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 Challenge—a 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