Practice makes perfect. We have all heard it before and I will say it again. Do I hear a collective groan? I would from my students. But it is true and this mantra can be applied to all walks of life, even financial. I used to be terrible with money. My excuse was I didn't make enough. Guess what? You will never make enough! But I started to practice small steps toward becoming debt free. They were hard and it has taken years. We are still not out of debt, but I have been able to maintain a $1000.00 emergency fund for almost three years. This was a huge step for me. It took practice. Put the money in the fund but would know secretly I could draw it out the next day. Put the money in, see something you want justify it in your mind and pull the money out. Now after PRACTICING and doing it wrong for several years, I see what is an emergency is and what is not an emergency. New tires are not an emergency. You know those tires are going to wear out. Hitting a deer is an emergency. But it took practice and let me tell you honey I am a girl who needs practice.
Learning to set goals is a big part of getting out of debt. Setting small goals, such as I will not spend today, I will plan a menu and stay within a grocery budget, or I will work to keep the heat or air down to save money on utilities. We all decide how and what goals we are willing to work on to save. You might think that the things I save money on are crazy and I might think the same thing about you. Because we are all different we can garner ideas from each other and adapt them to work for us.
Small goals seem to work better for me. Games seem to work better for me. When I look at where I need to be in three years it terrifies me. But when I look at where I need to be in a few months I am fine. For instance, I know that I have a large college bill to pay in January and I have already set up an account to take care of that. It was easy for me to take a $271.00 check down and put it in an account labeled college. I will continue to do that two times a month and the problem is solved. But this is such a far cry from Kim three years ago. I would never have been able to take a $271.00 check and put it in a savings account. First, I would have been so close to overdrawing any account I had that I would have been rushing that check to the bank. Or I would have been so behind on a utility that I would have promised the check to prevent a turnoff. I also hate to admit it but I would probably have seen something I though I needed or just wanted and would have been waiting at the mail box for the check so I could go get the new nummy.
SO MUCH HAS CHANGED!
I really want at least $500.00 to take to Gettysburg to cover misc. expenses. The tickets and hotels are paid for, we will be borrowing a car from my sister. So I set a goal. Now I have been really trying hard for at least a month to complete this goal. The first week of September I had $200.00 saved, alas.... gas and groceries(roll over $40.00). Second week I had $140.00, but.... gas and child,(roll over $10.00). Third week I had $180.00yikes.... dog, gas, groceries.(roll over $60.00) It is never ending. But this week I have really concentrated on this goal. I also have factored in extra because look at the month? Now did I have expenses? Yes! So I really need $700.00. Hubby will need gas, the dog and cat will need food, we will run out of fruit or milk. I need to plan for those things in addition to my $500.00 goal.
As of this morning I have $604.00 saved (including the roll over funds). This is all money from my sewing shop. I have several people picking up today so I should be able to hit close to $700.00. I have put my hubby on notice, no money will be spent this weekend except for the things mentioned above. If we want to go out to eat it will have to be on a food gift card we already have given to us. So I am able to see and complete smaller goals. I can break up chunks of money. I just cannot conceive large amounts. This is why I always say one day at a time. One debt at a time. If you really look at the month I had to practice saving this money. What was going to work? Where did I fail? How was I not going to make the same mistake week after week and come up with nothing?
I also love games. I love a no spend challenge. I am so excited about the sealed pot challenge. My pig is so full I can hardly lift her. I can hardly wait until December 4th to open this and see what Christmas savings I have. I know that this is going to make Christmas so much better. But I have made it a game. Not knowing is half the fun. Weighing the bank is the other half. I made the $500.00 I need every month to make up the difference in the house payment a game. Can I get $125.00 a week into an envelope so that on the 10th of the month I have enough for the house payment? By the way I, will come home on the 9th of October with no money in the house account, so my next challenge will be to get that money by the 15th? Any extra that comes into the shop and that is left over from the $200.00 extra,( I plan to have) will go into the house envelope for when I come home. I am setting a goal for maybe $250.00! Do you think I can do it? I have a back up plan if I can't get this money, but I will have to pay it back.
Out My Window: Beautiful chickens are laying like crazy and their eggs are huge! I am going up to make myself a couple of fried eggs in just a minute!
What games do you play with your finances? Do you do better with large or small goals? How do you motivate yourself?
Well I am hungry and I have a few things left in the shop to do, so I am off to complete my savings goal.
Have a great and productive day!