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If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had a pep talk with yourself and maybe even your spouse about how “this is going to be THE year you pay off all of your debt and take control of your money”.
Financial resolutions are some of the most important goals you can make for yourself and your family. Behind spiritual and mental wellness, I believe money goals are right up at the top of the list of priorities.
But time passes, and you may have found yourself unable to reach the goals you set for yourself and your family. I shared recently my thoughts about the 10-year challenge circulating on Facebook.
It’s funny how 10 years pass, and while 10 years is quite some time, it really feels like just yesterday. In my 10-year financial plan post, I shared about how a family earning $50,000 could pay off all consumer debt, save for emergencies, and pay off a $150,000 mortgage in 10 years.
It sounds crazy, but it is absolutely possible. Here are some of my favorite financial goals and ways to make paying off debt and saving a priority in 2020.
1. Pay Off Debt…Finally
How many years have you been saying you’re going to pay off the debt? Yeah, me too. Enough is enough already, though. We have to learn self-control and stop letting our behavior and emotions control our spending.
List your debts using the debt snowball method. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and list your debts in order of balance owed, smallest to largest.
Forget about interest rates for a minute. Unless you’re paying high interest on credit cards with a large amount of the minimum payment going towards interest, follow the debt snowball method.
If you’d like help with your own debt snowball plan, I offer financial coaching at a very affordable rate.
If you’re a spreadsheet kind-of-gal, I highly recommend Vertex42’s debt reduction spreadsheet.
I prefer pencil and paper in most cases, but I did use the above spreadsheet to plug in my numbers and see exactly where I stand.
For budgeting, I recommend this family finance organizer. It’s super cheap and has built-in envelopes for stashing cash and/or bills. I have been using this system for over 5 years!
[amazon box=”B07SF8F6XF” template=”horizontal”]
If you want a deep dive into budgeting to pay off debt aggressively, start here.
2. Save More Money
Once the debt has been paid off, it’s time to start saving like crazy. You need to have at least 3-6 months (preferably 6) worth of monthly expenses in an emergency fund.
I started using an online bank for our emergency fund for two reasons:
- It keeps the money out of sight and out of mind, and I’m less likely to “borrow” from it.
- It pays a higher interest rate than local banks and credit unions (typically).
You can see all of the online checking and savings account options here. I actually signed up for a checking account instead of savings because the interest pays well, and I don’t have transaction limitations (just in case I did want to use my debit card a few times a month).
3. Plan for the Future
Planning your financial resolutions starts at your kitchen table…or on your couch…or wherever you’re most comfortable.
Sit with your spouse and take notes on personal goals and then goals as a couple. Where do you want to be financially in ten years? Debt-free? Sipping martinis on a beach somewhere? Traveling the world? Spoiling grandbabies?
It’s your life. It’s up to you to come up with a plan for it!
In my first year as a real estate agent in a new city, I decided to create a vision board. I collected all of the magazines I’d subscribed to but never had the time to read, and I started clipping inspirational photos and text to create a beautiful vision board of what I wanted to accomplish that year.
I recommend that you do the same. All you need is a poster board. I recommend this thick, corrugated one rather than the flimsy ones from Walmart. You want something sturdy and substantial so that it can stand up in your home all year long.
As a result of creating my vision board, I actually earned EXACTLY the amount of income I pasted on the board…$50,000 as a brand new agent in an area with over 700 agents (with no sphere of influence).
Can you tell I’m proud of that accomplishment? The vision board was a visual reminder of my goals, and it kept me going!
Here are a few things you’ll need to start a vision board:
- Poster Board (like this one)
- Thick Markers – These chisel Sharpies are on sale right now!
- Glue Sticks
- Old Magazines
Vision Board Inspiration
Don’t know what to put on your vision board? My own board consisted of images of beaches because my ultimate goal is to one day move near the ocean. But for now, I enjoy traveling at least once a year to the gulf coast.
I also included photos of my kids, spiritual quotes, and photos of home renovations. Nearly six years ago, we bought a fixer-upper ranch home in the country next to an old, historic covered bridge.
While it sounds charming, the house needed lots of love when we bought it, and we DIY’d almost everything. I even painted my daughter’s ugly pink bathtub and it turned out beautiful!
It really doesn’t matter what you put on your own vision board. What matters is how you’re going to reach those goals.
That’s all there is to it! Put your goals on paper, and get to work! Setting financial resolutions and family goals should be at the top of your to-do list for 2020. If you need extra motivation, check out my ‘Motivational’ Pinterest board!
Life is a collection of memories and experiences. There are ups and downs. I am so grateful for God’s grace and am on the journey to a renewed spirit, free of perfectionism. Perfection Hangover offers the sober truth – no filter.