Well? Did you spend an hour on Sunday smashing one of your 2013 financial goals? (If you missed Wednesday’s post starting this kick-butt series, click the link above.)
You did? Awesome! Don’t you feel amazing?
I love starting a project and quickly biting off a piece of it. Can you feel the momentum carrying you to the finish?!
We have already…
- Put our 2013 financial goals on paper in just two minutes
- Prioritized our goals in another two minutes on the clock
- Jotted down ideas to accomplish each goal in four minutes
Hint, hint, get on board if you haven’t already!!!! Grab a stop watch and run through the three bullet points above. Then continue reading.
Having spent just EIGHT minutes confronting our 2013 financial goals, our task for Sunday (yesterday) was to spend an hour smashing our FIRST THREE GOALS. No more, no less. If you’re catching up, make an hour smash your top three goals (directions here), then continue reading below.
How did it go? Was it a struggle to focus? Or did the hour zoom by?
Here’s how my hour went down:
Goal 1. Set a hard limit for each month’s credit card bill.
The Plan: Hubs and I have already discussed doing this, so I thought he would readily agree. I offered to check our credit card balance two and three weeks into the cycle. If we have reached 75% of the limit, we’ll both refrain from buying anything other than groceries, gasoline, and medicines.
When I proposed this plan to hubs, I didn’t get the reaction I expected.Lucy motivates me to save…even when she’s sleeping!
I mean, my plan is clearly brilliant. He did not see the brilliance. In fact, he had many objections.
- If we hit our limit three weeks into the four week cycle, he didn’t want to stay home if we felt like eating out.
- Across the board spending limit doesn’t make sense, he said. We should use the envelope method instead, budgeting a specific spending amount for each category of spending.
- In a month where we spend $800 on plane tickets to see family in California, he didn’t want to have to SEVERELY limit his spending the rest of the cycle to stay under the limit.
I fought back. Ahem, I mean I calmly made my case, and offered a compromise.
The whole point of a hard limit on credit card spending is that when you hit the limit you don’t spend! Hence, eating at home. If we don’t reduce our spending when we hit our limit, setting a limit is pointless.
An across the board spending limit DOES make sense, a lot more sense than envelope budgeting. A few reasons: Envelope budgeting requires a lot of time, a lot of fake guesses as to how much you’ll spend in the future in each category, and a lot of follow up tracking how we spent in each envelope.
Who wants to spend all the time tracking every penny?! What do you do when you go over in one category and under in another? If you’re setting limits for each category, why not make the accounting easier and set one big limit?
Having held firm on two of our points of disagreements, I knew I had to compromise on the third to strike a deal. I would agree to except major purchases like plane tickets from the hard spending limit on our credit cards.
Because Hubs had a point. Why do we save money if not to spend it on things we really want? Like spending time with family?
That sealed the deal. Yes! Having agreed on a hard credit card spending limit, I moved onto smash my second 2013 financial goal.
Goal 2. Check in on net worth with hubs: up in 2012?
The Plan: Log into each savings and investment account, write down the balance. Add up the figures.
Groan. That’s how hubs reacted when I suggested we tally our net worth instead of watching YouTube.
But when I came downstairs two minutes later, he had already logged into all his savings and investment accounts and put the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. Wahoo! He passed the keyboard and mouse over to me (our computer is also our TV) and I pasted my numbers into the same spreadsheet.
Wow! We’re saving more than 26% of our total income. Happy dance! Happy dance! At this pace, we’ll be able to retire in 20 years – in our mid 50s.
Of course, there are pleeeeeenty of reasons why our rate of savings could slow and we will have to push back our retirement. Moving to a new home. Having another baby. Buying a new car. Private school. Health care bills. Unemployment. It’s too early to tell which of these major expenses will hit us first (if at all), but certainly there will be major life changes that will increase our expenses.
Because we are already saving 26% of our income, our plan for 2013 is to continue saving at the same rate in 2012, with an additional $250 a month set aside in a 529 plan for Lucy.
Almost done! Just one more 2013 financial goal to smash today. And a final picture of Lucy below.
Goal 3. Revisit investments: is everything ok?
The Plan: Call investment advisor and ask if portfolio is balanced.
Ug, this one took a bit more work. Partly because I have one account of cash sitting around earning low interest.
It’s so embarrassing! Well, we all have something about our finances that embarrasses us, right?We are proud of you! Pat yourself on the back for smashing your money goals!
I drafted a letter to my financial advisor asking to review my portfolio’s balance. It’s always smart to put how you want your money invested on paper and to keep a copy.
In the letter I also stated the total amount to be invested, the industries I’d like to buy mutual funds in, and the timing of the stock buys. By timing of stock buys, I’m referring to dollar cost averaging, of which I am a big believer.
I ran the letter by hubs, printed a copy, and put it out in today’s mail. I’m done!
We did it! We smashed THREE financial goals in one hour today! I feel SO frickin’ amazing!
How did your hour turn out? What can I do to help you push through and smash your 2013 financial goals?