Is it almost the middle of March already? Time is flying! Now that February is well behind us, it's time for our monthly check-up to see how well we're doing on our financial goals for 2009. 
After I shared specific reasons last month on why we've made it our goal to save up to pay 100% cash down for our first home (read them here  if you missed that post), I realized by the emails and comments I received that a number of you are missing my point in sharing this.
The point is not that everyone here needs to save up and pay 100% cash down for a home (though I certainly hope we might inspire some of you to consider doing this), the point is to encourage you, by our own example, to work hard and aim high.
Perhaps you can't save up to pay 100% down on a home, but you can certainly do something and start somewhere. And that is what this monthly financial check-up is all about.
As you've probably heard it said before, "if you don't know where you're going, any train will get you there." If you don't have any financial objectives or goals, you'll likely spend most of your life aimlessly earning and spending and making little traction in the process.
You can choose to continue this endless cycle which will get you nowhere, or you can choose to start doing something and going somewhere today. Do you know where you want to be in a year from now, or five years from now, or ten years from now? Set down and map out some written goals and then make a plan to accomplish these goals.
If you've never set financial goals before, I encourage you to start small. Perhaps you could commit to sticking with a grocery budget for three months. Or maybe you could purpose to give up a particular small weekly expenditure and put that money directly into a savings account instead.
Whatever you do, do something. Even if it's something seemingly minuscule. Often, just taking a baby step in the right direction can propel you farther than you ever dreamed possible!
Setting financial goals and working intensely towards them takes sacrifice, self-discipline, effort, sweat, perseverance, and work. But it is so very worth it.
I remember back to our law school days when we were living in a little basement apartment and could barely afford to buy groceries. There were many days when I wanted to give up and give in. It was hard to wear the same clothes again and again, to drive old vehicles, to wonder how we were going to pay our bills that month, to forgo invitations to go out with friends because there was no way we could afford a restaurant meal that month.
There was many a time when I had had enough of the scrimping and scraping, but, by the grace of God, and the resolve of my husband, we kept on with our objective of finishing law school without any debt. And I can't even begin to express how grateful I am that we didn't give up when the going got tough.
So many people told us that it would be impossible to live on a part-time income throughout law school without incurring any debt. But you know what? I've learned that just about anything is possible, if you're willing to set your mind to the task, work hard, and not give up.
The financial freedom we have now because we're not carrying around the
bondage of school loans is amazing and was worth every bit of sacrifice
during those law school years. And tasting the victory of meeting a financial goal after long and hard toil has only propelled us on to setting bigger goals–in all areas of life.
So, wherever you are and whatever life situation you are in, may I encourage you to dream big dreams, set big goals, aim high, work hard, and persevere? And you just might find yourself completely surprised at what all is possible when you're willing to set your mind to do something, make the necessary sacrifices, and stop listening to the naysayers!
Related: I encourage all of you to read this great article on High Performance Achievement .
And now for the monthly progress report:
We started out February at 36% of our house savings goal. As of February 28, 2009, we're at 37.5%!
I was hoping to make it to 40% by the end of February, but at least we made some headway. In addition, putting less into our house savings than we'd hoped in February has motivated us to examine all areas of our budget to see how we could cut more corners–which is always a good thing to do!
How did you do in February? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2009, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes and failures in February and, if you'd like, the areas
you hope to improve in March. Then, come back here and leave your link
below. If you don't have a blog or would rather share anonymously, feel
free to leave your update in a comment. Let's all keep each other
accountable to be better stewards of