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2019 Financial Goals

Here's the thing I've learned about goals. They are much easier to achieve when you break them up in to smaller more achievable goals. They aren't so scary when they are digestible. Today I'm sharing my 2019 financial goals. They aren't huge, but they are taking steps in the right direction.

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I knew I wanted to do some sort of financial challenge in 2019. Two years ago I didn't shop for 6 months (I failed a few times), in college I only shopped second hand for a year. This year I'm going to do something a bit different. I recently broke down our spending categories and what I spend the most on every month. I used the Mint budget tracker for this.

#1 - Daycare ($2,000)
#2 - Mortgage ($1,700)
#3 - Eating Out ($750)
#4 - Clothing ($720 - including makeup, skincare, home decor)
#5 - Groceries ($650)
#6 - Car Payment ($520)

CLOTHING:
I know I spend a lot on clothes, but I really wasn't sure how much. My mind was blown when I saw the average amount I spend on clothing in a month is $720! That does include clothes for the kids and Alex as well as makeup, hair/skin products, and home decor. Alex doesn't buy much but when he does it's pricey. When I looked at my transactions over the past few months they were a couple of $100/$200 transactions but most were between $50-$70. It adds up QUICK!

FAST FOOD:
We spend an average of $650 on groceries, and an average of $750 on eating out. Alcohol and bars is another category which I was surprised we spend $180 on a month (that's all Alex). As a full-time working mom of three kids and a part-time blogger...life is busy. Some nights Alex and I are so burnt out after stressful days at work, our kids are whiny, and the last thing we want to do is cook and clean up. We frequent McDonald's and Chic-fil-a way too often. All in all we're spending a crap ton on food and drinks, and something needs to change.

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GOALS:
After analyzing these categories, I've decided I want to cut them in HALF (well I'll be cutting my clothing budget by 75%). My goal for the next 6 months is to stick to a $200 a month clothing budget ($100 for myself, $100 split between Alex and the kids). This will save us $520 a month! After 6 months I will revaluate the goal. I know I can quit shopping cold-turkey (read my 6 month no shopping recap here) but I don't want to. It's kind of like going on a crazy diet that isn't sustainable. I know NEVER shopping is not sustainable for me. I feel like $100 gives me the freedom to shop, but I need to be intentional about each purchase. If I want a $200 pair of boots, I can get them but I need to save for two months.

For eating out, we will cut our current average spending in half and stick to a $375 monthly budget. My first thought is this is going to be difficult on the weekends when we're out and about with the kids. The LAST thing I want to do is cook. I hate grocery shopping, and Alex does most of the cooking. Weekends are my break from work, and I don't want to constantly be cleaning up and doing dishes. However, we spend way too much eating out so I'm going to have to suck it up. It's the planning I don't want to do. I love not having to plan EVERY meal, and eat out on the fly when it's convenient. Our social lives will take a hit as well. There will likely be meals and happy hours we have to turn down or simply not eat/drink at. I like to plan lunch dates, but maybe I'll bring my lunch along and we can meet outside somewhere....who knows. I'm going to have to get creative.

These goals might not be extreme enough for some, but for my family I know they will be tough yet attainable if we stay focused. I've looked up to my friends, Kelsey and Eric, for years as they have been extremely diligent and focused with their money and payed off over $39,000 in 23 months. Kelsey is a blogger, loves clothes, and sticks to a $30 a month clothing budget!

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My challenge to all of you is to figure out what you spend the most money on (other than bills, rent/mortgage, car payment). Look at your transactions over the past few months, and write down what you spent in that category. I know for most it's eating out. Other categories that were high included Target runs, coffee, and buying stuff for kids. Once you know what you spend on average,  decide on an amount that would be challenging BUT attainable if you worked hard to achieve it! If I stick to the budget I've set for us in regards to clothing & eating out we'll save $895 a month. That's $5,370 in 6 months. I want to take that money and put it in savings. Maybe you have a different place for the money you're saving. Maybe you want to save for a trip, or you want to pay off debt. Your goal will be your WHY, and in times of temptation to spend your WHY will be all you have to cling to. You likely will ask yourself...is it worth it? That is why saving that money and putting towards something meaningful or life changing is very important. For me, going in to a savings account isn't super fun, because I won't see the fruits of my labor immediately, but one day when my A/C unit busts and I need a new one, I know we'll be OK. Helping my kids through college, retiring early (best day ever), buying a car with cash. Those are the scenarios I think of.

Here's the key....TAKE OUT CASH! Years ago Alex and I only used cash for our purchases, and we had a very strict budget. The only way we stuck to that budget was because of cash (we payed off $45,000 in 3 years).  When I'm standing at the checkout line and the final amount is a bit over my budgeted amount, the difference is using cash vs. a card. If I'm using a card, you better believe I'm swiping. If I only have $20 left in cash, well that's all I've got. When I have cash, it's much easier for me to say no and walk away. For the next 6 months I will take out cash for clothing and eating out categories.

I need you guys to keep me accountable! I want you to join me in this journey. Set your budget, write it down, agree on in with your spouse/partner (very important step), and challenge yourself! If you are joining me in this challenge (whatever financial goal you've set for yourself), use the hashtag #buylesslivemorechallenge. My friend Joanne joined me on my no shopping challenge two years ago, and now we're real life Instagram buddies! I would love to build a community of women who can support each other on this financial journey. Adulting isn't easy!

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Photos by Madeline Harper


1 comment:

Holly @ Coordinator of Chaos said...

I know I'm a bit late commenting on your post but this was timely info for me! We are currently doing Dave Ramsey and it's so hard when you are surrounded by "you need this", "this is the IT thing", etc. but once we got serious, I found it's much, much, much easier to say no to purchases we don't need! Hoping to join you guys in the debt-free group real soon!!!