If you want to cast some ‘presto-chango’ style magic over your money situation, the best solution I know is to set specific, measurable goals. Alas, this is not as quick as pulling a rabbit out of a top-hat, but it is more reliable! If you have a partner, setting goals together and having a weekly budget meeting is essential to keeping everyone focused and ‘gazelle intense’, as Dave Ramsey would say.
In May my husband and I were ready to set some new financial goals which I wrote about in “What’s All the Saving For, Anyway?” I would like to give you an update on how things are going.
Goal 1: Increase cash savings 30% by the end of the year. To date we have increased our savings by 10% and are one-third of the way to meeting the goal. This goal seems attainable as long as there are no major setbacks. We have been gazelle intense about meal planning and only eating out when we are really going to appreciate the experience.
Goal 2: Fund each of our Roth IRAs up to the maximum, if possible. The maximum contribution we can make to the Roth IRA is $11,000 total for two people ($5,500 each). We have deposited $3,000 so far. We have until March 2014 to make contributions. Will we get to $11,000? Probably not because we are pushing harder on goal 1. That said, we don’t want to overlook this fantastic saving vehicle for US residents.
Assessment: nothing motivates like having the numbers right there in front of you. Our best shot at meeting our goals will be continuing to meal plan, and monitoring our weekly budget together throughout the week. We know that when we let go of budgeting and meal planning, it costs us an additional $100 – $200 per week.
In the words of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street: “You done good, but you gotta keep doing good. I showed you how the game works, now school’s out… Go to work.”