Goals for 2016 and Small Business Saturday

Today I want to take the time to have everyone really think about where and who they are buying from.  Despite the fact that I work for a big bank and I heart Nike, I’m actually pretty small business friendly.  I refer to the Yankees and Starbucks as the evil empire for example.  I support local businesses at almost every opportunity I can get in my everyday life.  Here are just a few examples of where I purchase items:

  • Family owned grocery store
  • Family owned fish market
  • Craft Beer bought at local liquor and bar
  • Craft beer of choice is actually on my walk home from the train
  • When we eat out we prefer our local sushi place about 1 block from our house, also BYOB
  • Any meat purchases we prefer to go to a local butcher about a mile away*
  • Coffee and studying for the wife and blogging for myself has us at a local coffee shop by our house
  • In the Loop on my $20-week budget, I choose a local coffee shop every single time
  • Still have money left over from the week?  You will find me at a local market who makes my favorite sandwiches or a family owned Italian stop

If you are anything like me you will avoid the big box stores for everyday purchases, I really believe in small businesses and I do my best to make them part of my community and part of my everyday life.  Today we went and visited our local coffee shop and purchased gift cards for ourselves:) and scored a $10 bonus for buying $40.  Since we like to grab a coffee and an apple turnover this gift certificate will go to good use.  Might just try some of the coffee beans and give it a go at the house. I’m happy to support small businesses, every single day, please consider doing the same.


As we close out the month of November and reach into December and Christmas time, the new year is right around the corner as was reminded by Mom and Dad Money a few weeks ago.  I began to get excited, not for Christmas although I am excited to head down to Florida for a week with La Familia, I am a finance nerd so I became really excited for planning out 2016!!!!

This is what I look like in front of my budget spreadsheet.

This is what I look like in front of my budget spreadsheet. Money Goals for 2016, OH BOY!


In November, I was able to update my benefits making a few calculated decisions for 2016.  Here’s a brief recap:

  • Canceled my vision insurance

We went through an eye test (included in our regular insurance) and bought our eye glasses in November 2015 so the thought process is that we will not need glasses or an eye check until late 2016 and can manage to hold off until our insurance kicks in as we will include vision insurance for 2017.

  • Bought 40 hours of vacation

I receive 3 weeks/15 days of vacation with my 9-5 job however,  Mrs. Even Steven receives 22 days.  This past year it was not a huge obstacle to get around as Mrs. ESM took an extra trip to Florida to visit La Familia.  This year we plan on taking a longer trip to Nicaragua with some friends and knew we would want the extra days.

  • Increase my H.S.A. to max contribution$6,750

Per paycheck (26 paychecks) $259.62 as this amount pales in comparison to what we contributed last year, but if you have read the Madfientist, he will tell you it’s the Ultimate Retirement Account.  This has been part of my Early Retirement Blueprint as we plan to have around $25,000 in my H.S.A account as our medical emergency fund.

  • Increase 401 (k) to max contribution-$18,000

Oh the biggy daddy of them all, haha!  I have been waiting to max this account since I began reading personal finance blogs. This past year I contributed up to the company match while I paid off all of my student loans.

Per paycheck (26 paychecks): $692.31; only thing that bothers me a little with this amount is I am unable to get the exact dollar amount.  Our company and I believe the servicer we use only allows a percentage, so unless by some act of the almighty, I will be either a little under or a little over the total amount of $18,000 max contribution for 2016.  Part of me wants to contribute $1 over and call in a fit of rage about not being able to update the total to a dollar amount rather than a percentage, in reality I will try to hit that $1 over minus the fit of rage.

  • Mrs. Even Steven Max 401 k contribution-$18,000

Not much changing here, last year we increased the contribution to a comfortable amount that will be very close to the full max contribution by the end of the year.  Last year we changed this right around the pay increase and bonus in an attempt to get very close to the max, this year with the expected raise and bonus for the entire year, it should be right on the money.

  • Pay off Florida Rental…..In Full

Our Financial Independence journey relies heavily on rental income and 2016 is set to have a major milestone.  Our expected goal to pay off the FL Rental property was for December 2016, after the mortgage company finally dropped the PMI (we also filed a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint since they should have dropped it months before), this allowed us to increase the principal payment and based on the projections finish off a month early! We are excited for this moment, much like my student loan repayment this marks a significant point in our journey.

  • Roth IRA-Mr. and Mrs. Even StevenUndecided

As we went through the numbers and our budget updates heading towards 2016, one of our sticking points has been contributing to our Roth IRA.  Mrs. ESM is less on board with this as she prefers to see the money in her savings account, she uses the money throughout the year for larger purchases, trips, etc and does not want to make contribute to the Roth IRA to only have to take it out.  I don’t think we will contribute immediately in the early part of 2016, but based on our conversation I believe she is 75% on board to contribute the last month of 2016 after the rental is paid in full.

I have a confession to make, I actually borrowed from Mrs. Even Steven to pay off my personal loan.  I know what you are thinking, in marriage everything is together.  However, in this case, I am borrowing money from her personal savings, since we keep our accounts separate and I will be paying her back throughout 2016.  One of my ideas that Mrs. ESM was not to fond of was paying her back by contributing to my own Roth IRA in 2016, at least I tried.  Based on my current 9-5 job I think contributing my max 401k and the household H.S.A contributions will make maxing out a Roth IRA the easiest task in the world.


The goals for 2016 include a max contribution to both 401k accounts, H.S.A., and paying off our Florida rental.  $41,750  are automatically set up to reach our goals, the Roth IRA is a work in progress.  I do not want to leave $11,000 on the table for our future, we make enough money to make this a priority.  On the positive side, so many great things have happened in 2015 and 2016 looks all the brighter ahead.  I look forward to our Financial Independence Day of May 2020, I can’t wait to share reaching our goals along the way.

*We are on a schedule to buy from Costco 1x every 2 months, anything in between is bought at our local grocery store or meat market

24 Responses to “Goals for 2016 and Small Business Saturday

  • Saturday Amex ran a promotion of $10 off any purchase at a small business. So the GF and I enjoyed a sushi lunch with $10 off! Those are some great goals for 2016, I need to start laying out mine but I have so many variables which are not set in stone yet.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Why I Don’t Follow My Passion Full-TimeMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      Yeah the HR benefits certainly helped put everything front and center, but most of our money goals are setup for an automatic withdrawal which makes things a little easier. IRA will be interesting, I’m hoping we fund it sooner rather than later, don’t want to miss out.

  • Sounds like 2016 is going to be a pivotal year.

    I find it interesting that you and the Mrs keep separate accounts. I knew this from previous posts, but I wonder why you do this?

    Just curious as to the thought process…

    Onward and Upward!
    Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…Savings Rate – The Most Important Variable to Wealth Building [and the math to prove it]My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      We mostly do it because it works for us:) We started out with separate accounts because I came in with all this debt and the Mrs. came in with a clean slate. We subscribe to the quote “Nobody hates your debt more than you” and it has helped me become very motivated to achieve debt freedom. We have one joint account that pays the mortgage, groceries, and utilities everything else we are personally responsible for. I think we both like being in control of our money, we don’t mind helping out the other, but I think we both prefer to be in charge…and we are.

  • Awesome that you are already setting your 2016 goals. Mine are still a work in progress but should be finalized before 2016 starts 😉

    I oversee the payroll for our company and normally most payroll processors will put in a hard stop at $18,000 so if you have $300 left to contribute but your withdraw percentage should take out $500, it will only contribute the $300. Not knowing the system they use, I can’t answer for sure but that has been my experience.
    Thias @It Pays Dividends recently posted…Dividend Payout #19 – How To Actually Save MoneyMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      That’s good to know, I’ll ping you the details to see if that’s the case. Although I was set on having $18,001:)

  • Wow! It sounds like you have a big year ahead of you for 2016. I can’t wait to see how it turns out for you. 🙂
    Cat@BudgetBlonde recently posted…How to Practice Feeling Content This Holiday SeasonMy Profile

  • 2016 looks to be great for you, but won’t the contribution go up to 18,500?

  • Nice that some of your goals for 2016 are automated, and pretty much guaranteed! I will be doing something similar for some of my goals. I’m sure the trip to Nicaragua will be awesome too, and well worth the purchase of the extra 40 hrs – got to have some time for fun during the year among all those serious financial goals!

    (and I look very similar in front of my own spreadsheets…)
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…A Warped Perspective of ‘Normal’My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      Jason, good to see you around my friend. I was just heading over to see what you are up to, hopefully not buying multi million dollar houses and islands; Yeah I have bought the vacation in the past and since it’s essentially paying yourself to take a week off over 52 weeks, i’ll take it.

      • Ha! You know we’ve already maxed out our spending on a home! It’s onwards and upwards from here for the Island savings rate!

        It has been a while since I’ve ventured out of the Islands, but back on deck and look forward to stopping by more often. Glad to see you’re still going strong!
        Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…A Warped Perspective of ‘Normal’My Profile

  • Glad to see that somebody else does the same vision insurance strategy as me!
    Josh recently posted…#GivingTuesdayMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      Yeah that one is new for me, saves around $100 this year, not bad considering we would not use it.

      • That’s about what I save as well with vision, I usually do my appointments in the 4th quarter. I cut it real close last year & had to visit a different doctor to be seen before end of the year. Procrastinators beware.
        Josh recently posted…Choose Your Own Adventure: Money ManagementMy Profile

        • EvenStevenMoney
          11 months ago

          Yeah for vision we have backup plans as well with extra glasses from a couple years ago so we are covered there. Procrastination is not covered on our plan either:)

  • Sounds like you have an awesome plan! One thing I miss about being in a health sharing ministry is not being able to use a health savings account. We still have our original account and plenty of money in it, but we can no longer contribute and reap the tax advantages.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…November Online Income Update: $16,482 Locked and LoadedMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      Thanks Holly! I’m a fan of the HSA, but I’m sure like yourself we will need to change our approach in the future.

  • Oh man I am all about local craft beer. It is huge where I live in Austin and its so good! I like to go local as much as possible but sometimes its a lot cheaper to not go local. That is my only problem with some local places is that they charge an arm and a leg for stuff you can find cheaper elsewhere.

    Cant wait to hear about your nicaragua trip. I love travelling outside the country.

    And that is amazing you plan on having your rental paid off in 2016. Congrats to that and hope you achieve the goal.
    Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…November 2015 Net Worth UpdateMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      Yeah I’m certainly a fan, helps this guy makes some great beer. You certainly have to be careful with some of the mom and pop shops, for us it means not buying brand name items like Chips Ahoy cookies because they will cost us more, if it’s a small amount I don’t really mind much. My grocery bill and eating/cooking is my luxury item, stops me from eating out at more expensive rates:)

      Yeah Nicaragua is great, I’m looking forward to seeing a couple more places this year. Yeah 2016 is a big year, just trying to top 2015!

  • We get so inspired reading other people’s goals, so thanks for sharing yours! We’re super jealous that you get access to an HSA, though we know we’re also lucky to have a low-deductible plan provided by my employer.

    We’ve hit that point where the markets have a bigger effect on our balances than our savings rate does (we know this is a good thing, and means we’ve saved a solid amount), but it makes it harder to set targets. But hey, at least we can control the inputs, and on that side of the equation, we’re going to keep on keeping on!
    Our Next Life recently posted…How We Convinced Our Families to Do a No-Spend ChristmasMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      11 months ago

      Yeah provided insurance sounds pretty good;)

      That’s awesome, I look forward to the day, hopefully spiking up our investments that year will lead down that path in a couple years, until then it’s paid off real estate!

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