Get Your Finances in Line in 2009: Our financial goals for this year

Would you like to live on less, pay off debt, and/or save more money this year? If so, I’d love to have you join me and many others here in the Get Your Finances in Line in 2009 Challengea year-long campaign to encourage families worldwide to live on less
than they make and take personal responsibility for their finances.

Each family is going to have different goals, so I can’t necessarily tell you what your financial plan should look like. I can, however, encourage you to make every effort to get on a written budget and start making your money work for you. This is the first step towards really achieving financial freedom.

If you’re new to living on a budget, let me reassure you that it’s not some ball-and-chain sort of life. On the contrary, we’ve found great freedom in purposefully allocating our money to work in the most effective way for our family. And we’ve learned a lot about this from Dave Ramsey. I’d highly encourage you to check out his website, read his books, listen to his radio show, watch his TV show online, and even consider enrolling in Financial Peace University, if you’ve not already done so. (By the way, I don’t earn a penny of any sort for plugging Dave, we just have saved so much and been inspired so much thanks to him that I can’t help but recommend him to anyone who will listen!)

Secondly, I think it is imperative that we all set financial goals–whether big or small. If we don’t have a goals in place, it’s very easy to just wander aimlessly about, with money slipping through our fingers like sand.

My husband and I have been amazed at how motivational it has been to set down at the beginning of each year and map out goals for our family for the following year. We try to stick with goals which might seem far-fetched, but which are achievable if we really set our minds to it.

We try to avoid impossible resolutions such as, “We will not overspend this year.” and instead stick with doable goals, such as, “We will aim to have put an extra $200 in savings each month.” We publicly posted our financial goals last year and found that to be a huge source of accountability each month. In fact, by God’s grace and a variety of unexpected events, we ended up accomplishing all of our goals for last year. (You can read more about that here.)

Because of careful stewardship and living on a budget over the past six years of our marriage, God’s blessing, and lots of hard work and zealous frugality, we are currently in a financial position where we have no debt of any kind, have a fully-funded six-month emergency fund, are investing an IRA and in our children’s mutual funds, and are able to live comfortably significantly below our means. Because of this, our focus this year is on giving and saving.

We are so excited to see the fruits of frugality paying off so greatly in our lives and to be in a position to share more with others! It truly is “more blessed to give”.

In addition, we are aiming to have saved up enough money by the end of 2009 to pay 100% down on our first home. At this point in time, we have 33% of our final goal saved up. With my husband’s career change and our moving to a less-expensive area a few months back, we are very hopeful that we just might make 100% of our goal by the end of this year.

I’ll keep you posted concerning our progress each month. And even if we don’t quite make this very-ambitious goal, we hope that we’ll at least be much closer to it by the end of 2009!

Note: If you are interested in seeing my personal goals for this year, you can check them out here.

——————————

What are your financial goals for this year?
Post about them on your blog and then come back here and leave your
link below. If you don’t have an anonymous blog, feel free to only
share as much detail as you feel comfortable with. We’ll be having a
monthly check-up to track and report our progress in achieving these
goals.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m stoked to see just how much we can pay off this year, even though we live on financial aid and part time jobs. Even the kids are joining in!

  2. says

    I would love to see a post about your plan to pay 100% down on a home. Is it because you are thinking about buying a foreclosed home at auction? Or just because you feel it is better to live without debt of any kind?

  3. says

    We’re starting a new blog to track progress on rebuilding our savings (need $5500 more this year) and limiting spending through couponing, frugal food, and other ways to earn a few extra dollars.

  4. says

    Thanks for you inspiration Crystal and good luck with your goals! I posted our financial goals this year on my blog and can’t wait to accomplish them!

  5. says

    We, too, have found great success with Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. We are well on our way to debt freedom, praise God! If we stick to our guns, and God willing, we will be fully done by early next year.

    I want to thank you for for your inspiration and for your monthly check-up posts. They helped me to stay on track last year. 2009 is going to be great!

  6. Nancy says

    Hi Crystal,

    Thank you for continuing the financial goals for 2009. I enjoyed this part of your blog last year and was hoping that you would continue this coming year.

    Our goal this year is to complete BS5 up to the $2000/child/year(Curently we are just shy of maxing out at that amount).

    Also, we intend to make 4 extra months of payment on the principle balance of our house. I just sent in the first “extra” payment today, which is 1/2 of a monthly payment. I figure if I can scramble up 1/2 a payment each month we will meet the goal plus some…how wonderful!

    We just “met” DR last year and were in a 30-year(fixed) with 24 years left. We refi’d into a 15-yr @ 4.75 and were able to pay down over 10K on the principle balance from March-December 2008. Our hopes are with our extra payments this year that we can decrease the principle balance by 15-20K….wouldn’t that be great? We should pay off the entire balance by 2014 if not sooner. :)

  7. says

    I love posting our goals to make us accountable. My husband just got his raise yesterday so now we are going to sit down and finalize our budget!

  8. Chris says

    I’m inspired to spend less and save more and also am trying to become more educated. It’s amazing how relevant this list is given the economic climate now. “Living below your means” really resonates most with me. Too often we are faced with marketing that encourages us to live above our means. One site worthy of mentioning is http://www.CrazyBargain.com Using the internet allows us to become better educated consumers and to locate discounted offers.

  9. says

    OOPS! I accidentally posted my giveaway this week in the linky instead of my financial goals. Good grief, it has been one of those weeks. Sorry!

    In 2009 our financial goals are to really maximize savings at the grocery store. I’m trying to see if we can spend only $40/week. We were close in 2008 but I thought I’d really focus on it this year. Also, my husband is going to take his lunch to work one day a week instead of eating out. Hopefully I can encourage him to take one even more often!

    http://savingwithshellie.com/2009/01/01/2009s-40-challenge/

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing all this with us, Crystal. It is encouraging to hear about other families living on less in order to become or stay financially responsible.

    My husband and I are hoping that by the end of March, we will be able to pay off our van. That is our last debt outside of a rent house that we are currently trying to sale. We do have renters, so that isn’t a burden on us each month, but we know that at any time they could decide to move or not be able to pay, all those things that could go wrong with a rent house. Anyway, it’s simply time for us to move on. We’re praying that the Lord will allow us to sale quickly in spite of the economy.

    Our other goal is to save as much as we can and begin to make a plan for the future. We understand fully the blessings and advantages of owning your own home, but we want to do so in a way that will be helpful to our family and not a burden.

    I hope that the Lord blesses you richly for your sacrifices and blesses your continued efforts to glorify Him through your finances.

  11. Sandra says

    Hi – don’t have my own blog to post – My husband and I have been budgeting and following Dave Ramsey’s principles for 2 years now. We only owe on our mortgage. We have a $1000 emergency fund and have 1/2 of a full years salary saved up. We scrimp and save on one salary to do this. Last night doing my 4th load of laundry, the washer went BOOM, the some other ugly noises accompanied it. The repairman is due here next Wednesday. While we hate to have to pay for a repair, or worse a new washer, at least we have our emergency funds to fall back on, and our budget is not going to be busted over this, and we don’t have to figure out which bill will not be paid this month in order to pay for the repair. Its such a comfort to be debt free and credit card-less.

  12. says

    Always enjoy your blog. It is great to push yourself financially. Seeing what others are doing this year makes me want to do more too!

  13. Dawn in Scotland says

    What a shame Dave Ramsey’s video can only be viewed in the US! I wish you all the best with your fiancial goals, I would really love to set some this year, we’re not very good at things like that.

  14. says

    Wow! I just read all of these! It is so exciting to see everyone’s goals written out.

    We just refinanced the house to save $369 a month. $200 of that will go to CC debt and the other $169 right into savings.

    We have both of our cars paid off, but I’d like to cushion the savings a bit for unexpected expenses such as car issues or house issues.

    I have a question. Dave Ramsey says to save $1,000 first and then put everything else to CC debt. What do you do when you need a new roof or the hot water heater goes out? $1,000 isn’t going to cover that.

    Has anyone else had this issue?

  15. Amy says

    Thank you so much for the link to Hulu! I didn’t know I could watch Dave on the Internet anywhere and my cable subscription package is very basic so I don’t get Fox Business at home.