Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Preview: Dreams

Some people live for New Years Resolutions.
Some people don't even bother to have them since they always fall through mid-February.

Whether they last 2 weeks, 2 months, or the entire year, I'm a fan.
I've always been big on setting dreams/goals. I believe they give your life purpose, direction, and energy.

"Dreams tell us about what a person values, is passionate about, and what a person centers their life upon."

If you goal is to lose 60 lbs and you quit after losing 25... that's 25 less than you would of had if you hadn't tried at all. I don't mean it's okay to give up and not follow through, but sometimes it takes those little steps to hit a big goal.

So since today is the day people set in stone their 2012 resolutions, I decided to re-evaluate my dreams list. Some things have been on my list for years, others are new and I'm adding today.

"The thing about dreams is that the more you define the, the more likely you are the achieve them."

The most important aspects in setting a New Years Resolution or creating a dreams list are:
1) Write them down and review them often (post them on a bulletin board or have a Dream Journal)
2) Have a WHY behind each dream - that's what drives you!
3) I was always taught to dream based on various categories (see below).

Some of the categories have multiple things I would like to accomplish - but I am just listing my #1 goal for some of the categories that apply to 2012 for you (my full list has over 50 things even though there are only 12 categories):

[ Physical ]
    In case this wasn't obvious... my goal is to say bye-bye to the baby weight! I won't say exactly how much I need/plan to lose but two of my commitments are to be gluten free for 30 days and (like the past two years) give up any fast food (my record is just over 3 months)
    WHY: Being healthy/fit isn't something that every person has control over. I am young and want to respect myself and my body by putting food into it that makes me feel good.

[ Intellectual ]
    Increase my knowledge on Natural Labor/Birthing by becoming an instructor for the Bradley Method which is something Tommy and I have been very passionate about learning about during this pregnancy.
    WHY: I believe that God created our body to do AMAZING things - including giving birth - and want to share that understanding and give empowerment to other women.

[ Spiritual ]
    I want to be more disciplined in studying God's word by having time for myself daily (20 minutes) as well as finding a Bible study with other's to challenge me and hold me accountable.
    WHY: You have to invest time if you want to grow in an area of your life and I want to continue to grow as a Christian.

[ Material ]
    Buy a house of course!
    WHY: So we can have somewhere to establish our family permanently as we continue to grow!

(Yes, I know we won't get something THIS beautiful.. but I can dream :) right?)

[ Professional ]
     Start a shop on Etsy to generate more income.
     WHY: I love crafting, creating, and inspiring people. It would be a way for me to add more to our savings as well as a way for me to have time doing something I love.

[ Financial ]
     Save $10,000 by June.
     $15,000 by August.
     WHY: To use as a downpayment for our first home :) Minimum of 10% down. Ideally 15-20%.

[ Creative ]
     Same as professional (because I am going to need a lot of motivation to get it started).. but more specifically: learn more about graphic design and sewing.
     WHY: Because God blesses everyone with different gifts and WANTS you to use them :)

[ Adventure ]
      Go on our HONEYMOON! Somewhere warm, all inclusive, and with no babies!
      WHY: We made a sacrifice after our wedding to save the money.. but I think it is important for couples to have that time alone together where they can just cherish each other without any distractions.

Other categories:
[ Emotional ]
[ Legacy ]
[ Character ]
[ Psychological ]

What do you think about New Years Resolutions? What is on your Dreams List?
What is your #1 resolution this year? Why?

I'll be sure to update as I accomplish things off my list.. I pray everyone has a safe and Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our Savings Jar

When Tommy and I first got married we were big on goal setting.
Financial goals, relational goals, physical & health goals, spiritual goals, intellectual goals - you name it, we had them.

This is mainly credited to the goal-setting-driven company we both worked for (and that I still do currently), Vector Marketing

Our biggest financial goal this year (beside remaining debt free) has been saving up our Emergency Fund of 3-6 months of expenses.

We also had small financial goals: Buying iPhones, decorating the nursery, swapping out Tommy's car, buying a recliner, and saving money for Christmas. We managed to accomplish all of these things. 

So what's next? 

According to our financial baby steps once we complete our Emergency Fund we then start our House Savings. We broke down the massive financial goal of saving $20,000+ for a house and as doable and exciting it is to think about - I, personally, just found that I felt, well.. unmotivated, I guess. 

It's not that I don't want a house - believe me I do! I dream about it daily. 
It's not even that I'm scared it will take longer than we are hoping - because whether I'm 22 or 23 when we purchase, that's still a major accomplishment in my opinion. 

I think it's just the number. 
Starting saving from zero all over again. Twenty Grand?
It's going to take us forever to save that. 

Where do we even begin? 

So, as backwards as it sounds, we decided we need to focus less on our House Fund by adding a few mini-goals. Small things to save for so that we feel like we are making progress.

But what else do we save for? 
All the little things we wanted/needed we've already bought or are going to receive for Christmas in a few weeks. 

I suggested, "I guess we could save to buy that Kitchen Aid mixer."
Mmmm.. look at it. So pretty.
But that didn't really excited Tommy. 

His suggestion: "I wouldn't mind having an air compressor." 

... a what?

Clearly we both had different ideas. 

So, we decided on the simplest compromise. We'll just save for a shopping spree and split it 50/50! 
We decided on $1,000. $500 for me to go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond; Target; or HomeGoods and buy mixers, throw pillows, laundry hampers, and an espresso machine. $500 for him to go to Sears and get any and every tool he can. 

I liked this idea because:
#1. Both of us would end up buying things we'll eventually want/need for our home - therefore we aren't wasting money. And,
#2. Depending on how aggressive we are - it could take 2 months or 6 months which isn't too short to not have to sacrifice and not too long that we'll lose interest/motivation.

The Rule: Neither of us gets a PENNY until the full $1,000 is there. Once the money is put in - it's in for good. If we get to $1,000 and we both want to donate the money, keep saving, or add it to our house fund -- we can. But not a penny is touched until then!

The next decision: Where do save the money? It seems like an obvious choice but the thought of watching a saving account grow $5 or $10 at a time just didn't motivate me. 

So, we decided to go old school. 
And use a jar.

Somewhere to throw our change at the end of the day. Somewhere to sacrifice that extra coffee money. Or somewhere to drop $20 from selling an old bookcase on Craig's List instead of putting it in our wallet to "put in savings later".. because that never really happens.

Plus I have a problem with getting rid of glass jars and never have a use for them, so I've built up quite a collection.

We spent about 5 minutes trying to think of a clever name for our new fund and then just gave up because we had nothing.

So, we kept it basic. 
And here it is.. 

The Fund. It's only an hour old and already two WHOLE dollars! (my leftover coffee money from today) I'm sure someone can think of a much more creative name :)

Either way I'm excited now about adding a little each day and seeing it grow over time (on top of adding bigger amounts to our House Fund - which we WILL keep in the bank!)

Big or small - I strong believe you have to have SOMETHING you're working towards. I will keep you posted as our jar continues to fill :)

Have you set goals for yourself lately?
What are your small and big financial goals?