Written by Sara Jane Breault
Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
We all know that summer generally involves letting loose, relaxing and iced coffees, but it shouldn't also mean losing sight of your financial goals. A few years back, I decided to set some goals for myself. Sort of like a to-do list, but spread over the whole year.
Here They Are:
1. Stick to my budget for a Great Britain trip
2. Repay my line of credit before starting renovations
3. Repay half of what I borrowed for a down payment on my house
4. Shop around and negotiate for my new kitchen
5. Repairing my home's foundation drainage
6. Ensure that renovation costs stay below $40,000
7. Shop around to find the lowest insurance premiums
8. Open an online investment account
9. Deposit $500 into retirement savings each month
10. Save for the next trip
11. Stick to my new budget
12. Rent out my investment property's vacant unit by July
13. Complete a course on dividend stocks
14. Research and buy my first stocks
15. Get better at "adulting" my finances
So here we are a few years later. Let's see where things stand.
The Good Stuff
I managed to stay within budget for our trip to Great Britain. In fact, I came in $600 below the initial $3,000 budget. The kitchen and foundation renovations stayed on budget, saving me almost $6,000 in the end. I also rented the vacant unit in our investment property after a single tour of the place.
The Not-So-Good Stuff
I've learned some hard lessons in recent months. For one thing, saving while in the middle of major renovations was a lot more difficult than I thought. Admitting defeat isn't easy, but it's necessary in order to keep going in the right direction.
How Do I Stay on Track?
How do I stay on track despite the setbacks, and above all, despite summer's temptations to take it easy? Here are some tips that I'll be putting into practice.
- Revisit my Goals. I don't want to give up completely on any goals, so instead I plan to revise the goals that I don't think I can achieve. Rather than saving $500 in retirement savings, I'll focus on setting aside all the additional income from my consulting practice. Even if I don't reach the initial goal, this way I won't ditch it altogether.
- Break Big Goals Down into Smaller Ones. Breaking one big goal down into smaller ones gives me a set of actionable steps in order to achieve the primary goal. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Ask for Help. While it may be true that when you want something done right, you might need to do it yourself, there are times where it's more effective to delegate certain tasks. I asked my spouse to take on the job of budgeting the foundation drainage project for the house, and he carried it out better than I ever could have.
- Focus, Focus, Focus. Nothing can be achieved without focus, so it's best to tackle one thing at a time. My technique consists of categorizing goals: financial/budgetary, renovations, personal, etc. I work on only one goal from each category at a time, so I don't get overwhelmed by it all.
Take Time Out to See How Far You've Come (With an Iced Coffee!)
It's easy to tell yourself that you'll never succeed when you hit a snag in reaching a goal, but when I consider everything I've accomplished, I'm confident that I'm on the right path to becoming more effective with my money. And that, surely, is worth a nice iced coffee (or two!).