Hi everyone! I promise, next week I'll start having somewhat regular posts again! We're doing well, just really busy with summer things.
Pete and I were discussing earlier today about setting some financial goals for ourselves. We've noticed that when we have a goal, especially when in regards to financial things, we seem to handle our money better.
Why is it important to have financial goals? It helps you to stay focused, to keep your spending in line, and help you tell your money where to go.
What kind of time line should I have for my goals? Honestly, that may vary on a few things: what your budget allows you to do, what you're willing to sacrifice, and what how much money you need to accomplish said goal. Because Pete is a teacher and only gets paid during the school year, we've found that basing our goals around the school year rather than calendar year works better for our situation.
How can I stay motivated? I know that it can be hard when you have a goal that's not super fun, like paying off a loan. To me, it's much more fun saving for something like a vacation that you get something for all of your hard work! Having a chart where you can see the numbers go up (if it's a saving goal) or down (if it's a paying off debt goal) can help. Setting up mini-goals may help, too: if you're paying off a $5,000 loan, setting goals like paying off each thousand dollars and treating yourself to something small can be helpful and rewarding!
So what goals did we set today? These are all things really important to us for our family's security. I have them listed in chronological order, not order of importance.
#1: Have our car loan paid off by Thanksgiving
This hopefully won't be too much of a stress for us; if we worked really hard, we might be able to have it paid off by October, but Thanksgiving gives us a little bit of wiggle room. We were originally hoping for end of the year, but Thanksgiving means we have to work at it, but not too awful hard. We try to not have any debt, but as Pete's car was totalled in February of this year, we had to take out a loan. We're really excited that our 3 year loan will be paid off in less than a year's time!
#2: Save up and purchase a new camera (in cash) by December 31st
Our camera's flash died a couple months ago. Can I just say how hard it is to take pictures without a flash? We might consider looking into just replacing the flash part, but as it's a few years old, we think a new camera might pay off more. Any suggestions on what kind we should look for? We're looking mostly for a SLR that's budget friendly.
#3: Have $10,000 in our savings account by July 1st
This one is going to take a lot of work and some sacrifice. We have just over $2,000 in there now, but getting that $8,000 is going to be tough. We're really going to have to watch our spending in order to accomplish this one! However, having this money saved is part of Dave Ramsey's Step 3 in his Financial Peace University; Step 1 being save $1,000 in an emergency fund, and Step 2 being debt free (with the exception of mortgage, which we should have by Thanksgiving!!!). Step 3 is having 3 - 6 months of living expenses saved, creating a fully funded emergency fund; $10,000 is somewhere between 4 and 5 months for us. Please help keep us accountable with this goal!
Do you have any financial goals set? How do you stay motivated to accomplish your goals?