Over at Life as Mom she is encouraging people to share their financial goals for the new year …cuz…you know…if you write it down, it makes it more likely you’ll actually feel like you have to do it.
Now, I have been notoriously bad at this in the past…I mean…making financial goals. It is something I lost when my mom got sick with Alzheimer’s in her late 50’s and never had a chance to spend or experience the fruits of her labor. I saw my parents scrimp, do without, and deprive themselves for a retirement that never came. I decided about 10 years ago that it wasn’t worth it and went from someone who didn’t spend money to someone who…well went a little overboard.
I do believe that the majority of debt I have accumulated over the last 7 years has been worth it – in that it has brought me the most wonderful gifts of my 4 kids and the eperiences we have had but to be perfectly honest, the money spent and the “get anything you want when you want it” attitude has not made things easy over the last year or so.
In 2009, I made a decision to try to live more frugally. I made a plan to spend less and put away more. In March, my wallet was stolen. That was my breaking point. As the replacement credit cards came in put them away. I made a decision that they weren’t going to come out until ALL balances were paid off. For a few months I experimented with the “envelope system” but had trouble making it work for me – or I guess I should say – I had trouble working within it! So, I reverted to using my debit card almost exclusively. I would say that I worked within my budget and savings plan for 80% of the months last year – including December where I had set up a separate saving account for Christmas and using that and the Swagbucks I had accumulated on Amazon I was able to buy all of the kids Christmas presents. I set up another savings account for the extra daycare expenses for the summer and another one for medical co-pays. And I set up an account to develop an emergency fund.
So, this year I am going to try and build on these limited successes and add to it. So, here it is:
- I will continue to keep and fund the following special savings accounts: emergency fund, Christmas, medical co-pays, summer daycare expenses.
- I will add a new savings account to save for one annual vacation for the family.
- I will take any extra money I make this year and split it the following way: 50% will go to savings; 25% will go to paying off any remaining debt; 25% will go into the regular bank account. I have a couple of things lined up that are from last year (weird writing that) and hope that this will help me be able to afford a spring break vacation to my sister Teresa’s house in Arizona this year.
- I will WRITE down a budget for each month and try and keep track of all my spending on an excel spreadsheet.
- I will take any tax return and apply it to any credit card debt. Any left over (ha, ha, ha – but it will be close!) will be used to pay off whatever is left of my home equity loan.
- I will re-new my efforts to menu plan and use coupons and shop only for the things that we need or things that we can get for ridiculously low prices. As part of this, I will participate in Life as Mom and Money Saving Mom’s Eat from the Pantry Challenge for the month of January. My goal will be to spend only $150 on food for the month (not including eating out which we will limit to once a week and will budget $200 total for – including the boys school lunch program). I am fortunate to have done quite a bit of cooking in the months of November and December and found some good deals to stock up on so do have quite a stash. I think I should be able to not even shop for groceries for a couple weeks as I have a large stash of fresh fruit from December’s Costco trip as well as frozen milk from this weeks Walgreen’s deal.
I am much more comfortable with how my financial status ended in 2009 compared with how it started. I know that if I continue with these simple goals I will be able to end 2010 even better – with a goal of all debts except mortgage paid off.
Go to Life as Mom to get some ideas about how others plan to get their finances in order this year!
Categories: Money Sense