I'm leaving the grocery store for a week to give us a chance to examine our motives, but I would like to head back there next week. I can ramble for hours about grocery shopping, so let's tailor the next article to what you want to know! Send me your questions or leave them in the comments at the bottom of today's post, and I or one of my Motley money-saving friends will respond!
Back to High School--Long Term and Short Term Goals
I was always so frustrated when he had to write down our goals in school. Who had time to think about the future? There was too much to do now, right? Well, it turns out that writing goals is actually quite beneficial, especially when it comes to personal finance.
I think I can safely say that we all want to be financially independent, but why? Why bother with all of this budgeting and saving? What does financial independence really mean? What does it look like for you?
For me, I can't wait to be able to give away money without a second thought. Major earthquake? Here's a thousand bucks. No, thank you, I don't want any cookies, but here's a hundred bucks for your troop. Your whole soccer team needs cleats and can't afford to buy them? Send me the team's sizes. Wouldn't that be amazing? Of course, I would also love to be financially set so that if the car stops running we can just write a check for another one, or if the grass in the yard stops growing (which it has, by the way--gotta love that Florida sand), we could just re-sod the whole thing and stop thinking about it.
Those are our long-term goals. Before you get the wrong impression of me, though, you should hear my totally selfish short-term goals. I have been salivating for months over a digital SLR camera--you know, the big ones with the fancy lenses. I had the money in my hand this Christmas that was enough to buy one, but instead we put the money into our savings account to help our emergency fund project. It was so hard to do that. I've always just bought things, which is why I'm paying so much attention to our spending now, by the way, so putting off my camera purchase was agonizing. Once the emergency fund was complete, my DSLR and an iPod went to the top of my "saving for" list.
Get a Visual
And, yes, we do have a list. When we started the emergency fund project, I took a piece of note paper and wrote our goal amount at the top. I taped it to the door of the computer desk under the saving envelope (the place where I put the extra cash I don't spend each month so it can go into our savings account). Each time we made a deposit, I wrote the amount and subtracted it from the total. It was exciting to see that number go down, to be able to see how long it would be before we would finish, and then to see what we could do to accelerate the progress. The day we made the final deposit my husband printed our account summary from the computer and taped it to the tally sheet. It was an awesome day!
Now that we have accomplished that goal, we desperately need another to keep our momentum from waning. I created a list of short and long-term savings projects and added them as a second page to our MASP. Every time we make a deposit I add in the amounts so that we can see where we stand. It's exciting to see those numbers rise and fall! It's good to win those little saving battles, too. Every time we fill an account we are closer to our larger goals.
Live Like No One Else
One of Dave Ramsey's favorite statements is "Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else." Once those goals are set and the lists are posted, this is the key to success. But, what does it mean? It's different for everyone.
For us it means that we only eat in a restaurant if we have a gift card, and even then only on special occasions. I pack a cooler when we'll be out of the house at mealtime. I no longer go shopping "just to look"--I only enter a store with a list in hand and enough money to cover what's on the list. I only go to the grocery store once a week, and if we run out of something before the next trip, that's too bad. We are actually rationing milk this morning for that very reason. It means that I get to be a ninja money-saver in the grocery store. It means learning how to do things ourselves so that we don't have to pay others to do them. It also means knowing our limits so that we don't have to pay someone to come fix a mess we've made.
I realized a little while ago that indeed, some people were noticing our frugality. I noticed it because they seemed worried about us. It hit me that some people misunderstood our thriftiness--they thought we were broke! We have more cash right now than we have ever had at one time, but it looks like we're scraping every cent we can find! (Actually, I am--I'm obsessed with rolling coins!)
So, I love hearing your comments and anecdotes, but this week I want to hear how you live like no one else. Also, don't forget to send me your questions for the grocery saving Q&A! Have a great week!