In an effort to better myself financially, I recently picked up a book at the library called The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. It had some great tips and tricks, but the thing I liked most of all was an idea she had about how to set your goals. One of the things it starts with is to ask yourself a question and then brainstorm about it.
The question is: Where do I want to be financially, five years from now? The key is to write down as many things as you can think of, from completely doable to nearly impossible. Then you choose three goals based on a time frame—i.e., 6 months, 1 year, 5 years—and you break down those goals until you have them in monthly, weekly, or daily increments.
In theory, my financial goal for the next five years is to make insane amounts of money (you know—win the lottery, get a windfall from a random stranger, be the next big thing). In reality, I know that may not happen and while I am trying to think positive, I think it’s better to have a plan than to sit around and wait for that cash to come rolling in!!!
Before the next five years are over, I would like to reach these goals:
- To have a job—one that I halfway enjoy—that brings in enough income to help support my family and help us be more secure.
- To pay off all of our loans and credit card bills.
- To be able to afford to pay for most of the college expenses without taking out more loans. (This includes me…I’d like to finish school too!)
- To have some money in savings.
- To start a retirement account for myself and buy a small life insurance policy. (Super Trooper has that through his work, but I have been neglectful of myself.)
- To finish some much needed repairs on the house.
- To save a significant amount of money for a new “someday” home.
- To invest a small amount. I’ve always wanted to try investing, but I’m a little leery of it.
- To help the kids buy their own vehicles.
- To take a really nice trip with my family.
Now, here is the hard part…how do I do all of this??
1. I am still currently looking for a full-time job. I finished my Associate degree and after quitting my old job (which I really don’t regret that much), I found out that field is not very much in demand anymore. (I do wish I had known that before I took out those student loans.) I want to go back to school to finish my degree, but Funny Bubby starts college this fall and I just don’t see how we can afford for me to go back too.
I haven’t had a job outside of the home since January, but recently a friend of ours offered me part-time work in his shop. Also, my former boss called last week and asked me to fill in for a few weekends. So for the next month or so, I will be pretty much working seven days a week. It’s not ideal, but we need the money and I will do what needs to be done. I’m still looking for that dream job. Being a writer is the only “career”dream I’ve held onto since I was very young (but I’d still like to be on Broadway). I have a lot of book ideas, but I’m just not sure how to implement them! I’m working on that though.
2. I am planning a big yard sale. Huge. GINORMOUS. (Sadly, that is not a real word. But I adore it.) I’ve have been gathering things a little at a time for the last few months. I am sorting what I want to sell as is and what can be upcycled into something better! I was planning this for the first of July, but since I will be working, I have to reschedule.
3. I tried selling some things on Ebay and Craigslist. I was fairly unsuccessful, but I’m thinking about trying again.
4. My Momma and I are trying to plan some craft shows. She’s an amazing artist and sometimes I make some really cute things!!! We both have a ton of supplies that need to be used. I thought it would be fun to have it at my home (probably in the fall when it’s cooler) and really frou-frou everything up!! Has anyone ever had a craft sale at home??? I’ve been pinning ideas, but suggestions are welcome!
5. I’m not going to lie about it—I’d like to monetize my blog. I’m building it a little at a time, but there is so much more that I need to do. I’ve read so many conflicting views at this point, that I’m a little confused about it all. And I’m not at all technical, so this can be a problem!! I know I need to add more content and I need to learn how to make my posts stand out. I need more photography skills and more editing skills and more marketing/advertising skills. I do have to admit, that even if I never made a dime, it thrills my soul when it looks like people are reading my blog. Page views in the double digits make my heart skip a beat. If I had triple digits, I’d probably pass out! So if you are reading this, thank you. And if you like my blog, we could probably be very good friends. If you don’t like my blog, we could still be friends…but you have to pretend to like the blog, because that’s what friends do!!!!
6. I have signed up and filled out profiles with bunches of “freelance” websites. So far, I haven’t found anything I am really that qualified to do. I have found a few that I think I can do, but I haven’t bid or applied because there seem to be half a zillion people who are much more qualified competing for the same jobs. I keep looking though.
7. When I have some extra money, I am going to order a copy of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget for myself (it has some great tips). I am also going to order the Dave Ramsey books and software. A lot of people have recommended Dave Ramsey, but did you know you can’t use a credit card to purchase from his website? It made sense after I thought about it for a minute, but I don’t have any extra cash right now and it will have to wait. The set I want has several books, workbooks, software, and cds, but it is almost $100 and $100 will buy groceries for my family. In the meantime, we are trying to apply the snowball principal toward our debt.
8. I am moving the change jars. We have a change jars in the kitchen, but they are on a bottom shelf out of the way. We put spare change in them (pennies in one and “silver” coins in the other) and every now and then cash them in. Moving them might seem a little insignificant, but I think if I put them where I have to see them every day and allow myself to use that money for something fun, I might be more motivated to fill them up. I know we need to save money, but sometimes budgeting feels a little like punishment. I need incentive!
So those are just a few of things I am trying to do to realize my financial goals. We don’t have what I consider an extreme amount of debt, but it’s more than I am comfortable with and it is starting to control my life. I’m really tired of trying to figure out what has to be paid and what needs to be paid and what has to be shoved aside for the moment. And I hate that feeling of having to scrounge around when something unexpected comes up. I finally realized that a lot of the financial problems we have are just out of habit. It took us a few years to get to this point, but I don’t want it to take as many to get out of it!!!!
What is your advice for realizing financial goals????