Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Next Goal: Financial Freedom

2013 has been a big year for me (and us).  I had surgery.  I lost 82lbs (and counting).  We sold our house.  We moved twice ( of next week).  I'm becoming a runner (say what??).  My relationship with Christ is the best it's ever been.  Darren got a new job.  Who would have thought that so much could happen in one year?  I'm so grateful for it all.

While examining my current situation and reflecting on where I was at the beginning of the year versus where I am today, I'm choosing to take the next step to reaching my goals.  This goal is to reach Financial Freedom.... Financial Peace if you will.  Now that the house is gone, I feel like I can really tackle this.  Debt is an ugly word.  God doesn't want us to be in debt.  He wants us to be good stewards of what He has provided us.  We get into debt when we get caught up in our own wants and quick decisions.  I want to be done with it.  If being in debt is normal then I want to be the most abnormal one of them all!  Debt weighs you down and makes you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.  Are people actually ok with this? Has it become a society "norm" that everyone has debt and it's no big deal?

So for the next however long, I'm going to write out my financial goals just like I do my fitness goals.  It shouldn't be any different.  I think you should have goals for many different aspects in life.  And on top of setting goals....also come up with a solution and a plan of action on how to reach those goals. 

I am a big Dave Ramsey fan and I think he has some amazing ideas but I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up cable and other "non-necessities" to go full on "gazelle intense" on my debt elimination (as of right now anyway).  I do believe that we are going to really need to write out a budget (each month) and stick to it.  After adding up how much we spend between groceries, eating out, and gas in the past month, it was quite eye-opening that we weren't really paying much attention at all.  Several years back, we did the envelope system thing for areas like eating out, groceries, clothing, gifts, etc.  It really helped.  You are much more emotionally attached to cash then you are to swiping your debit card.  It's easy to swipe that card and not think a second thing about it.  If you have cash in your wallet, you're more likely to think twice before spending.

My Financial Goals...
Debt Elimination
1) Credit Card (used to pay for house renovations)
2) Car (at least it's good on gas mileage)
3) Student Loan (the smaller one)
4) Student Loan (the big one)
5) Personal Loan (this is what happens when you have to pay the IRS a big chunk of money because you took the house tax-credit the gov. offered the year before you didn't have to pay it back and then you rent your house out and realize that that is one of the rules in which you have to pay it back all at once.  Plus add in a surgery and medical bills. Plus there was that pesky credit card that never seemed to get any lower.  That all lumped together because I thought it would be easier to handle equals a pretty icky personal loan and I believe Dave Ramsey would call it all "Stupid Tax". So my "stupid tax" is the equivalent of a very nice car payment each month minus the car....awesome.)
1) Emergency Fund (preferably 3-6 months worth of all our bills because with this never know)
2) Save for baby (which God willing, will hopefully happen next year)
3) Save for house (or at least a good down payment)
4) Vacation (paid in full BEFORE we go)
While these are my overall goals, I'm going to heed my counselor's advice in taking one month at a time and trying not to get ahead of myself.  I want to enjoy our life during the process. 

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