Friday, January 2, 2009

Method Madness Marathon!! Goals!!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2009 at Money Saving Methods! I, personally, am SOO excited to begin a new year and see what all it holds for my family.

On top of that, I always view a new year as a chance to start on a clean slate. OK...maybe clean isn't the exact word ( although it would be nice if all debt was wiped clean each year ), but it is an opportunity for you to make some changes for your families financial well being and begin on the right foot!

Because of this, I always spend the month of January "reorganizing" our family finances and checking, updating, and just plain making sure everything is going to flow smoothly in the new year. Of course, I can't foresee market crashes and economic crisis, BUT I can make sure we are managing our money to the best of our abilities.

Since I knew I was going to be going thru this with my family, I decided to host a series for the month of January called the Method Madness Marathon! Why not have you all join in my in reorganizing and preparation. I am so ready to see how much I can earn and save this year with all the different methods.

And, what am I starting with today, before we even get into the methods?


I have spoken about this before, but I felt the importance of having goals financially is very important. You have to know where you want to go, so that you can figure out how to get there. You wouldn't randomly get in your car and start driving for a whole year with no idea where you were trying to go, would you? Then, why would you do that with your families finances?

To begin, I sat down with my husband and discussed what we wanted to achieve this year financially for our family. Since we currently only have debt in our home mortgage, we were taking a look more at where we wanted our numbers to be at the end of 2009, which accounts we wanted funded, etc. And, did we want to try and pay off the home even faster ( since we are already accelerating our pay off. )

So, here are the top goals for us, as a family:

  • Increase the value in all 3 kids College 529s. Currently, we auto invest every month into all 3, but we would like this to be an even higher number, so we can guarantee college will be fully paid for 12 years from now ( hard to believe my 6 year old will be starting college that soon )

  • Money for a Home. We debated on this one a bit. Should we pay down our mortgage even faster? Since we moved in, we make extra payments automatically every month to accelerate our pay off to half the time...BUT...did we want to add more money to have it paid off even sooner. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages. But, we ultimately decided not to add more this year. Instead, we will be putting it aside for a new home down payment.

Why? Well, my husband is once again up in the air at work on whether they are going to transfer him. We are living in Ohio, but his company is headquartered out of New Jersey, so every few years...the rumors start circulating they may want him out there. The disadvantage to our family is that the cost of living here is Ohio is SOO much better than out east. To get a house similar to what we live in here would cost us hundreds of thousands more. Egads!

If we instead take the money and put it into the house, with this market, what if this house doesn't sell quickly before we would need to move? Then, we couldn't get our equity out to put a down payment on a new home. We decided to take that money instead and put it somewhere we can make money/interest on it and then have it liquid to put down on a new home, if need be, until the old house would sell.

Hopefully, none of this even happens ( I don't want to move ), but we like to be prepared. And, until we know whether he gets his next job here or there, we are going to play it safe. We can always take the lump sum we saved and put it down on the house in one large payment if we don't end up needing to move.

But, on another note, click here to read post on how much paying their home off early will save them.

In addition to our family goals above, I also have personal goads in regards to what I contribute to the family financially. I don't include investments, stocks, bonds, etc in my numbers because I don't manage that for our family ( my husband does ), but everything my "mommy" hands touch financially, I count.

And, as you can tell from my blog, I came in around $25,000 for the year. So, what would is my goal for next year? I am hoping to increase my savings/earnings to $40,000. I do count both savings/earning together on my site, because they both affect the bottom line to our family numbers.

Will I be able to do it? I'm not sure, but if it don't have the goal...I KNOW I won't make it. With the goal, at least I will be trying.

What Are Your Goals?

This weekend is the time to sit down with your spouse, significant other, or just yourself and determine what your 2009 goals are. Make a list of all the things you would like to do, and then realistically decide which should be at the top of the list. There is no harm in making a list longer than you think you can achieve in 2009 ( you can carry over goals into next year ), but you should take a look at them all and decide which need to be accomplished first and work towards those.

If you are just starting on your financial journey, what are some common financial goals for families?

  • Creating an Emergency Fund ( a target should be around 3 to 6 months of living expenses ) This is how much money you should have sitting in a easily liquidated account that you can use for, well, emergencies

  • Paying off Debt ( from credit cards to car loans, etc). The sooner you can get out from under your debt, the sooner you will see your overall net worth increase.

  • Establish 401Ks thru your company( especially if you get company matching ). This is free money. As soon as you can put your money into this type of account, the better.

  • Set up College Saving Account for children

  • Establishing a savings plan for your retirement

  • Saving for an automobile

  • Saving for a home

The list could go on, and only you know what you need to do for your own family...we are all different. But, the important thing is to decide what you want to accomplish this year and then you can begin chipping away at your goals through the whole year.

Plus, it is SOO fun to be able to mark something off your goal list once you achieve it.

Since we are going into the weekend, and I am off to go visit my Grandma ( my youngest will be meeting his Great Grandma for the 1st time ) up in Cleveland, I will continue the Marathon on Monday.

But come prepared next week with your goal list, as we need to put together our budgets and then dive into saving/earning money!


Andrea @ Mommy said...

Carrie, I'm so excited to start this with you!!!

Um, I would hate if you moved!!! But, my husband's brother lives in Jersey and it's amazing how much the market is so much higher for so much less of a house.

Great tips - I love all your wisdom. You're so smart :-)

Wendi P said...

Hi Carrie. I have been following your blog for a few months now and have seen some real progress in saving money. I am really excited about beginning a 2009 goal list with you and am confident that I can do some major savings this year. Thanks for all of the hard work you put into this!