So its that time of year where a lot of people make New Years Resolutions. I'm not sure if you are a NYR type person. I personally tend to make annual goals...however, where they start and end depends on the nature of the goal. I have goals for my son which are tied to his age (birthday). My husband, who is a teacher tends to look at his goals from school year to school year, so August to June, mostly. Financial goals tend to be by calendar year (January to December); personal goals like losing weight are ongoing...well you get the point. The point of this post isn't to get you to make "New Years Resolutions", but just to understand the importance of setting goals in the first place.
So, in 2012, our main financial goal was to put away 3 bills: 1) 401k loan (ugrhh..stupid, don't ever do this), 2) the balance on our Discover card, and 3) the balance on our 2010 Toyota Hylander (the family car we just had to buy when our son was born); totalled about $26,217. I sorta had a plan on how we were going to do this...1) I was expecting a tax return after the sale of our property, 2) annual bonus, 3) I was working on a promotion at work, 4) I was hoping my husband would be picked up by his old school district and reinstated with his previous salary, the list goes on...while some of those things came through, other obstacles presented themselves that threatened to sideline my goal.
While my tax return and bonus was great, my husband lost his job in May which meant that we had less income then I expected; my son was put in a special education program for half a day, which meant I had to pay more for daycare then I had originally planned; I agreed to help with my brothers wedding in the summer which I had set a budget for, but it ended up costing us more than planned; advancement at work was less then expected as well; a lot of little things really, but when you add them up it can chip away at your ability to do BIG things that require 100% of your attention and dedication. Toward the end of the summer, things started to look up...my husband got a new job making more than he did in the prior year (yay), my child was settled in a good school, some other things in my personal life had stabilized, and I was able to get back on track. So I pushed it hard to the very end...somehow the final bill (auto loan) was paid off. It literally took all I had to push through to the end.
I guess when I think about it, the important part is that I had a goal in the first place and I never forgot about it. I was a little obsessed about it actually, I kept it at the forefront of my mind...ALWAYS. Even when I had to change course a little bit due to circumstances, I always had plans to resume my goal. In October I didn't see how it was going to happen, but then I got really creative with my budget and just implemented it...when I tried to explain it to my husband his eyes glazed over, then I just said, "trust me", crazy... I would have never done that if I hadn't locked myself into that goal in the first place. Remember you can fall into debt, but you cant fall out of it, you have to put a plan together and stick to it.
Having problems developing a plan to get out of debt? Want to know who we are doing our debt snowball (like how the HECK did you we pay off $270,810 in 2 1/2 years!)? You may need a coach...MsMoneyGuru is here to help, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.