Each year we write a summary post of our personal life highlights and major financial goals we met. Last year my ‘taking and trashing’ post literally started with “Is it cliche to say I can’t believe this year is over.” I’ll admit that this year I am counting down the seconds to the end of 2020 and wondering when it will be over. I can joke and say we want to trash all of 2020, but that is simply not true. Too many important conversations occurred. Too many important statements were made in protest. To many people who matter to us were impacted in a way that deserves space.
Highlights of 2020
2020 wasn’t magical, but it held some important memories we do not want to forget. Below are the highlights for 2020.
- We moved to a new state at the start of 2020
- We bought a home and completed a reno on the kitchen and both bathrooms building over $100,000 of equity
- Paid off $40,886.42 in student loan debt
- We downsized to single-car household
- We are happy to say we made several new friends in Arizona
- We were nominated for a Plutus Award for the 2nd year in a row
- I had media coverage from Business Insider, Qube Money, and Reviewed.com (A USA Today company)
- I wrote an important story about my Aunt saving $45,000 in her emergency fund
- We were able to get one month ahead in our budget
- I was able to get one month ahead in my business budget
- I organized a COVID resources webinar series for the Plutus Foundation
- My business took a pivot and I could not be happier with the new services I am offering
- We did a road trip home to see family and watched my brother ride a horse for the first time
- We bought a tent and started camping every other weekend.
- We camped in Utah and celebrated Charles birthday while there
- We visited Yosemite National Park which was empty and stunning
- We became more politically active than ever and started making regular donations to BLM and other causes we believe in
- We adopted a pandemic puppy and her name is Claire
- I grew my houseplant obsession to an all-time high
- Charles found a group of gaming buddies for virtual game nights twice a week
- I found a virtual writers group that I meet with three times a week
Let’s not forget that Zoom became a staple in our home in a way I never thought it would.
Single Car Household
This year held some serious change when it came to our cars. We went from a two-car household to a single-car household and we do not plan to go back even when the world opens up again. There are a few reasons, but the first is that Charles will be negotiating a work from home position when his company does transition back to the office. This means most of the time I will still have access to the car. Worst case scenario, I drive him into work if I have an appointment or a client meeting. One car has been cheaper and hasn’t caused us any headaches so we plan to stick with it.
At Home Work Outs and Daily Hikes
One of the hardest parts of quarantine was giving up my cycle and yoga classes. As someone with some anxiety they help me clear my head and level my mood. Finding something similar while at home was a challenge but now I think I have it down. Two days a week I do Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube and the other five days a week I go for a trail run or hike with Charles. We are lucky to have a whole mountain trail system right behind our house so the options are endless. Charles continues to mountain bike and build his skills on the very different terrain here in Arizona.
As I said in the beginning, 2020 has brought space for essential conversations about racism and bias. There were multiple times we felt called out in 2020 and we knew that meant we had some serious work to do. In an effort to be better humans we have been educating ourselves, not shying away from hard conversations, and putting our money to work. We aren’t perfect, and we know that, which is why this work continues for us in 2021.
One Month Ahead Budgeting
In 2020 we were able to get one month ahead in our budget. This simply means we live on last months paychecks in the current month and put all money made in the current month away in savings. This way, we know exactly how much money have to support us for that entire month. This was a major accomplishment for us and we plan to continue this into 2021.
Sinking Funds (Multiple Savings Accounts)
We are not new to having a few savings accounts, but this year we really got organized by dedicating specific accounts for specific purposes and building up each of those sinking funds. For example, we have a house emergency fund because we know we will need a new water heater and a new AC in the next few years. We also have an auto insurance savings account in which we contribute the exact amount we need to save up for our annual payment (we pay for a year at a time to save money). We have several other accounts and it has been a lifesaver for staying organized with our finances.
Mint for Budgeting and Tracking Spending
While we love our budget spreadsheet for all it did for us, we are retiring it and completely rely on mint to track our expenses and budget as a couple. In order for us to see everything we made an account using a joint email and connected all of our individual accounts in one place. The only time this was tricky was for gift-giving, but we agreed to disconnect specific cards when we needed to make a surprise purchase. We made sure to record it later on.
TikTok and Videos
This year I made so many videos for both the blog and my business. If you have not followed me on TikTok yet, please do! I am @hisandherfipost or you can click on the icons in the menu. You can expect more videos from me in 2021 including weekly financial challenge videos for the month of January.
Cancelling A Wedding
This year we had to cancel lots of trips and conferences, but there was nothing more upsetting than cancelling our wedding we had planned on for a year and a half. In 2021, we plan to have our wedding, we just aren’t sure when due to COVID.
Running Social Media Accounts
No, I am not jumping ship on social media, but I do not want to spend so much time on there. With both my business and this blog it can be overwhelming. So I hired someone! She will be working with me on the social posts for this blog and my business so I can get back to writing and working for my clients. I will still be making the content, but I no longer need to manage it. Yay!
I would also like to say that as soon as we possibly can we will be trashing our masks and starting to travel again. Of course, we want to do this once it is safe for everyone. Our families BOTH had COVID and we take this very seriously. (They have all recovered well thankfully).
Those Who Inspired Us This Year
There are many people we worked with this year that inspired our journey. I am listing the few that may be the most helpful for our audience here.
Thank you all for following us into the new year! We are so grateful for you. -Bethany and Charles