As part of our January Frugal Fresh Start Challenge, I challenged each of you to set a six-month financial goal. Some of you had goals to reduce debt, others had goals of how much you would save or how you would change your spending habits. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s goals (you can read them in the comments here).
The six months is now up. It’s time to report back on how we did and what we learned!
I loved hearing the buzz in our Facebook group about everyone’s progress toward their goals. It’s really encouraging to hear not only what you have accomplished, but what kept you motivated and how you stayed on top of your goals. I asked a few people if I could share their experiences here.
My goal was to get our mortgage below $100K. I created a chart to track my process (just a bar graph with a countdown to the goal amount) and updated it twice a month. On the piece of paper with the chart on it I also wrote what the goal was and what steps I intended to take to achieve the goal. The piece of paper is on the wall in my bedroom so it was the first and last thing I saw every day and night to help keep me on track. The best part was reaching our goal (at the end of April) that hubby doubted we’d achieve. It was great sharing our success together.
Our six-month goal was simple: to live on our fixed income without taking any money out of our 401K’s. For the last six months, our expenditures were $2512.87 less than our fixed income, so we achieved our goal and even saved a little. Each day, we noted how we were doing over the previous 30-day period. We were determining if expenditures were still lower than the fixed income for that period. This tactic helped us see immediately if extra expenses meant that we needed to tighten down as much as possible or delay an expense that could be delayed.
Our six month goal was to pay off an almost $7000 loan in time for baby number two’s arrival, and then to snowball that payment into another almost $8000 loan paid off by Christmas. We were able to pay off the first loan in April! We only have about $2900 left on the second loan, which should be paid off in September, considering all goes well with baby. Then to start on the next one! It’s a bit exhausting but I’m so happy to be way ahead of where I thought we would be by this time. Just keeping the snowball rolling!
That’s a small sample of the experiences shared. Even those who didn’t achieve the exact goal still made progress or were better able to handle the setbacks that happened.
PS- If you think some interaction with positive, frugally-minded people would help keep you accountable and motivated, come join our Facebook group Making Frugality and Finance Fun. There’s always encouragement and great ideas floating around there.
Now It’s My Turn
Starting at our January 1 debt balance of $82,459, our goal was to get our remaining student loan debt down to $65,000 in the first six months of the year.
We were really close. If you take a peek at the sidebar, you’ll see that the debt remaining as of July 1st was $67,050. After making that calculation, but also on July 1, we made a beginning-of-the-month debt payment of $1,000, which put us at a balance of $66,050 (plus some interest). We would usually have a larger beginning of the month payment, but we decided to put a big chunk toward getting a new van (more on that to come).
So we didn’t quite make it, but I am happy with what we did accomplish. The goal we set was a stretching goal. At the time we set it, we weren’t quite sure how we were going to reach it (it wasn’t possible with our numbers at the time), but we set it anyway. Even though we didn’t reach the exact goal we had set, we still paid off more than $16,000, which is exciting.
How about you?
- Did you set a six-month goal? How did you do?
- What did you do differently to be able to reach your goal (changes, sacrifices, etc)?
- What was the hardest part? What was the best part?
- How did you keep motivated and positive?
- Do you have a goal for the next six months?
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