May 11, 2012

Financial Dreaming (Frugal Friday)

 We became debt-free (except our mortgage) a few years ago and have been working toward building up our emergency fund.  For us, this is taking longer than it did to get rid of the debt.  About a year ago, we realized (again) that we needed to make the savings a priority.  We were budgeting to save but waiting to put it in until the end of the pay period, in case there was extra to add with it.  Ha!  We never made a deposit.  We took a clue from The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach, so we changed our thinking and now have an amount automatically taken from my husband's paycheck and directly deposited into our savings.

Spring 2012, enter Shelf Reliance.  When I first became an Independent Consultant with Shelf Reliance, our goal was to make back what we invested within 6 months.  That goal quickly changed as we saw the potential for this business.  But what we were changing the goal to we didn't know.

Source: "Developing Your Why" Presentation by Holly Hardy
One of the first Shelf Reliance Conference Calls I listened to was Developing Your Why by Holly Hardy (powerpoint here, MP4 here).  This call really inspired me, not only in Shelf Reliance, but even more for our family's financial goals.  We get very tempted to buy a bigger home - with a basement.  We also really want to be able to take vacations.  In my mind, I was leaning towards saving for a new (to us) home and just staying at home for vacations.  And then I had an inspiration/revelation.

My oldest is 9 years old.  She'll be growing up and moving out in 9 years.  Seems like a long time but then again it doesn't.  When we've daydreamed about vacations we want to take, there were a lot more than 9 places we want to take our girls to.  My husband and I had an Executive Family Council on a trip to St. Louis and came up with our Financial Dreams and Goals.  Taking what I learned from Holly's presentation, we decided to dream big and set big goals.  If we don't set the goal, we definitely won't reach it!

Our goals:  a fully funded 6 month Emergency Fund; a family vacation every year (a frugal vacation of course); Hubby to further his education/career through additional certifications; a full 1 year home store (food and household supplies); being able to say Yes to fun activities that cost $; buying a house with a basement (for safety reasons since we do live in tornado country, AND for storing for all the THRIVE foods we are now purchasing); and celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2015 with a trip for the two of us (in dreaming big style we're thinking Hawaii or Scotland).

We identified key areas we wanted to save towards:  my husband's education, Christmas, Temple trips, Emergency Fund, Vacations, Family Fun, Food Storage, and House fund.  We looked at our regular household budget and made it so that the education, Temple and Christmas were coming from it because we felt these were essentials for our family.  Our focus is to live off my husband's paycheck and use mine for moving forward rather than sustaining.  So with my Shelf Reliance Commission checks, we get to fund everything else.

We prioritized the remaining areas, using Dave Ramsey's irregular income budgeting ideas.  You rank the items by importance and pay/save in that order.  We took each category and came up with a dollar amount and a realistic time frame (that was trial and error to come up with a realistic time frame).  For each potential $100 in Commission (after saving for taxes and paying tithing), we asked where should it go and wrote it down, in order.  So if my Commission is $100 in June, it goes towards this category.  If it's $200, $100 goes to A and $100 to B.  In fact, we do some to A, then to B, and then back to A.

Because we are not "gazelle intense" on ONLY the Emergency Fund, because we are also working on other goals, we are not following Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover baby steps exactly but we have adjusted them to work for our family so that all of us are on board.  And having everyone on board is key to success.

Having a dream and a plan DEFINITELY saves us money because it is keeping us from getting distracted by other ideas and spending opportunities.  Without the plan, the money would disappear before we even asked ourselves what we wanted to do with it.  Our big dreams are also inspiring us to work harder in each of our careers as well as in all areas of our spending so that we can achieve these goals.

So your task is to Dream Big and then break that dream into chewable bites, make a plan and put it into action.

If you think becoming a Shelf Reliance Independent Consultant can help you towards your goals, contact me via email, phone me at 417-886-9489 or check out more information on the website here.

While you're here, go enter our Dreaming Big Giveaway to win a Cansolidator Cupboard!

This post is being linked to Frugal Friday on LifeasMom.comBe sure to check out all the other great money saving ideas being shared today.