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Make Financial Goals for 2014

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

As they say, if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything. Likewise, if you save for nothing, you’ll spend on everything. Making financial goals is imperative toward making any progress when it comes to money and debt.

Nineteen years ago, my husband said we could never afford to buy a home in Santa Barbara. I tend to be the dreamer, and he’s the realist. Together we make a great, balanced team. I wish that I had doubted his statement, albeit realisitc, because I think if we had made that a goal, if we had scrimped and saved instead of buying enough groceries to feed a family of eight when there were just two of us, we probably could have bought a house in Santa Barbara.

God had other ways to teach us financial responsibility and dependence on Him, but I look at that instance as an interesting example of what happens when you don’t dream big. I think you have to dream big in order to reach halfway. My mom once challenged me to overstep where I wanted to be so that if I feel short, I’d be where I wanted.

And in his defense, FishPapa does a fantastic job keeping my feet on the ground. We just never knew what we could accomplish so many years ago. Maybe we couldn’t have done it then, but I know we could do it now. Thankfully, we’re smarter now.

Yesterday, I shared my list of wants for 2014. If you’ll remember, it wasn’t a laundry list of things that I want to buy. It was more of a vision of the life I want to live.

Some of those “wants”, like early bedtimes, have no price tag attached, only benefits. Other things, like travel, well, those have financial costs. Those wants are driving my financial goals this year.

Here’s my short but sweet list of financial goals for 2014, as culled from my list of “wants”:

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

Travel

Even for bargain shoppers like me, travel is not cheap. Especially when the US dollar is not strong. As you know, a year and a half ago, we decided on the big gnarly dream of taking our family to France and England to commemorate our 20th wedding anniversary. We are about 2/3 of the way funded towards that adventure.

I can’t really wrap my head around that, except friends have kindly sent Frenchy gifts to help me keep my focus. (Thank you, JessieLeigh! Thank you, Christine!)

I’ll confess that I’m absolutely scared to death to do this thing. My language skills are worse than rusty, my travel know-how dead and buried. And I’m going to haul six kids halfway across the world?! If someone sees that ballsy twenty-year old girl I once was, would you please send her over here? I need a little of her guts and fearlessness.

In other news, since I have a book deadline June 1st, it looks like we’ll be postponing our trip until the fall. Many people have said that that’s the best time to travel anyway. In the meantime, I’ve bought myself a little more time to lose the cold feet.

Goal: fully fund our France account

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

Healthy Food and Less Temptation toward Processed Crap

About four years ago, I started reading more about food, health, and our nation’s attention, or lack thereof, to making sure our food supply is a good, healthy one. Before then, I was too overwhelmed by debt and making ends meet in order to pay much attention. I just needed to get food on the table.

What a shame that paying the bills has to preclude good health! Once the debts were paid, I could afford to pay attention to what I was feeding my family.

Currently, our monthly grocery budget (not including a meal or two out) is $800. We get a frequent (sometimes weekly) organic produce delivery and try to buy healthy, whole foods. There are lots of ways that I would like to improve our diet: reducing processed items, reducing processed sugars, increasing whole grains, organics, and GMO-free foods. These things cost money.

To do this, I’ll be looking for more economical sources of the foods I want to feed our family and choosing better quality restaurants when we dine out.

Goal: improve the quality of our diet without having to increase our budget too terribly much or have the wiggle room in the budget to pay for the higher priced items.

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

Date Nights and Overnighters with my Husband

After many years of going without date nights or overnight stays, we’ve finally arrived at the point where we have children old enough to hold down the fort while we’re gone, as well as family close by to watch them overnight.

Your day will come, too. Promise.

Back in October we had a very lovely overnighter that, while not cheap, certainly wasn’t astronomical, either. We go on weekly date nights now which are such a beautiful respite in the week. In order to continue this, we need to be wise in how we spend money before and during these fun parents-only outings.

Goal: save money for regular dates and occasional overnighters.

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

Money in the Bank

About the same time we sold our home in Kansas, FishPapa also received an inheritance from his mom. Between the two, we were able to establish a sizeable emergency fund. Over the years we’ve had to dig into it, but we’ve been able to maintain and build slowly over the last five years. We’ve considered purchasing a home, but also see that an emergency fund is probably more to our benefit in this season and this market.

Why put everything we have in a down payment if the market could tank again? In an area where a fixer-upper can cost $400,000, that matters.

I’d love to see our savings expand past our emergency fund and work toward more retirement and college savings. I entertain no dreams of giving six kids a full ride at Harvard. But, I hope that we can help them out along the way.

Goal: continue building long-term savings.

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

A Car that is Easy to Drive and Park

I’ll be honest. I kinda hate the car I drive. I’m not a car person, so I say that lightly. It really doesn’t matter to me what kind of car it is if it is safe and paid for.

That said, I do not enjoy driving at all, at least not in that behemoth. The vehicle I currently drive is our SUV. We had a minivan up until recently which was my preferred mode of driving and parking. But, when the second transmission goes out in a 17-year vehicle, you kind of decide it isn’t worth the cash to replace. We donated it instead.

So, I drive the Scourge. And I don’t really love it. We’ve contemplated all kinds of scenarios: selling the truck, selling the Scourge, buying a third car. I know I won’t be comfortable in any scenario unless we’ve got the cash on hand, so yeah, that.

Goal: save money toward a new-to-us car purchase.

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

Simpler Finances

This last goal doesn’t have to cost us anything, but it could. I’d like to simplify our finances. Paying bills and balancing accounts are my least favorite chores and those that I procrastinate on as long as I can. I’d like to simplify.

This means selling the rental house we own in Missouri, even if we have to take a loss on it. We’ve had a slew of tenants who come in, trash the place, and then leave us footing the bill. Since they are on government assistance, there’s really nothing we can do. The system doesn’t keep them accountable. They move to a new city, apply for aid in the new city, and get it.

Don’t even get me started. We are renters ourselves, so I am not belittling folks who rent. It just seems that the good tenants haven’t found us.

Just don’t ever buy rental property. It’s a pain in the rear, even if you have an awesome property manager like we do.

Other things that I want to do to simplify are going back to using the envelope system and opening more accounts to keep track of savings and spending categories. I think these things would help me with the bookkeeping I hate to do.

Goal: sell the rental, spend cash not debit, open more accounts.

These are big goals. I know this. Five years ago, I was content just to get the bills paid. I know that a lot of things could get in the way of us and our reaching these goals. But, I also know that we’ll never ever reach them if we don’t even try.

So, those are my financial goals for the year. What are YOURS?

Make Financial Goals for 2014 | Budget for the New Year - consider where you want to be financially and think of how to get there.

This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this glimpse. So realistic! Our grocery budget is similar. I don’t trust those people who feed their family of 6 on $200 a month! I mean, what are they eating?! I need to start a travel account. Thanks for the push in that direction. Happy new year!

    • Well, when we were really strapped for money, our budget was $400/month for 7 of us, including pregnant me. I could do it with lots of coupons, freebies, and meatless meals. It’s possible. But, we also ate more processed foods than ever in my life, thanks to the coupon items. It’s a hard line that thing between healthy food and budgeting.

  2. Melanie A. says:

    You are so right when you say to never buy rental property! I would love to sell our rental house, but we were not able to when we had it on the market a few years ago, and need that monthly rent to make the mortgage payment! This is going to be a huge year for us, with my husband quitting his job to go to school full time, and I am working part time until I can get a full time position at work (which means that the cost of benefits is astronomical right now). Our financial goals are to tighten our belts and survive the next few years, and we know we will be eating a lot of rice and beans at least until I can get full time hours and benefits. We are trusting God to provide for our needs, while being grateful for what we have, even if we have to eat rice and beans for a long time!

  3. I hope you’re going to blog about your trip to France. I can’t wait to see what your kids think. What a fun experience!

    I’m also feeding my family organic produce and grass fed meat, but I’m trying to find to lower our groceries. It’s always a challenge!

  4. Stephanie L says:

    We are paying off the remainder of our debt, simplifying our finances and just like you setting up more accounts to main stream our savings.

  5. Other than pay cash for two rather large trips this year (yipee!!), we have set a goal of paying off a mortgage in 2014. You may recall that we paid it off once already (in 2012), but then last year we refinanced, paid off a different house (long story) and then tore the house down to give ourselves some breathing room. We still have a rental (not rented because it’s in the process of being redone), plus our house… so if we could pay one of those mortgages off this year, it would be amazing. That’s our biggest goal.

  6. I am so excited for your family trip to France! I am the youngest of 8 kids, and when I was 10 my parents took us (except for my oldest sister who was married and too pregnant to travel) to Europe. While I am sure my parents were a little fearful, it helped give me the courage to go new places and try new things in my life. I have always loved traveling and seeing new places, and learning about new places and cultures, because of that experience. Your children will glean so much from that experience! And you will have fun too!

  7. Reflecting on my own family life I too wish for more ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’ in 2014. I want to make our house a home, making the best of what we have.

    Kudos to you on the envelopes. They are probably the most single best reason we stay within our means. Neither my husband nor I enjoy the bookkeeping aspect of finances. We dread it. We were always robbing peter to pay paul resulting in drawing a new line in our financial statements once a quarter. blech.

    In 2014 we need more precision in order to capture more savings. We’ve set up measures to do that, are in agreement (say what?!) and with our simplified plan we are excited to hold eachother accountable with a renewed sense of humor.

  8. Michele K says:

    Have you tried having one extra account & using a spreadsheet to keep track of it? I have an account for my extras such as; tuition, Christmas, bulk meats (beef & chicken), home repair & car repairs. All the money for these “envelopes” goes into the extra account & then the amount is entered into each catergory on the spreadsheet. Using the formulas already available on the sheet, it keeps track of how much is in each category. Also, it keeps the money somewhat untouchable & I have to think about it before spending it. :) It also keeps time down on balancing!

  9. Before I ask this question, I want to be clear that I am not opposed to renting at all. I absolutely think it’s the right thing to do, most especially if there is any possibility you might move. But from what I have read, it sounds like you guys plan to stay there permanently. What does it matter if you buy a house and the market tanks? The market really only matters if you want/need to sell. I feel sure you guys have thought/talked about this, so I’m really just curious. And nosy, I guess. :) (Obviously, feel free to not reply!)

    • I meant to say that I absolutely think it CAN be the right thing to do. :) I even reread that before I posted, too!

    • Good question! We definitely plan to stay in California, but we aren’t sure about being in this area forever. Our families live a fair ways away, and it would be nicer if the kids could see their grandparents on a regular basis without a 2-3 hour drive through traffic to do it.

      Since my husband works for the state, and California’s budget is unstable, to say the least, being married to this locale doesn’t make sense if we don’t have family nearby.

      • That absolutely makes sense. Thanks for letting me be nosy!

        • No problem. The other thing, too, is that a down payment in CA on something we would want (bigger lot, garage, 4br, a little character) would be at least $80-100K. Kinda makes me choke.

          • Right. Same where I live. :) Then 1.5 years (about a year ago) later we did a $58K improvement project. It was a project we planned to do when we bought it to make it more livable for us and also would make it more easier to sell if we ever need to (no plans, but we’ve lived several places, so it’s always something we think about), but it cost double what we estimated when we bought the place (both was more expensive and then included an additional item once we got in and saw that it was necessary). However, it turned out very, very well, and really is a huge improvement. Our mortgage interest rate is 2.85%, which is very helpful, and that minimum of 20% down keeps you from paying PMI, which is throwing money away, IMO. I think in this case we really did buy at the bottom of the market, also, which made us more comfortable with the improvement.

          • As far as the actual topic of the post :), our goal for the year is to pay off the $26k remaining on a loan for above mentioned home improvement project (we could have paid cash for what we expected it to be), and to buy my husband a carbon mountain bike for his 50th birthday.

  10. Great goals! I’d love to take our family to Cozumel. We have a friend who has a houe there and has offered it to us whenever we want to go. But….there’s 7 of us…9 if my son and his new bride go with us. Maybe I should make that a 25yr anniversary goal and that would give me until 2015…

    We use the envelope system, I have little fabric zipper pouches that I made and stamped the category name on. It really is easier than a debit card for me. We eat almost exclusively grass fed beef and pastured poultry, we order through a co-op. I wonder if there’s any co-ops in your area.

  11. Beth Rogers says:

    I am scouring the internet for budgeting ideas. I need to create a long term and short term goal list as well. My problem is I live so close to (if not beyond) paycheck-to-paycheck that I never seem to meet the budget goal. How do I get to the point where I am not borrowing from Peter to pay Paul?

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