting this aim. At the end of the year, I have made £161.29 before taxes. So, far from my target but I’m pleased it’s finally started to trickle in. I have lots of plans for this during 2016, so watch this space.
My Personal goals for 2015 were:
– Get back to baking and actually enjoy it!
– Make sure my husband and I have date nights and time away
– Decorate our living room and spare bedroom
– Be more kind to myself
– Stop worrying about things I can’t change and focus on the ones I can.
I have done more baking this year, though this has tailed off somewhat in the latter months. I do enjoy baking, though the obvious downside is that I end up eating more as I have got tasty things in the house to eat. I had planned on making a birthday cake for my husband but time didn’t go to plan and he wasn’t bothered anyway. I want to continue to make homemade cakes and biscuits during the year; so much healthier than shop bought.
Me and my husband have been away twice this year; we went to Northumberland in April for a week and enjoyed some walks and relaxation in the beautiful countryside up there. I wish we could move there and live in the middle of nowhere, but that’s not very practical at this stage in our lives. Secondly, we had a weekend away at quite a posh hotel about a month before my due date. We didn’t do much apart from stay at the hotel and walk around the grounds, but it was nice to get away briefly beforehand.
Our spare bedroom has become the nursery, so we decorated that in early spring. We did it quite cheaply as we only painted the walls (a nice pale yellow colour!) and put in a new carpet before building the nursery furniture and making it into a cosy bedroom for the boy. Although he doesn’t sleep in there yet because he sleeps in our bedroom in a Moses basket, I enjoyed decorating the room for him to sleep in when he’s a bit bigger. We haven’t decorated our living room though; I’m glad in hindsight that we didn’t splash out for a new sofa as the boy is quite a sicky baby so it’s been covered in sick quite often! We are hoping he grows out of this sooner rather than later.
The last two personal aims are something I’m continuously working on and I believe that I have got better at this during the year. Nurturing and growing a child within my body meant I had to listen to my body more and take more rests when necessary; the two scares we had during my pregnancy confirmed that I needed to be kinder to myself and not try to do so much. Stopping worrying about every little detail has proved hard so I’m still working on that. Now that I am responsible for another human being, it seems to have got even harder to relax!
So, a bit of a mix in terms of hitting our goals, but I’m pleased with how this year has turned out. It really has been an amazing journey and, for some of the year, our finances took a back seat as we had our worlds turned upside down. Although we’ve not hit all of our targets, I think that 2015 has been our best year yet.
I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings 🙂